Being A College Student – Part 3 [Social]
May 10, 2006 3 Comments
The biggest intangible and unforeseeable (for me) benefits of going to college have been in the social realm. Too often the real world sees college graduates who are socially inept and impotent from a communication standpoint. Even if it makes your grades suffer, even if it keeps you in college just a hint longer, the social development that can take place in college is invaluable if you know how to harness it.
The real question we should ask ourselves: What good is a solid education with greater earning potential if you have no one to share it with?
- Leave your dwelling, and leave it often
Get out there and meet people. Meet a wide variety of people. There is no way (besides social networking websites, I guess) that you can meet new people without leaving your house. The earlier you become a recluse the more difficult it is to break the cycle.
Your apartment/dorm should be a place to hang out with friends, occasionally escape, eat, possibly study and of course sleep. I would say occupy it about 30% of your time, with 80% of that 30% being for sleep. I am a big fan of studying in a library because of the environment, plus if you need to take a break you can usually find a friend who needs a break too.
- Go to parties
Even if you don’t drink, go to parties that have alcohol. They attract more people. Inevitably, there will be others there that are not drinking as a result of drawing the DD(Designated Driver) straw or just not interested in consuming alcohol.
Parties are great for making the first connection with someone you may see on campus in the future. Particularly block/house parties. The fraternity here parties aren’t that great due to a lot of legal restrictions. Also, if you are interested in men, fraternity parties are for you. If you are not interested in men, and you are not in the fraternity throwing a party don’t go to a fraternity party.
- Get an on campus job
In order to fund all of your wild college adventures you have to get some income. While the pay isn’t that great, on campus jobs are much more sensitive to a student’s schedule. On campus jobs can be your link to new people who also have friends who have friends.
The most important reason to get an on campus job is most of the time you will not have to work weekends. The weekends are when everyone else has their free time; you don’t want to be standing around at Wal-Mart scanning groceries for 8 hours on Saturday just to come home and go to bed.
- Don’t depend on Technology
It’s creepy coming back and seeing a poke, a new text message on my phone, a voicemail, a new private message, new messages on AIM and MSN, and new facebook wall message all from the same person in the same day. Especially if you rarely if ever see the person. If you’re relying on the online tools to get your social fix you are becoming a recluse. If you really want to communicate, there’s no substitute for face to face IRL contact.
I assure you, no one who is sociable/sane depends on the net or a phone as a primary mode of communication if they have the choice. Face to face conversations capture so much more and provide a way to delve so much deeper than the typical IM/phone conversation. Yes, phone/IM/social networks do eliminate a lot of the barriers, like time. If the opportunity for face to face communication ever comes up, the choice should be clear. If you’re using technology as a crutch because you’re too nervous to go see someone, you should seriously examine your situation and decide if you want to maintain the friendship or end it.
- Go Greek if you’re ready… maybe even if you’re not
Early in my college career I went out to rush events. I was eager to join a fraternity that had lots of members that I consider(ed) friends. I didn’t get a bid – upsetting at the time, but in the long run I’m glad that it didn’t work out that way. I wasn’t ready to do the fraternity experience.
I wasn’t ready until the fall of 2004. Being in a fraternity has a lot of responsibilities, particularly those relating to time, finances, and emotions. My philosophy on fraternity life is this – either get into it at a young age (first two semesters) or wait until you can contribute just as much as you get out of the experience.
Greek organizations face the same problems that all campus organizations face (sources of money, getting people to actually pay, communication issues), along with a lot of the problems that face a family. Drama Drama Drama. The greek life is for you if you’re young and you need a good support blanket, or if you’re older and you feel like you can offer some direction to the younger guys.
If you have all of your friends in one group, or have one BESTEST friend you’re creating a central point of failure. If a falling out happens with the BESTEST friend or the group, you’ll be completely screwed. In a roundabout way, a character in Don Quixote says “Don’t put all of your eggs in one basket.” Relying on a central group/individual for all of your friend needs just isn’t realistic.
Let’s not kid ourselves – friends serve our psyche’s acceptance need and a need of camaraderie. Diversifying the sources of your friends is critical as your acceptance needs become more complex. If you need professional acceptance, find friends you can communicate about professional issues. If you seek social acceptance, find friends that you can level with on a social level.
- If you’re going to drink…
Don’t be a dumbass. You’ll give yourself and the rest of the students in the world a bad reputation. Don’t drive or do any of the other “DUH” things. Now that I’ve got that out of the way… the 11 commandments for drinking in college:
- Know your limits. Nobody likes to vomit/dry heave/deal with someone who is doing one of those… and let’s not forget the angry/emotional drunk.
- Drink beer. Preferably light beer. It’s cheaper and much more abundant. I don’t see shots aren’t socially acceptable outside of a wild college party. Mixed drinks at bars are just too expensive.
- If you are underage, plan & find multiple sources. Oh, and don’t forget you’re breaking the law. You cannot always count on a hookup on the night you need it.
- If you are of age, only turn down the underage in dire circumstances. Remember, someone helped you out before you turned 21.
- Be communal. This isn’t a call to give away every ounce of booze you own, but if a friend is in need don’t hesitate to give away what you have for a good cause. You’ll be in that position one day. How do you want to be treated?
- Learn to pour from a keg/pitcher/bottle. There’s nothing worse than a beer with too much head.
- Learn your local specials. This is much more applicable for larger cities. For instance, while I was in San Diego, The Silver Fox had $2 anything on Thursday nights. In Murray the specials vary, but if you want to muster a group of people to go out with you, you’ll have to appeal to their wallets.
- Put your phone/IM client away. Until you learn to control yourself, which will probably take a while if you just begin drinking in college, don’t bring your phone. Don’t get on your computer afterwards to instant message/post on a journal to all of your friends/possibly the world letting them know.
- Be wary of photos with you and alcohol. Those photos (even privately posted) can be copied, and can send an unintended message to friends/family/potential employers.
- Don’t drink alone. I’ve heard it’s a sign of alcoholism. The old adage goes “One’s an alcoholic, two’s a party.”
- Pre-party if you have a ride and arrive late. One of the less fun parts of partying is waiting for the party to start. People will come. Assemble your crew in a friendly location with your DD and start enjoying the night before you get to the party. If the party has not started prior to your arrival, it definitely will when you get there.
- If you’re considering ‘other’ venues of escape…
The other venues of escape I’m alluding to are illegal drugs. Just don’t get into them. There are too many legal and health problems you can get into, not to mention the overwhelming social stigma attached to the stereotypical college student’s preferred recreational substance.
Save some money and go somewhere wild for spring break with a lot of your friends. I spent all of my spring breaks working except for one. Once I went with a friend to Pensa Cola, FL and had a blast with some great weather. It was fun, but it was far too controlled. The other 4 spring breaks amounted to earning money in one way or another.
My most memorable road trip during college had to be during finals week my sophomore year with my then roommate Dave and our mutual friends Brent and Burris. We wanted to visit Lambert’s in Sikeston, MO ordinarily a drive done in under two hours. Since we were lost, it took us five hours. I’ll always remember that trip.
Travel as much as you can, take the random road trips when you don’t have anything else to do – go visit your friends from high school that are attending different schools. They’ll appreciate it. Traveling affords opportunities with your friends that the typical routine can’t come close to matching.
- On women and relationships
I could devote an entire website to this subject alone. However, in the interest of time I will only say this: get a friend in the gender you’re interested in. Not a potential hookup via the Ladder Theory but an actual honest no BS friend. A lot of people argue on the ability of true platonic love, but give it a try. The key here is to make sure that the friend you’re aiming to make is also not attracted to you in any way.
From there, you can learn everything you never knew (and probably never wanted to know) about the mindset of someone that interests you. In relationships and hookups, there’s nothing more valuable than being aware of a perspective that you’re pursuing.
Finally… always, ALWAYS remember what Cube said:
There’s one bitch in this world, one bitch with many faces.
Ladies, you know I kid.