Advice Postgrad Me Would Give To Freshman Me


I’m not going to sit around and tell you guys that I’m some source of wisdom. Sure, I’ve figured out some things. But just when I feel like I’m in a place where everything makes sense, something will come crashing into my life to remind me that I don’t know dick about shit. One thing I do know for sure, though, is that I’m a hell of a lot smarter than I was at 18. 18-year-old me was a pretty smart kid in general, but for such a smart kid, he was a real dumbass. I’ve always thought it’d be awesome to go back and give him some quick tips on how not to be such a goon. Here’s a few of them.

1. College girls are not dragons.

It’s like anything that guys finally learn about girls in high school all goes out the window when they go to college. And why? Because it’s been ingrained in our minds for years that “college girls are so much different.” And since we had a few interactions with these magnificent creatures known as “college girls” while we were in high school, we assumed this to be true. What doesn’t make any sense, though, is that those girls AT MOST are three years older than you. The upperclassmen girls all think freshman are idiots, because you all are. So don’t be an idiot. So quit being such a pussy and go ask a girl out. Hell, take her to get coffee and put it on your meal plan. Your parents will literally be paying for you to go on a date. You will lose sleep later in life thinking about all the potential dates you missed out on your first couple of college years you spent playing too much guitar and video games, and putting actual effort into your classes.

2. Stop putting so much effort into your classes.

This is gonna be controversial, and definitely isn’t for everyone. If someone is already a slacker, they need to get their shit together. But you’re going to be trying entirely too hard your first two years, and it’s gonna mess with your social life. Here’s a dirty secret no one will tell you until it’s too late. Unless you’re planning on becoming a doctor, lawyer or astrophysicist, your GPA does not, and will never matter. Seriously. I know that you’ve been told by everyone that this magic number will be the key to your existence, but I spent some time working as a recruiter for a large corporation (yeah, don’t worry, it sucks). The point is, you know how many times I asked a candidate, or a hiring manager asked me what the candidate’s college GPA was? Goose egg, buddy. Zero. Companies don’t care. Focus on getting an impressive summer internship, and work connections. Meet people. Talk to your professor. Even if you’re not putting in the hardcore man hours that some of his top students are, he’s gonna like you more just because you reached out to him. And don’t be afraid to drink and skip some classes. Trust me, even the professors with attendance rules will find a way to work around them for you if you’re not a total twat about it.

3. Give a shit about who your friends are.

You’re gonna spend a lot of time around people who are “just ok” human beings. It could be because your good friends are friends with them, or you pledged with them, or they for some reason keep coming around, even though no one ever seems to invite them. You’ll tolerate these people for a long time, which is fine, no need to be an asshole. But don’t go out of your way to do favors for shitty people. Your friends are your friends, and everyone else is either a guest, or wants something from you.

4. Switch to whiskey.

By the way, if it wasn’t obvious already, you’re gonna get fat. Surprised? You shouldn’t be. You’re about to go from playing two different sports to having a meal plan in a cafeteria that provides literally unlimited food, which you will follow up with a very intense nap. Yeah, don’t worry, you’ll get your shit together eventually, but why let it happen in the first place? Beer is overrated. Drink it when you have to. Beer pong, bongs, and gongs etc, but hit the liquor otherwise. It’s more refined anyway.

I’m not sure “freshman me” would have listened to any of this advice. Which is fine. I still managed to have a pretty great time in spite of not knowing anything about what I was doing. Ultimately, I suspect that’s what the real magic of college is. It’s a bunch of young people very close in age, pretending that they aren’t nearly so close in age, none of whom have their lives figured out, but most of whom want everyone else to believe they have. It’s a big, fun, messy, sometimes scary, mostly ridiculous game of bullshit that we play for four years. And then we start another game that has just as much alcohol, but way less parties.

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Randall J. Knox

Randall J. Knox (known colloquially to his friends as "Knox") left his native Texas a few years ago, and moved to Los Angeles in his '03 Buick Regal named LeRoi to write movies with his jackass college buddies. His favorite things in life include bourbon that's above his pay grade, mix CDs, and Kevin Costner films. He isn't sure what "dad jeans" are exactly, but he knows he wants a pair.

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