I need to slow down. Stat.
1. The days are numbered.
The number of days doesn’t just get smaller, but the time flies, too. Freshman year, you felt like you could conquer the world in a day, starting with your 8 a.m. class and making it past 2 a.m. with your hall mates. Once you’re a senior, you’re lucky to make it to class at 11 a.m., considering you’re still normally in bed at that hour.
2. You don’t need that many friends–it’s really not a big deal.
You used to panic about who you’d sit with in class, who you’d eat your dining hall meals with, and God forbid you aren’t invited to a pre-game on the weekend. You put up with people and their drama because you want to be included. By senior year, you have your friends and #NoNewFriends is the name of the game. You’re perfectly fine meeting your friends at the bar alone, because sitting by yourself for 20 minutes isn’t the end of the world. You can walk, shop, work out, and go to the library without someone else holding your hand.
3. Speaking of others, fuck them.
Fuck what they think, fuck what they say, and lose no sleep doing so. We spend so much time in college changing our appearance, our schedules, and our opinions to appease others because we want them to like us. You come to see the light at the end of the tunnel, and you realize that after this, you’ll never see 90 percent of these people ever again. They won’t wonder where you are 10 years down the road, so why give them the time of day to change what path you’re taking to get there? There are few things more liberating and enjoyable than living your life for you and only you.
4. Enjoy boys.
Enjoy their company, their conversation, and their sex. But don’t put up with any of their bullshit when it isn’t enjoyable anymore. For these four years, you have a sea–literally an OCEAN–of perfectly fine gentleman for your picking. There will never be another time in your life when you have so many men at your disposal, so shop around.
5. Go to the party.
Go to the party despite the awkward fraternity, the stupid theme, how cold it is outside, or how hungover you feel. Some of the dumbest parties will bring out some of your best memories. There is no better way to bond with your best friends than getting too drunk to deal with awkward situations. Do it. You won’t regret it.
6. Don’t go all YOLO with your grades.
You (ahem, your parents) are spending a lot of money for you to be here, so don’t blow it off. This isn’t to say you should spend your weekends with your nose in a book, but take your classes seriously. You think it will all just fall into place one day. If you’re damn lucky, maybe it will. But most of us will have to work hard for a future. There will come a day when they’re going to ask you what you’ve accomplished in your four years of higher education, and you’re going to want to have something of substance to say other than a packed social calendar.
7. Apply to everything.
GET INVOLVED. It’s easy to take a back seat. It’s easy to figure that someone else will run for a position, that the other girl is more qualified. False. Some of the greatest leaders I’ve ever witnessed in my time in college have come straight out of left field with their leadership positions. It’s called “filling big shoes.” You won’t know your worth until you apply yourself, and I guarantee the more pressure there is, the higher you’ll rise. Don’t you dare sit in the back row and bitch about how you don’t like something. Change it or shut up. You’ll have a job one day, you’ll be in charge of something, and you’re going to want the confidence to know you can adequately do so. Stop waiting for someone else to pick up the slack. Push yourself–you’ll be amazed at what you’re capable of.
8. Don’t ever assume you know someone.
Even after knowing him or her through college, don’t make assumptions. You can live with her, eat with her, and be in the same organization as her, but there will always be things you don’t know, and you need to respect that. With that, open up to learn about her. I know more about some of my best college friends than I know about my friends at home after more than 15 years. People act and think the way they do for a reason. You don’t need to understand it or agree with it, but you need to accept it and respect their opinions. Realizing everyone doesn’t think like you is part of growing up.
9. Get off those damn social media sites.
If this isn’t the pot calling the kettle black, I don’t know what is, because I freakin’ love Twitter. But don’t get too involved. You will meet (follow) a lot of people (mostly girls) who will post every damn moment of every damn day with their “awesome friends” and their “awesome pre-games” and “awesome boyfriends. They may seem to have “awesome lives,” but these people are miserable. Trust me. No person in her right mind, no person who is confident and comfortable with herself finds it necessary to tell the entire world about it. You will look back on these years and remember your pregame playlists, shotgunning beers, dancing in a fraternity basement, the first time you got into the college bar, and the first hookup with that hot boy. You’ll want to remember them for the moments, not the pictures of the moment. No memories made were done so by looking at your phone. Put it down. It will be there later. Look around and enjoy the people you’re with, because they won’t be there forever.
10. These are the best four years of your life.
You know this. You were told this before you even chose what college to go to. You convinced yourself this as your parents left you for the first time, as you sat awkwardly alone in your dorm room. You assured yourself as you went to your first fraternity party, and you even had your friends convince you of this after your first mishap with a boy: the best four years of your life. By sophomore and junior year, you become accustomed to this lifestyle and see it as normal, taking it for granted. But then you get to the last leg of the race, and your alumni friends tell you of what life at 6 a.m. every day feels like. They say weekends don’t really start on Thursday. So you go out. A lot. And you drink. A lot. And you love and appreciate every single person who comes into your life during college because you know they’ve touched you in some way. You cry, because you’re not just upset to leave this place–you’re terrified to leave, because you’re leaving your college self behind, only taking with you the memories of the best damn four years of your life.