Saturday, May 21, 2016

5 Tips for High School Graduates Heading off to College (from Someone Who Knows)

1.)     Study Hard.
Or don’t.  I managed to slip by with C’s and have a fucking blast while doing it.

After 4 years of intensive academics at an expensive private high school where I had earned straight A’s and graduated in the top 10% of my class, I’d gotten into the college that I wanted to and then I realized—hey, now that the hard part is over, I’m pretty sure I can still get a job that I want with a degree from here, whether I get straight A’s or not. 

So I shot for C’s…and I got them.  It was easy to do, and I wouldn’t change a thing.

So do that.  Definitely do that. And have fun.

And when your parents call you during the first semester of college like my dad did me and ask, “Son/Daughter, are you on drugs?” maybe don’t reply, “Oh, I tried pot like 3 times, but I didn’t like it, so no worries there,” like I did.  That might just give them heart attacks. 

Luckily my dad handled it like a champ.

Perhaps you could go with a different answer, the one I gave when my dad pressed me for the reason I wasn’t getting straight A’s anymore:  “Oh, that?  I just figured out that I don’t give as much of a shit anymore.”

2.)     Don’t Be a Dirty Whore.
Side note for my own boys:  You’re my children, so genetics aren’t necessarily on your side for this one.

But if you’re going to be like I was, at least make him/her buy you dinner first.  And Chex Mix on the 18th hole of the local golf course before doing the deed doesn’t count.

3.)     Embrace the Latest Technology.
I’m not big on technology.  I’m 38 but I act like a 92-year-old when you put me in front of a computer or i-whatever.  But still, learn how to use all of the latest shit simply so that you don’t look like such a huge goddamned nerd.

One of my favorite gifts of my entire life was a typewriter that my dad gave me for Christmas when I was 12.

You know what’s coming, and you’re right:  You bet your sweet asses I took that thing to college with me.

My best friend Leigh used to make so much fun of me when she’d find me in my bedroom of the apartment that we shared, smoking a cigarette while flipping the “carriage release lever” (I had to Google that term) on a particularly feverish writing night.

“Holy shit, Shay, it’s like I’ve slipped back in time.  You do realize that we were BORN in the 70’s, and that it’s not 1973 right now?”

“But it even has a white-out button,” I would reply, pointing to it in awe.  “Have you ever seen one of those?”

“No,” she would say.  “Because I haven’t used a damned typewriter since I used to go visit my grandma’s house…before she died 10 years ago.”

Don’t even get me started on how stupid I looked hauling that motherfucker around.  Imagine this:  A big-nosed, gangly, pasty girl (my boys—aren’t you proud?), rushing to the campus library, typewriter tucked safely under her arm, to pound out a term paper until they had to scooch her out because the keys were too loud and they were getting complaints from other patrons.

And then…the mortification that came when a sweet, well-meaning professor—one of my favorites—sent me an e-mail:  “Shay, you know that school will lend you a laptop free of charge?  Maybe you haven’t received the e-mail about it since you tend to enjoy your typewriter…it’s just that typewriters haven’t been used since the 70’s, and the papers that you hand in look a bit unprofessional.”

Had he been talking to my best friend?

Anyway, peeps, learn from my mistakes.  That way, at least I can feel like there was a reason I made them.

4.)    Learn to Take a Proper Shot.
(And while we’re at it, sprout a British accent in writing by throwing “proper” in front of all nouns.  People love that.)

Let me tell you about a frat party I attended during the first few weeks of college:

It was called a "progressive," meaning that in each room, there was a different type of drink to take.

The first room had drinks called flaming Dr. Peppers, and I was so excited because I loved Dr. Pepper.  So I got my shot and started walking around with my best friend Leigh, whom I had only just met when moving into the dorms, but I could already tell would be my best friend for life (and she is).

About 30 minutes later, I was still sipping my drink but now complaining because “this shot totally doesn’t taste like Dr. Pepper.  Those assholes are either liars or they don’t know how to make a damned drink.”

Leigh looked at me, then down at my drink, then back up at my innocent, braces-wearing face.  And then Leigh burst into hysterical laughter.

“You fucking idiot!” she exclaimed.  “You were supposed to take it all at once—quickly!  That’s why they call it a shot.  It probably tastes like SHIT now!”

It did.


Again, learn from my mistakes.  I know I did.  I became known campus-wide as a college drunk in a school that was known for its college drunks, and I think that’s saying something.

One day, my class was meeting in the computer lab.  I walked in to hear my beloved professor (from #3 above) bellow, “SHAY!  What is in that cup?”

I looked up at him, offended.  “It’s SODA, Dr. Smith.  Do you really think I’d be dragging a huge cup of vodka to class?  JEEZ!”

“Um, no, Shay,” he laughed.  “I was simply pointing out the fact that we’re meeting in the computer lab today, and we’re not supposed to have food or drink—whether or not it’s alcohol—in case of spills on the expensive equipment.”

Oh.  I guess my reputation made me a little defensive.

5.)     Don’t Smoke Pot.
One of the 3 ill-fated attempts that I had at doing it happened on Spring Break.

Suddenly, I found my heart racing and tears streaming down my face.

“Oh my gosh, Shay, are you okay?” my equally high best friend asked.

“No!” I shouted.  “My heart is racing and I’m pretty sure I’m having a heart attack!”

“Oh—okay,” one of our high guy friends said, slowly turning his head to gaze at me through squinted eyes in the sun.  “Well, let us know if it gets worse.”

I stopped crying for a moment and looked back at him. “What the fuck are you doing to do if it does?”

He laughed softly and shrugged his shoulders.  “I don’t know…take you to the hospital?”

I began crying again. “I’m screwed. I’m totally screwed.”  Then I had another thought.  “You guys,” I wailed.  “What if I die and I have to talk to God high?

The next morning, my best friend made a new rule.  “Watching you was like watching a goddamned after-school special starring Helen Hunt,” she muttered.  “I was just waiting for you to jump off of the balcony.  Listen, Shay, no more pot for you.”

I agreed wholeheartedly.  And that was the end of my college pot experimentation.

Is it bad that I want to go back after writing up this list?  Oh my gosh, it was so much fun and I'm totally jealous that you're just getting ready to do it all and my time has passed...

1 comment:

  1. I was a straight C/D student in high school. Somehow with almost zero effort and lots of drugs and drinking, I became an A student in college (granted it was an art college, but still, it was a University). I still remember that feeling of absolute terror when I was stoned and my mother would call me to check in.....