Improvising adulthood: how to conduct yourself at college

Ah, College; a murky, drunken twilight zone whose inhabitants clumsily straddle the line between adolescence and adulthood. But not you, right? You’re the physical embod­iment of maturity and self-sufficiency. Never mind that you’ll immediately call home after maxing out your credit card. You’re a freak­ing adult who’s going to get through this year without breaking a sweat–except in Rocky.

Here are seven sturdy tips to help you con­vince your friends, your roommate and even yourself that you’ve totally got your shit to­gether. Even though you don’t. At all.

  1. “Febreze’d” does not equal clean

Between the countless club meetings, part-time job, school work and feeble attempts to maintain a social life, laundry is the last thing on your mind. You might just want to snatch a shirt from the bottom of the hamper, spritz it with some Febreze, and go on your merry way. It’s not like your roommate will notice, right? Except that they do notice. Everyone else will notice too once you start to smell like a funky blend of body odor and ocean breeze. B.O. and O.B. is not a winning combo.

  1. Call your parents

We get it. You’re trying to assert your own independence, yadda, yadda. But call your par­ents aka your financial backing aka your liter­al day one homies every once in a while, huh? There is nowhere in the grownup handbook that says adults are forbidden talk to their par­ents (I checked). Besides, what better way to increase your own adultness than by talking to an adult who’s adultier than you!

  1. Just don’t call your parents all the time

Even though you went away to college, it doesn’t mean that your parents’ entire universe has come to a screeching halt and all they do is wait by the phone for you to call. They’ve most likely entered into indentured servitude chopping wood in the forests of Pennsylvania so that they can pay your ridiculously high tui­tion. Every time you think you might have lost your room key is not need-to-know informa­tion for the folks back home.

  1. The early bird gets the worm

You want to be an adult. Adults are produc­tive. You can’t be productive if you sleep until 2:00 pm every day. See if you can finish your last coffee by 1:00 am. That way you’ll be ready to drift into a caffeine laced sleep and at least be semi-conscious before noon. Chemical de­pendence never felt so good.

  1. Be nice (or at least pretend)

Now, I’m sure that you’re just a ray of sun­shine (your mom says so all the time), but there will be some people that you just don’t like or just don’t like you. Like your roommate, for example. If that’s the case, just accept the fact that in the saying “two peas in a pod” of­ten the peas involved don’t get a lot of choice in their podmate, but they make it work. The least you can do is make the living situation as un-traumatic as possible. That means re­frain from replacing their shampoo with Nair. That would definitely fall under the category of traumatic. Kind of hilarious, but traumatic nonetheless.

  1. Advocate for yourself

Professors can be tough. Sometimes they give you a grade you deserve, or they assign a project you know won’t get done in time. But you can’t just call mom and dad to bust in and split some wigs like in the old days; you’ve got to handle this yourself. Don’t be afraid to swing by during office hours and ask the pro­fessor for a month long extension. Just to clar­ify, cursing out the professor does not count as advocating for yourself.

  1. Accept that you’re a big kid, but not a grown up

Look, the fact that you need a list to remind you to do laundry probably means you hav­en’t got this whole grown up thing down yet. But, why the hurry to grow up? College is the only four years of your life where you get to do what you want, but still have a parental safe­ty-trampoline to bounce back from anything. You’re essentially an overgrown toddler on a hundreds-of-miles-long child-leash. Just re­member, after college you can pay all the taxes and eat all the Activia your hypertensive heart desires.

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