The kind of perfect, impossibly photogenic friend moment that will literally never happen for anyone, outside of college pamphlets. You and your friends will mostly spend your time getting wasted off of awful beer in your completely trashed dorm room that smells like Funyuns. (via Shutterstock)
We know. We're a website called "CollegeHumor" that doesn't actually talk about college all that much. The thing is...most of us are pretty far out of college at this point. But that doesn't change the fact that college is this weird, cool, bizarre time of transition in the lives of so many people out there today...and many have no idea how to handle it. It may be your first time in a semi-independent state, but you're also expected to be deciding your entire future? It's a load of contradictions, complications, and all-around strangeness.
So when this r/askreddit thread about advice for new college students popped up, we couldn't help but take notice. There's a lot of good advice in there, but we wanted to highlight 10 items that felt particularly interesting:
1. "Find a toilet nobody knows about on campus. One thats clean, or has two-ply toilet paper. Find that magical toilet and tell nobody of its existence."
We stan a legend (via Shutterstock)
Pooping is one of the most sacrosanct rituals anyone can partake in, and heading to college can be a huge challenge for many who were used to having the privacy of their home bathroom. Moving into a dorm means a lot less privacy in a lot of areas, but none as devastating as the bathroom. While some places may have private single restrooms, most places have large public bathrooms with a multitude of stalls - and therefore a sudden lack of privacy.
But if you look hard enough, you can find a toilet or bathroom that never gets used. Maybe it's at the top floor of the physics building, or the basement of the theater department. Maybe it's in an administrative building no one ever goes in, or a lecture hall that only fills up in the afternoon. Wherever it is, find it and claim it as your own. And make sure word doesn't spread - every person needs their sanctuary when they're doing number two.
2. "Do NOT buy textbooks from the college book store. Rent or buy them on amazon."
This was the best stock photo I could find, sorry (via Shutterstock)
Alright, this one isn't always so simple anymore - since many courses require textbooks that come with 'access codes' that allow you to take the online assignments. But for everything else, remember this - no book is worth SEVERAL HUNDRED DOLLARS. There are always other options - other students selling old copies for dirt cheap, people having scanned pages and uploaded them as .pdfs, or LibGen (always check LibGen). Textbooks should not cost what they cost - it's that simple. Don't feel bad about pirating them if you have to. You're always being bled dry by colleges and universities in a multitude of other ways - here's one spot where you can fight back.
3. "Never ask to go to the bathroom unless the teacher states that you have to ask. Just go. By asking you're interupting your lecture and therefore interupting the whole class.
Had a girl do this my second semester and the teacher gave her the ugliest look I've ever seen."
Let your bowels be your guide. (via Shutterstock)
Reminder: COLLEGE IS NOT HIGH SCHOOL. The rules and expectations are different - you have a lot more freedom, which can be both an advantage and a hindrance. But when it comes to going to the bathroom (which - let's face it - is the most important matter), look to your new freedoms. College classes are typically larger than high school ones (sometimes MUCH larger) and ultimately you matter a lot less. When in doubt, just go for it - odds are the professor doesn't even know your name, so how're they gonna write you up? When nature calls, accept the charges.
4. "Make it a point to visit the professor during his/her office hours. Somewhere around mid-semester visit again and ask about grades, and what you need to do to get an A. Towards the end of the semester revisit the plan and offer to do some extra credit if you're close to the next higher grade. She/he will remember you and the fact that you were actually trying."
Note: probably should get into those office hours as soon as you can, before your professor goes off on a globetrotting adventure to recover lost historical artifacts. (via Shutterstock)
Going back to the last point, there's something lots of college students struggle with - suddenly, you're anonymous. You may be in a lecture class that has 100+ students, so there's no way you can expect your professors to actually notice you...unless you take SOME level of initiative. And if you DO take that initiative, it'll pay off - because VERY FEW other students will do the same. Show your professor that you're engaged, that you're trying...and they'll remember you, help you, and ultimately be at least a LITTLE more forgiving of you when it comes time for final grades. That's not to say they'll go easy on you or anything, but you will have a SLIGHT advantage over the rest of the students in your class who never made themselves known to the professor.
5. "If you take a class with a professor whose teaching style is not how you best learn, and you find yourself struggling more than normal in the first few days, you don't have to stick it out. Instead, consider switching classes to the same subject with another professor. It's perfectly fine to do this and can save your GPA."
Also, make sure you don't share your notes with the skeleton who sits behind you. (via Shutterstock)
Again - COLLEGE IS NOT HIGH SCHOOL. You actually have options and choices in college - not a TON, mind you, but some. And one that you can consider is trying to drop classes or swap professors / schedules for certain classes. If things aren't looking great in the beginning, at least CONSIDER a change in scenery. You can usually tell pretty early on whether or not your professor will be a good fit for your learning style - and if not, you can always try rolling the dice with another option.
Although in all cases, it's probably best to do a little bit of research (on sites like RateMyProfessor) to find out as much as you can about your professor options, who's cool, who's an asshole, and who doesn't care if you fall asleep in class as long as you're sitting in the back row.
6. "Start assignments as soon as you get them. Yes, it's due in two weeks, but so will be 6 others."
Oh jeez, now this guy LIVES with the skeleton? Get your life together, dude. (via Shutterstock)
You may think you have all the time in the world in college, but you don't. If you're procastinating on one project, odds are you're procrasting on ALL of your projects. Get things done fast and well - and then you can go out and party with a free 'n clear mind.
7. "If the teacher never takes attendance or gives out homework, that does not mean you can only show up to class for the midterm and the final. After I aced the first midterm, I decided to just not show up until a week before the final. Came to find out there was a second fucking midterm, and a big final project. Flunked a class I could have aced."
Sure, skipping class is cool, but is it fun? Also yes. (via Shutterstock)
Here's the problem with college - it comes with A LOT of freedoms and new options for how to live your life...and it's very easy to abuse those options. Class attendance is suddenly a lot more optional than it was before, and maybe you think you can skip a few classes so long as you study a bit harder. But the reality is (as many discover) that you still need to go to class - notes are key to the final, projects and quizzes pop up, and you'll wind up being a whole lot more lost than all of your classmates if you start skipping. Because no one skips just ONE class - skip it one week, you realize you can probably skip it the next week...and the next....and the next. Before you know it, it's the end of the year and you are having nonstop stress dreams freaking out about the inevitable failure that awaits you.
So...just show up to class. Take some notes. Pay a little bit of attention. It's really not that hard. After all, you ARE sinking yourself into debt for this - might as well get SOMETHING out of it.
8. "Don't fuck up your GPA."
You might want to actually learn something in exchange for the thousands of dollars you're going into debt over. (via Shutterstock)
This seems obvious but bears repeating - keep a decent GPA. Because one semester of slacking off means MULTIPLE semesters of having to overreach and overperform to make up for your slacking and raise your GPA back to an acceptable level. It's a whole lot easier to just keep things consistent than to try to make up for your failures at a later date.
3.0 or above. That shouldn't be so hard.
9. "Sleep more than you study, study more than you party, and party as much as you can. Heard this one a while ago and I think it's great"
Perfectly balanced, as all things should be. (via Shutterstock)
Sure, it's an old maxim - but it's an important one. People tend to forgo sleep in favor of partying or studying, but honestly your body needs it. SLEEP. Make sure your body isn't destroyed at age 19. But that doesn't mean you shouldn't be doing those other things - maintaining an active social life is important too! Go get wasted, make mistakes (so long as that doesn't involve you hurting someone else), and have a lot of fun. But don't forget why you're at college - to study and get a diploma. Find balance. If you have to create a regimented schedule for yourself, so be it.
Remember what Thanos says (and I'm paraphrasing here) - all things need balance. That includes your college life. Make sure it all works. If you can figure that much out, you'll be okay.
10. "I'll do an answer nobody has done yet. Don't be afraid to go to community college.
I know some people either want to move away and live on their own, whether that's because they just want the experience of it, or a bad family life, or whatever. Or some people want to "live the college life". But being able to get half of your degree program out of the way for a fraction of the cost is super valuable. Plus, I still feel challenged in a lot of my classes, with some of the professors being miles ahead of my previous colleges' professors (who prided themselves on teaching CS "the right way" and getting you a job out of the gate, with a medium graduate pay of 80K or something).
I went to a pretty good tech school my first year. Everyone was super cool. Lived in an apartment with four other guys. Got to have lan parties twice every semester in the school. I once ran a Halo lan party with my bud who ended up becoming the Halo club president. Classes were hard as shit. Etc. Etc. Normal tech school stuff I guess.
Ended up hating CS. Also didn't do the best in it. So I decided to come back home and try CC. My god it was the best decision in my life. My social life is even better at CC, the classes are still hard and challenging to me, and I'm paying way less then if I continued tech school.
CC doesn't mean your dumb, or that you couldn't get into a real college. I got awesome grades and pretty high test scores in HS (like a 32 ACT). It's all about how you apply yourself."
Not going into debt is STREETS AHEAD! (via Sony Television)
College is all about two things - getting a diploma and getting some knowledge. That's it. Beyond all the partying and social life and whatever other bullshit, it's about preparing yourself for a job market and the outside world. It doesn't matter if you go to an Ivy League school or a state school or a community college - it's on you to pay attention, learn as much as you can, and go out there looking to make your mark. Sure, Ivy League gives you certain advantages - but there's nothing wrong with community colleges. You can get all of the same learning for a lot less, and without having to accept insane amounts of student loan debt. Don't feel ashamed or inadequate. College is about knowledge, and that's it.