It’s that time of year again – a time when thousands of college students graduate and begin their lives in the “real world.” And it got me thinking. Sure I learned tons of super important things. I learned a lot in my classes and lot from my professors. But there were quite a few other lessons I learned as well that they don’t advertise in the student handbook. I’m sure the lessons are different for everyone. For me, they went something like this…
- Boys are stupid. Okay, admittedly not all boys. And not all the time. But I had some pretty terrible dates when I was in college and I learned a lot from those experiences. Mainly to carry mace. I think back on one particular first date my freshman year with a guy named Bo from my English class. It started off normally enough for me – he picked me up for dinner. But then when he was taking me back to my dorm, he asked if we could stop by a friend’s house real quick and I agreed. We get there and there is a girl in a t-shirt and underwear and guy in boxers and after Bo and boxer guy talked in the back and I was left to talk to a stranger in her “jammies” I was then asked to help him carry all of their stereo equipment out to our car. What? Now that I think about it, I think I was in the middle of some drug deal.
- You won’t gain the freshman 15 if you’re in the marching band at a college based in south Georgia. It’s impossible. I was in the color guard and therefore had practice four times a week and games on Saturdays. Practice began in August. My university is based as far south as you can go without being in Florida (I think it’s 20 miles away.) To say it was “hot” would be an understatement. I marched, I twirled and there was a lot of sweat involved. I think I actually lost weight.
- I am strongly affected by sugar. Pixie sticks specifically. I was the designated driver almost always in college (well, at least for the first two years…) and that’s because I didn’t feel the need to drink — because I had pixie sticks! I’d eat some of those and be so hyper I’m sure it seemed like I was intoxicated. My friends knew the rule — buy me candy and I’ll drive you home.
- If someone asks you to be a production assistant on an Alan Jackson music video shoot – say yes. Even if you know you want to go into TV news, I promise those three days became an experience I have never forgotten. I’ve also never forgiven that entire crew for calling me “white legs.” Or Lucas for stranding me for the longest 2 minutes of my life. But it was well worth it. Also, I learned that even if my mom didn’t trust me to buy my own senior yearbook (she gave the money to my sister to handle,) complete strangers will hand you thousands of dollars and put you in charge of the petty cash. Awesome.
- Air Force guys based in Valdosta are bored and very nice. I apologize to all of our military men and women who are stationed at Moody Air Force Base — you guys have nothing to do. But in 1999 a lot of them hung out at the store I worked at in the mall and they were super nice. I had a couple of “regulars” who came by almost every day I was there and would walk me to my car after work since the walk with cash was not exactly safe. How incredibly nice is that? Not only do they protect our country for a living, at least seven of them protected one college student after work every day for a year.
- You don’t need to fold your underwear. I lived in the upstairs of my aunt and uncle’s house my sophomore year. One day as I was doing laundry, my Aunt Mary said to me, “Why do you fold your underwear?” Wow. I had no earthly idea. I had always just done it. But when she asked me that, it was like a light went off in my head. Hey, I didn’t need to fold my underwear! No one does! Freedom! I’ve got 11 years of no underwear folding under my belt and I’m still happy with my decision.
- If you haven’t grown up mud-bogging maybe you shouldn’t try it. Yeah, because it’s harder than it looks! Especially when you’re in a Ford F-350 truck and can’t really see over the steering wheel.
- Don’t let your friend drink vodka all day long in the hot sun. It won’t end well. Although later he’ll try to tell you, “I must be allergic.” Yes. That’s so it.
- Not everyone was raised the same way you were. Okay, I know I should’ve known this but I really didn’t get it until I moved into an apartment with a girl and she confessed she’d never loaded a dishwasher. So I taught her. And when she went home for Thanksgiving and helped with the dishes, she got in an argument with her mom over how to load it since my style and her mom’s didn’t match up. Hee.
You may meet your husband and not know it. I met Kevin when I was a freshman and his dorm was across from mine. We chatted whenever we ran into each other but that was it. Ten years later, we ran into each other again and started dating. Who knew?