20 Things You’ll Learn In College (That Are Actually Practical)


1. No matter what the size of your campus is, you are guaranteed to run into that person you’ve been trying to impress on the one day that you happened to roll out of bed and sport sweatpants, glasses, and three-day-old greasy hair to class. That is just a law of the universe. 

2. Your professor can totally tell when you haven’t done the reading — especially if you look away or flip through the textbook at the exact moment that he or she asks, “So, who did the reading?” 

3. No one is ever so handsome or so pretty that they are immune to social awkwardness. 

4. The most efficient way to sequester yourself in someone’s so-called Friend Zone (whose existence is questionable — but that’s an argument for another time) is to talk about other romantic interests in front of him or her. You can do this either intentionally or inadvertently. 

5. On a night out, if you and a random girl you have never before met share a bathroom stall, you will thereafter become best friends for life (or, at least, friendly acquaintances). For girls, peeing together is a bonding experience — the same may also be true for guys, but I have no firsthand knowledge of this. 

6. During the first few weeks of class each semester, keep an eye out for the other students who seem as though they know what they’re doing. Befriend them. Form study groups with them. When midterm and final exams roll around, you will love yourself for your foresight. 

7. If someone continually asks you if you are “going out this weekend” each weekend, there is a high chance that he or she hopes to run into you in a more accessible setting. Seize the opportunity, but, uh, be casual in doing so! 

8. If you are trying to get work done, avoid the library (especially on Sunday evenings, when — like you — everyone else is kicking themselves for the work they procrastinated over the weekend and attempting to put a dent in it). Without fail, you will run into every single person you know. Social niceties will require that you make small talk with them for at least three minutes. Before you know it, it will be midnight and you will have not finished a single lick of work. 

9. Chances are, you will not meet the love of your life at a frat party. Or at your college bar. You will, however, probably meet people with whom you can cultivate casual, fun flings — recognize these relationships for what they are and keep them lighthearted rather than stressful.    

10. If you think you know the right answer in class, speak up — especially if no one else bothers to do so. Don’t be nervous; your classmates are too busy messing around on their phones to notice what you’re actually saying, and chances are that your professor will be impressed with the sheer fact that you were brave enough to say something. 

11. Intentionally acting ditzy or dumbing yourself down will only ever impress the kind of people whose opinions you shouldn’t even care about in the first place.   

12. Sometimes, you won’t want to stop and say hi to people on your way through campus to class. It’s okay — we’re all allowed our occasional moments of misanthropy. Instead of awkwardly avoiding eye contact when you’re about to pass someone you know, leave your house with a massive pair of sunglasses and earphones. That way, people will think you’re just too In the Zone to notice them instead of totally antisocial that day. 

13. This is the only time of your life when you will be able to live off of most of the crap that you consume on a daily basis. That golden metabolism isn’t going to last forever — enjoy it while you’ve got it, but at least learn what a nutrition label is. 

14. Be kind to his ex-girlfriend, even when she isn’t particularly nice to you. In that case, realize that her rudeness isn’t personal because she is probably still hurting. This applies to guys, girls, ex-boyfriends, ex-girlfriends, everyone — because anyone who has ever loved someone knows how painful it is to lose him or her. 

15. Avoid Burnett’s. For as long as students (who are of age, naturally) have gone to college, nothing good has ever come of drinking Burnett’s. 

16. If, in college, you still judge someone on the basis of their social affiliations (whether it be their friend circles, their Greek organizations, the clubs in which they partake, or anything of the like), you’re going to have a rough go at life. Superficiality is, like, so high school. 

17. If your gut tells you that they like you as much as you like them, power up and make the first move — most likely, they are as nervous as you are about doing so. Just don’t try to grab by them by the chin, mid-sentence, because that play only works successfully in the movies. 

18. Often, the quietest people have the most to say. Make an effort to get to know them — you might be surprised at just how interesting they can be. 

19. Most of the friendships you cultivate will not be very profound. Perhaps, you like one another’s profile photos on Facebook from time to time. Perhaps, you take selfies when you run into each other at a party and upload them to social media so that the whole world knows y’all are #bestfriends. Perhaps, you even study together occasionally. But, when push comes to shove, you know that you will not be able to rely on them for emotional support. 

20. However, you will probably develop deep, long-lasting friendships with a handful of people. These are people you know you can go to for anything, who you make an effort to see even when you barely have enough time for yourself, and who you’ve already invited to your hypothetical wedding to Prince Harry — years from now, of course. Figure out who these people are and keep them close to your heart.