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Published:June 10th, 2007 06:11 EST
How to Survive: A Freshman's Guide

How to Survive: A Freshman's Guide

By Tristan Mack

Summer is here, meaning school is out, but not yet over for many.  For some out there, it`s merely the beginning of something else that seems all too familiar despite the constant worries associated with it; college.  There`s no handbook or guide that will get you through these coming years just as no one can say they left unchanged.  Since I have made the journey, I figured I could pass down my college wisdom and teach you how to make it through college like I did. 

Rule 1: go to parties.  Even if you don`t drink for some odd reason, you can still meet people at parties, because, unless you grew up in the town where you`re going to school, you probably don`t know anyone when you first get there.  Parties aren`t just for those wishing to make it happen with the captain, but they are a social setting to meet and greet in a place far less intimidating than the classroom.  And if you don`t happen to drink, you will also be able to remember who you talked to and who you want to avoid in the future.

Rule 2: drinking is great; I`m not going to lie.  It makes boring people interesting and so on, but know your limits.  People may remember the guy who did 20 shots that one night, but you`ll only remember the three hours of vomiting that ensued shortly after.  And believe me, the morning after is no fun after a night like that.  It`s best to avoid them altogether.

Rule 3: don`t worry so much about the future on your first day.  Picking a major is always a plus, but if you haven`t mapped out your life past this point yet, don`t feel like you`re the only one facing these issues.  In fact, most college students will change their major at some point during their academic career, and many don`t come to school with a declared study.  If you`re one such student, just remember that not knowing now won`t ruin your academic future.  For the most part, your freshman class schedule will be the same regardless as to whether or not you have a major. 

Rule 4: do something outside of the classroom.  Find something you`re passionate about and get involved.  Unlike high school, you are not as hampered when it comes to extracurricular activities.  You can join a ski club and the Young Democrats or spend your time in the band.  College is a time of change and often those activities outside of the classroom will help you keep your sanity. 

And lastly, remember to have fun while you`re here.  I know you`ll hear this during new student orientation or whenever you listen to your parents, but college really is the best time of your life before life really kicks you in the groin.  And your time there will go by like a dream.  Just remember that, while it is important to keep from flunking out, there is more to an education than what you will find in lecture. 

I mean I learned never to mix vodka and whiskey, and that cramming all of my studying into one night, hours before the big exam, is not such a good idea.  But despite all of my worst intentions, here I am, a graduate of the lifestyle, sitting here trying to tell you how to go down the very same road. 

The trials and tribulations you will face will seem daunting, even slightly scary, but that`s how it`s supposed to be.  Change is never an easy thing, but in some instances it`s a necessity.  And in this case, most will live to remember it.