Your Guide to College

So you’ve flown the nest, busted out of the coop, kicked your way out of the house that holds you? Congratulations on being accepted into the realm of higher education. You need to know a few things first, since people are going to be filling your heads full of nonsense real soon. There are only three basic factors that are going to affect your life in college: Food, Money, and Roommates. Sure, this might be simplifying it a little, but these three factors will make or break you. Look at the movie Animal House, for example (which you should bring a copy of when you move into the dorms, by the way). College life was boiled down to two fundamentals: beer and parties. Fun, for sure, but also the quickest route back to the parent’s house and into a crappy job. Soak in my knowledge, and let it guide you to a more fruitful and easier college experience.

Food. Disregard every piece of literature and information that you receive regarding food and meal plans at your institution of higher learning. If these people were so smart, then why don’t we have entire meals compressed into a pill? I have news for you: we do! It’s called “Tub ‘o Vitamins” and “Ramen” and you need only to visit your local wholesale food store to find such treasures. The Tub ‘o Vitamins is packed with 5000 vitamins – a 13-year supply if you take one a day. Add 10 cases of Ramen into the mix and you’re on your way, all for a fraction of what you would pay for one of those meal plans. Toss in a case of Febreze and you’ll save big bucks on laundry costs. Congratulations – you’re already passing Nutrition 101 & Economics 101.

Money. Go to the financial aid office (look for the line that stretches the length of the campus) and ask for the proper forms. (Now if you’re really smart, you’ve already done this on the Internet.) On the forms, you’ll find a lot of blank lines to fill in and a lot of boxes to check, including something about ethnicity. Here’s the big secret: check the box that reads: ? US/Pacific Islander. That’s it – you’re in. Get a deep dark tan somewhere and await your checks. The U.S. still feels guilty about procuring some of those poor Pacific territories, some of which are nothing more than islands the size of football fields, but they’re nice. Since guilt is the primary motivation behind charity, the government is willing to provide healthy stipends to the people from that area. If pressed for your birth city or any other information, just advise the inquirer that you hail from Majuro, Marshall Islands and your religion prohibits documenting such beautiful events as birth and death and anything else. Not only do you free yourself from specifics regarding your identity; you get free money. Congratulations, you’re also passing Political Science 101.

Roommates. Roommates can be categorized as three popular movie or television characters. You will probably get one of these three gems:

“Bluto” (from Animal House – played by John Belushi) is the oafish, terminal student, who will stop at nothing to engage in mindless activity that has nothing to do with learning. He will pester you day and night, and you will never get any homework done, because you will always be doing his. In Bluto’s defense, he will be offering you beer in trade for doing his work.

“Niles Crane” (from Frasier – played by David Hyde Pierce) has the nasty habit of never being nasty. This roomie will make you feel guilty for things that you haven’t even done yet (“Cooking popcorn in here? No way! Think of the odor – think of the mess!”). After living with this person for a month, you will never, ever, leave the room (or any room for that matter) without first giving it a “once over” to make sure that nothing is out of place, in order to appease this person. Picky, pretentious, and obsessive, this roommate will make you question the entire purpose of your existence.

Lastly, you might get “Allison” (the “basket case girl” from Breakfast Club). Dealing with Allison will keep you on your toes. When she does take breaks from hanging at the local coffee shop (in the corner with her nose stuffed in anything by Ayn Rand or Nietzsche) she’ll appear in your room, where she’ll act like a stranger who is lost in a foreign city. She’ll talk to you about nonsensical stuff, like telephone poles and the heightened abuse of shellfish on the eastern coast. She’ll laugh at all the wrong times, and burst into frightening fits of tears at absolutely nothing. Don’t buy her a gift of any kind, and don’t plan on seeing her much. Go about your business and hope that the authorities in your college town of choice have a quick response time.

YOU – if you’ve read this far – are the perfect roommate. You might get someone like yourself, but be ready for the Trio. In order to deal with the Trio, you need to be a little like “Magua” from Last of the Mohicans. Whenever your roommate has done something that you don’t like, speak confidently of them (and yourself) in the third person while he or she is in the room. Something like: “When roommate steals [your name here]’s food, [your name here] feels it might be best to show roommate his heart, still beating in [your name here]’s hand. (pause for effect) Only then will roommate understand the value that [your name here] sees in consumables kept in our dorm room.” While speaking, always keep your eyes as wide open as you can, and never blink. Never smile, and always, always, remember that you are Magua.

Good luck with the roommates. Keep in mind that everyone flunks Sociology 101 the first time.

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