As colleges reopen their doors to eager students across the country for the 2013 school year, I can’t help but realize that I made my very first step on my college campus TEN YEARS AGO. Whether you graduated a year ago or 40 years ago, a feeling of nostalgia will undoubtedly take hold of you as you think of those terrifyingly, glorious first steps. If you’re like me, your second thought is, “I would love to go back and give advice to 10 year ago Tommy based on what I know now.”
Don’t get me wrong, I loved my years at Salisbury U (represent SEAGULLS!!), but having a checklist of things to do (or not) woulda made for a hell of a four year ride. So below, I’ve assembled some of my top pieces of advice to my 17 year old, baby bird self.
1. Go into college single.
You’re not going to marry your high school sweetheart. OK, OK, some people do but let’s make it clear that the odds are WAY stacked against you. Besides, meeting a member of the opposite sex is never easier then when you’re in college. When else can you approach someone at a bar/party and “Hey, I think we have Chem 101 together,” is a perfectly acceptable pick up line?
2. Stick to normal meals at the cafeteria.
Yeah, I get it; the cafeteria has dozens of options for you to choose from for breakfast, lunch and dinner, but you need to stick to normal meals. A pancake bar and a mashed potato bar are there as OR options not AND options. You might think you have incredible metabolism, but the Freshman 15 leaves no one behind (even if it takes you until your sophomore year). Oh, and take it easy on the pizza, chubster, its not a viable option every night.
3. Study something you actually enjoy.
Coming out of school and saying you have a business degree or marketing degree or you studied communications is boring. Everyone going into the business world studies that garbage, and you’ll use literally 0% of what you learn there. Study something like American History or Political Science, that stuff is way more interesting to talk about after school. Trust me, your ability to interview and relate to people will get you much further in life than your Management degree. Whatever you do, don’t study Philosophy.
4. But, don’t study so damn much.
You know what the difference between a 3.2 GPA and a 4.0 GPA to a potential employer? Virtually nothing, (for most jobs anyway) especially in a sales job. They seriously don’t care.
5. Which brings me to: Party a little more.
Some of you reading this are probably saying “I only partied on days that end in ‘Y,'” and the only way you could party more is if there was an 8th day of the week that conveniently ends with a ‘Y.’ And I say to you, “Well done.” But that wasn’t the case for a young, Tommy. Don’t be such a late bloomer and get out there and drink some Natty Light.
6. Find the gym a little sooner.
Just trust me on this one; you’ll learn to love it. Besides, 135 pounds is not a good weight for you.
7. Don’t hang a poster of girls in bikinis or Bob Marley.
Because every single other dude will have one or the other or both in their room. Stick to being original here.
But you know, I ended up in a pretty good place, with some awesome friends and I don’t have a criminal record that’s been following me since I was 18. Maybe it’s a good thing I can’t go back and teach my young self what I know now. But based on how much I loved college, I’d be first in line to sign-up to do it all over again if I could.
I’m not old, I’m well-seasoned,