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A Conversation With My Collegiate Self

When I graduated from high school, I flew straight from the parental nest to college. I expected to learn all I could about archaeology, meet a hunky guy who would sweep me off my feet, and above all, have fun.

If I could reach back through time, I would have a long conversation with myself, starting with the basics, like learning how to balance a checkbook or dressing for Ohio winters. Then, I’d move on to heartier words of advice.

Just because you know his name, doesn’t mean you know him. You know that cute guy who smolders in your Romantic Literature class? He’s only talking to you about “The Law of Love” because he wants to get in your pants. It’s not because he finds the combination of Puccini and dramatic fiction to be compelling. So for the love of all things sacred and holy, know this and BE SMART.

Really? You decided to go on a date with Mr. Sensitive? You know he’s a douchebag, right? Christ on a pony.

Please use a condom. And birth control. You don’t know where that boy has dipped his tender wick, and you do not need to pick up whatever cooties he has. If you ignore this advice, and then feel like you have pop rocks in your panties, GO TO A DOCTOR. Get that shit cleared up.

Note to my younger self: This advice is the same if you are sleeping with a woman. Pubic pestilence does not discriminate based on gender.    

There were times, when I might have tried to drink my feelings when I was in college. Younger me, let me give you a few more words of wisdom. I know the pain that’s coming, and it’s not from the boy.

Do not drink from the trough of alcohol. The hairy buffalo may seem delicious, but you don’t know what is in there. It may be alcohol, but there could be roofies, or even worse, germs. Do you know how many people have put their cups into that booze? What if they have herpes? Or they are slobbery drinkers? For all you know there could be syphilis floating in there. Open your own drinks. You’ll save money on antibiotics.

Now that you’ve ignored my advice and drank more than you can handle…

Fresca and Chinese food will cure any hangover. The carbonation will settle your stomach and the grease from the Chinese food lubricates the system to carry all that alcohol out of you. You may end up pooping out your insides, but that’s a lot better than nursing a hangover. With a hangover, your head is stuffed with cotton, your eyes can barely open, you feel nauseous, tired, and your head spins when you close your eyes. So, which scenario sounds better to you? Right. Poop. There’s my smart college girl.

Now that you’ve worked that man out of your system, there’s something that can cure what ails you.

Get more than three hours of sleep. It may horrify you to hear, but you can leave a party early to catch a few well-needed winks. There will be another party the next day, and the day after that. I promise. There’s even a whole week of nonstop partying called Spring Break. Maybe you’ve heard of it. Who knows? You may even find that studying is more important than a fraternity party.

I laughed along with my younger self on that one.

You know what’s most important? Your girlfriends. These are the women who will hold your hair when you vomit, hug you when you’re heartbroken, and will be there for you long after you all have been given your diplomas. These women will be your backbone.

Stock up on aspirin, ramen, and condoms. That’s the holy trinity for college.

Major in something you love, but have a backup plan. Yes, spending four years with Degas or Jane Austen is mentally fulfilling, but it won’t bring you a paycheck when you graduate. Minor in something substantial, like basket weaving, so you can have a trade when that whole reading-books-for-a-living thing doesn’t pan out.

Finally, be secure in the knowledge that you’ll met a really hot guy, settle down, and pop out some exhausting, but wonderful, kids. It’s a wild ride, but well worth it.

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