1) The Freshman Fifteen does exist. So does the Freshman Twenty. Watch how many starches and processed foods you are eating.
2) Pizza - the ubiquitous college snack. See #1.
3) If it’s either take out a loan or quit school, take out a loan.
4) If you can live harmoniously with someone in a 20×20 ft. space, you can do anything.
5) Flip-flops: Wear them in the dorm shower. Always.
6) Always attend the *real* class, and use the Internet one for review.
7) If you are not a morning person, don’t schedule classes for 7am. You will not go.
8) Get involved on campus. All work and no *productive* socializing is boring.
9) Too much socializing = bad grades. Everything in moderation.
10) If you are feeling overwhelmed, are having problems sleeping, or have gone through a breakup, visit your college’s counseling center. If you are feeling suicidal at any point, call your college’s crisis center number or call 911 immediately.
11) There are a lot of free activities on campus. Take advantage of them.
12) Many colleges have free tutoring centers on campus. Take advantage of them.
13) Sit near the front of class.
14) Attend the whole class. Even if you feel like you will just die if you sit there any longer. Even if you feel your brain start to ooze out the side of your ear. Because we (professors) sometimes give really important info at the end of class.
15) Recopy your notes after class. Or if you’ve typed them (which is recommended), do a quick read-through after class.
16) Remember that although you are 18, your college may have the right to contact your parents if you are caught drinking underage.
17) Don’t do anything stupid (read: illegal). It will go down on your permanent record. Seriously. At every college you apply to after this one.
18) Register for classes as early as possible. Early bird catches the worm and all that.
19) See how your first semester goes before you consider getting a job. See how heavy your course load is first.
20) Find a bank that also has branches in your hometown. Get your account connected to your parents’ account so they can transfer money to you.
21) Use direct deposit and automatic withdrawal for paychecks/loanchecks/ check checks. Less chance of you losing it.
22) Use virus protection and firewalls on your laptop.
23) The student bookstore (online and in real life) can have great student discounts on hardware/software.
24) Reconsider bringing a car to campus your first semester. It can be a pain to park.
25) Pack the clothes you need for college, and then take half of that amount.
26) The more underwear you have, the less you have to do laundry.
27) If you are doing laundry on campus or at a laundromat, stay with your clothes. Otherwise they may walk off while you are gone.
28) I can’t emphasize this enough: INTRODUCE YOURSELF TO YOUR PROFESSORS AND GO TO THEIR OFFICE HOURS. This is so important, I’ll tell it to you again: INTRODUCE YOURSELF TO YOUR PROFESSORS AND GO TO THEIR OFFICE HOURS. We’re nice people. Seriously. And we really like it when someone is interested in our classes.
29) Use the college’s career resource center - not just when you are going to graduate, but when you are figuring out what you want to do with your life. It’s a free service. Use the free services.
30) For the love of God, please, please do not leave candles burning in your dorm room or apartment. Or those incense burning thingies. Bad things happen when those are left on.
31) If you have a tendency to be messy, your roommate may be compulsively neat. The general rule is that the messier you are, the more neat your roommate will be. Try to pull it together. Especially regarding food. Always throw out leftover food. That’s just gross, messy or not. Learning how to adapt to someone else’s living style is a wonderful learning experience. Really. And if you complained about having to share a room with your siblings while you were growing up, when you get to college you learn that you are actually ahead of the curve. :)
32) Stay on campus on weekends. If you go home every weekend because you are homesick or have a girlfriend/boyfriend back home, you will be missing out on a lot of the college experience.
33) Get your flu shots. Yearly.
34) Use condoms. Every time.
35) Long-distance relationships are a challenge to keep up when you are away at school.
36) If you get that “ick” feeling that you shouldn’t be doing something or shouldn’t be somewhere, stop doing it and get out of there.
37) You may feel like your parents are hovering too much. Look at it this way: they’ve been taking care of you since you were a baby. That doesn’t just stop. Cut them some slack. The more independent and wise decisions you make on your own, the more they will have confidence in your abilities as an adult.
38) Just because you and your roommate were friends back home doesn’t mean you will be compatible roommates. You find out new things about people when you are sharing a small space. But you can work it out. Even if you and your roommate are total strangers and are completely different - you may become great friends.
39) If your roommate is doing something that bothers you, ask yourself the following three questions: 1) Am I being reasonable in being bothered by this? 2) What’s the best way to talk to my roommate about this? 3) What are some solutions to this issue? If all else fails and the issue is very important to you and you’ve talked to your roommate to no avail, talk to your Resident Assistant.
40) Practice safety. Don’t walk home alone in the dark. Walk with someone. Many campuses have services where you can call and someone will walk back to your dorm with you.
41) Just because you *can* do something doesn’t mean you should.
42) Use flashcards to quiz yourself when studying. And get someone else to quiz you with them. If you always quiz yourself with your own flashcards, you may skip over some that you don’t know the answer to.
43) You may not know what you want to do for a major. It’s okay. There are people much older than you that still aren’t sure what they want to do with their lives. That’s okay. See your academic adviser for help. Pay attention to which classes you really look forward to - that can be a clue as to what you might want to major in.
44) If you have a dining card/pass - do not treat all your friends to lunch and dinner. That is real money. Real money that you will be asking your parents for when it runs out.
45) Study groups can be helpful - but keep it to between 3 and 5 members (including you). More than that, and it turns into a social event.
46) If you have ADHD or a learning disability, apply for accommodations as soon as possible - even right after you find out you’ve been accepted to school.
47) Sleep. Get it. Get enough. You may be laughing at this, being a college student and all…but you need to get enough sleep.
48) Wash your hands. Often. Living in the dorms is a communal living experience. Germs love communal living.
49) Keep in touch with your friends from back home, but be open to meeting people of all different cultures and interests.
50) Enjoy your college experience - it’s one most rewarding experiences of your life, academically and socially.
In a world full of hipsters, gangster rap, and baggy pants, the gentleman is becoming obsolete. They are a dying breed, wiped out by iPhones and iChats; popped collars and one night stands; sex through texting, breaking up over e-mail, and women that can change their own oil and stand up for themselves in a bar fight. But this doesn’t mean chivalry is dead. It’s simply evolving. As a man, I believe we’ve lost sight of how to behave in public. Nobody likes a drunken, college Frat boy. I promise. Nuclear fallout or feminist reign is no excuse to quit acting like a gentleman. It’s time to man up.
Below is a guide to surviving the 21st Century while still remaining a gentleman.
You can and should still hold the door for a lady. Even if she’s a malicious feminist plotting the fall of mankind. Ladies, we open the door for you because we know you’re in charge. People in charge don’t open their own doors. You enter. We follow.
Stand when a woman comes to the table. Keep that napkin on your lap. Let the woman order first, and for the love of God, never, ever order for her.
Keep your Blackberry, your Blueberry, or your Chuck Berry in your pocket while in good company. There is a time and a place for your iPad, iPhone, and iPod. At the dinner table with family, coffee with friends, a tandem skydive jump or bike ride, or on a date is not that place. Show some respect. Make eye contact. The world won’t stop spinning because you haven’t updated your Facebook status for an hour.
Be early. Fashionably late is out of fashion.
If someone else is talking, shut up and listen. It’s that simple. Got it? Good.
It may be common practice these days to swear like a sailor on a ship full of swashbuckling pirates, but a gentleman chooses his words carefully. Your tongue is a rudder. It steers the whole ship. Tacking on a curse to the end of every sentence does not make you sound like an individual—it makes you sound like an uneducated moron. Your vocabulary is unimpressive, dick.
No matter what, do not go into a woman’s purse—even if she asks you to retrieve some mysterious artifact from it. This is a trap. You don’t want a woman digging through your closet or all those private folders hidden on your desktop. Sometimes it’s best if you let some things in life remain a mystery.
You are not Tyler Durden. Walk away from altercations. No one will be impressed with you punching another man in the teeth because he’s eyeballin’ your woman, yo.
A pair of dark, slim-fitting, true denim jeans are good for a relaxing day off, as well as a night out at a fancy restaurant or club.
You are never over-dressed when wearing a suit.
Read. A gentleman educates himself. Your iPad and iPhone can now download books for little or no cost. There’s no excuse not to be reading Kerouac’s On The Road or Catcher in the Rye by Salinger. Not heterosexual enough for you? Then go for grittier work like Charlie Huston’s Caught Stealing. This book reads with the intensity of a Bruce Willis movie jacked up on Methamphetamine. It’s dirty, mean, violent, and funny. And best of all, short.
A quick text message or a sloppy email sent on your lunch break does not constitute a Thank You Note. Want to show genuine respect and gratitude? A hand-written, analogue letter will always hold up in a digital world.
When asking a woman out on a date, a gentleman does this in person or over the phone. He does not poke her on Facebook or shoot her a text. Poor form, my friend. Be confident.
This goes for breaking up, too. You do not send an email telling her it’s been real and thanks for the memories. Do not send your brother by to pick up your things or send a text. This is to be done in person without using phrases like, “It’s not you, it’s me,” or “I no longer find you attractive and want to start dating your roommate.”
I sometimes think I’m George Clooney or Fred Astaire. Dark and mysterious, suave and sophisticated. Sweeping women off their feet with a wink and a smile, throwing my coat over puddles, and helping old ladies cross the street. In truth, I’m awkward and clumsy; I talk too fast and stumble over words. I run into doors, and I’m all left feet and elbows on the dance floor. But I’m always myself, no matter what, because I’m confident in the man that I am. As a true gentleman should be.
The world is a hard place to survive. Falling in love. Broken hearts. Standing up for what you believe. Arachnids and an entire week dedicated to sharks. Earthquakes and economic meltdowns. Nine dollar beer nights at your favorite pub, and fashion statements that should have died years ago returning from the grave. It’s not easy to be alive through all this, let alone survive it as a gentleman. We must remain intact and stand out amongst the rest. No matter how difficult it gets out there. And the best part is, you can still look cool while doing it.
Now that you have the essential tools for surviving the 21st Century as a gentleman, it’s time to be cool.
Call her the next day. The “wait three days rule” will always be cool to break.
Rules that are not cool to break: Never date your friend’s ex, never date your ex’s friend, never date your ex’s roommate, no cutting in line, no cutting a “line” in the bathroom, keep a napkin on your lap while dining, and it’s still not okay to go in a woman’s purse.
LOL is not only NOT okay, it’s never cool.
Your socks should be as colorful as your wardrobe. Don’t be afraid of plaid, argyle, or stripes beneath your jeans or black slacks.
A gentleman never publicly worries, complains, or comments about money. A gentleman who is cool never hesitates to pick up a tab or loan to a friend in need. Remember, if you’re making more than 2 dollars a day, you’re considered in the top 3% of the richest people on the planet. Would you like some perspective with your coffee this morning?
At a business lunch, give your credit card to the waiter before you’re seated. This ends the debate when the meal is finished before it even starts.
Make eye contact with a woman. Then buy her a drink before going on your way, and leave it at that. The transaction is over, and she’ll be left thinking about you the rest of the night.
Buy a cup of coffee for the person in line behind you.
Displaying your masculinity at the bar or club or Sunday morning church service like a lion stalking a wounded herd of scattered sheep is never cool. This representation of the circle of life in the animal kingdom always ends in a bloody massacre, so take note: stay cool, calm, and collected when she walks into the room. Eye contact with a smile from across the way is often your green light to casually approach the situation, and make your introduction.
You are not your job or how you pay the bills. Upon introductions, ask someone what it is they “do,” really do with their life, and not how they put food on the table. Not only can this question change a person’s entire day, it will also tell you more about them than any question regarding their salary.
The cooler you are, the less of your phone I should see. This is not a green light for your wireless earpiece to be worn at all times. If your hands are not at 10 and 2 on a steering wheel while you’re closing a million dollar deal in Japan, then take it out, jerk. You’re not as cool as you think you are.
Don’t be afraid to make decisions, even if you’re not the authoritative type. Call the shot. Whether or not your gun is loaded, pull the trigger.
Stay cool by being creative on dates. Anything is better than going for drinks. Take her for a balloon ride, a hike, or bowling and forget to keep score. Play cards in the park, or even steal street signs if she’s the mischievous type.
Never lose your cool. This is very un-cool.
Throwing up is never cool unless you’re with the band.
Facebook is a public place. Stay cool by staying mysterious. Lose the inside jokes and status updates every 30 minutes. No one cares about what you are eating, where you are going, how cute that little dog was hanging out the window, how you take your coffee, or what you are wearing. And that picture from college of you with a funnel, standing on a keg, and your best friend, Pete, licking your face…untag yourself, brother.
Make your yes’s mean yes, and your no’s mean no.
Always speak with confidence no matter the subject matter.
Hang out with people cooler than you. This makes you cool by association.
Lose the baggy clothes unless you make millions performing gangster rap.
Popped collars are not cool. They were never cool. Unless you’re Dracula or an Elvis Impersonator, keep ‘em down. This look only works with your winter jacket. All other occasions: unacceptable.
Ask her out. It’s that simple. She’s been waiting for you to do it, I promise. There’s nothing cooler, or sexier, than a man who has the confidence to walk across the room and ask out a woman. And if she says no? Treat her exactly the same way you did thirty seconds ago before asking. Surprise. Your world didn’t stop and implode. The exhilaration of taking this risk is hard to top, no matter the results. Disclaimer: This is NOT permission to go asking out every woman in a thirty-mile radius like the world is going to end tomorrow. Very un-cool.
Am I cool? I own five shirts and one pair of boots, and wear the same jeans six days a week. My hair is too thick and I can’t grow enough facial hair to look rugged. I sometimes talk too much instead of listening too well, and I don’t have a six-pack. You’re damn right I am cool. Because it’s not about the way you look or the sound of your voice or your job, it’s your state of mind. It’s confidence in the man God created you to be.
“Nothing is original. Steal from anywhere that resonates with inspiration or fuels your imagination. Devour old films, new films, music, books, paintings, photographs, poems, dreams, random conversations, architecture, bridges, street signs, trees, clouds, bodies of water, light and shadows. Select only things to steal from that speak directly to your soul. If you do this, your work (and theft) will be authentic. Authenticity is invaluable; originality is non-existent. And don’t bother concealing your thievery - celebrate it if you feel like it. In any case, always remember what Jean-Luc Godard said: “It’s not where you take things from - it’s where you take them to.”—Jim Jarmusch