Monday, September 20, 2010

Things I Didn't Expect To Learn In College

I was thinking about this the other day and started laughing at how naive I was at age 18.  And still am to a degree (OK, maybe a large degree) today.  College was great for me.  I hated my childhood and hometown and wanted to get the heck out of dodge.  For the record, I have come full circle and no longer hate my hometown.  I have even thought (a lot) about one day moving back.  It's a great city.  It's just so stinkin' humid and I look a wreck in humidity.  I'm vein, apparently. 

So I thought it might be fun to share a few of the things that I remember learning, unexpectedly, in college.

* 420.  So I was in a tutoring session my sophomore year when my tutor's watch alarm (no one brought a cell phone to college back then) went off.  I asked if she needed to go somewhere and she replied that it was just 4:20PM.  Huh?  My friend was in the session with me and she started laughing her ass off.  It was the first time I'd even heard that at 4:20PM every day, pot fans all smoke up.  Mind you, this was my super smart, younger than me tutor.  She probably makes zillions of dollars and excuses herself so her blackberry alarm doesn't go off in front of people today.

* Jeans and sneakers.  I owned one pair of jeans and didn't bring a pair of sneakers with me when I went to college.  And then called home a lot to ask for more jeans and sneakers to be sent to me.  I used to walk across the hall and ask a girlfriend to borrow a pair of her sneakers.  I don't think I had ever known a girl who owned several pairs of sneakers and wore them as fashion statements.  I also stopped ironing my jeans the first semester of freshman year.  Peer pressure.  Ha.  Better that than 420!

* It doesn't take that long.  My first roommate freshman year used to get midnight phone calls from an older guy in a fraternity.  She would get out of bed, throw on jeans, walk across campus by herself to his house, "visit" and come back an hour or so later.  When I commented on the speediness of her outings, her reply was (in a very snubbed nose at me way) "It doesn't take that long, KK!"  I moved out the next semester.  For other reasons but this is just a funny story. She was actually nice but we were just very different.  I still laugh today.  I believe she had a baby not long after this, by the way.  No comment.

* Beer for breakfast.  All day fraternity events that end in a party, start early in the morning.  But beer does not make a good breakfast.  In fact, it's gross.  But Absolut in any type of juice is a breakfast of champions when you are in college.  Of course, I had a half glass of wine at an open house yesterday afternoon and was tipsy for like two hours.  Times have changed, my friends.  Good thing!

* Until you are old enough to get into bars, your social life depends on whether or not you are "on the list" at fraternity parties.  Being named "sweetheart" makes you a rock star.

* Keg party + ice skating rink.  It involves all the danger, debauchery, hilarity and crazy memories that you would imagine.  And then some.  Chumbawamba's Tubthumper was our theme song that night.

* Same size.  It's best to have roommates who wear the same size clothing.  Even if you have different styles.  That way you can share.  My roommates and I always had different styles but we could mix and match pieces to make them work for us.  I miss having a double wardrobe some days.  And an in-house fashion consultant.

* Football attire.  My first game day at Georgia (I was a junior transfer student who had never lived a day in The South), my roommate and I wore shorts and cute polo shirts (she was a freshman from a small mostly Amish area in PA).  We went to my friend's fraternity pre-game party and immediately realized we were dressed ALL WRONG.  We couldn't get out of there fast enough to run up the hill to change.  Near disaster!  In the south, you dress up for football games.  In a dress, usually.  In team colors from head to toe.  Cute shoes.  Cute bag.  And ready to eat the most amazingly gourmet BBQ and bourbon spiked beverages!  I love it and feel so blessed that I had the chance to go to such a fabulous university!  For the record, we were properly dressed to the nines and fit right in by game time.  That's a mistake one only makes once.

* Call the DAWGS.  It is completely appropriate to call the Dawgs (or insert your team) and chant school cheers at any given moment.  Not just on game days.  Out the car window.  In bars.  In the mall.  Out to dinner when you run into a classmate.  In a grocery store.  In the dorms.  Or sorority house.  Or fraternity house.  Or at Grandma's house.  Or between classes.  Sort of like pearls, always appropriate.

* Keg parties.  It takes a very specific personality to throw a keg party.  And I do not have that personality.  Bestie and I decided in our senior year that we needed to throw one at our apartment.  A Christmas Keg.  We spent weeks planning, decorating, baking, making snacks.  We bought two kegs because we had no idea how many were needed.  I don't think we even finished one.  Gave the other one away the next day to some of my sorority sisters who were throwing a party because we didn't even really like beer.  A few hours into the party, when tons of strangers started showing up, we went into my bedroom and declared that we didn't like throwing a keg party and would never throw another one again.  We tried.  We failed.  We moved on.  And still laugh at ourselves today.  You have to try everything once, right?

* Dinner parties.  While we failed at the keg party attempt, we were super stars when it came to dinner and brunch and desert parties.  Much more our speed.  I made Bestie peel apples one time for an apple pie I was making.  It took her what seemed like hours to peel those apples.  But my secret was then (and still is today) that I detest peeling apples.  So I was fine with it taking her all day as long as I didn't have to do it.  We used to throw fabulous dinner parties on Friday nights before Gym Dawgs meets.  Yes, as in gymnastic.  It flippin' rocked!

* Paint pens.  College is the last time you can get away having everything you own decked out in paint pens.  I don't think I owned anything in college that wasn't paint pen-ified.  The older you get, the more ridiculous it looks to have everything covered in paint pen art.  I've replaced that habit with monograms.  Because you are never too old to monogram anything that will sit still long enough!

* Anything is possible.  Once you leave the security of school, you realize that there are lots of limits in life.  Some good, some bad, and some that just aren't up for discussion.  But in college, anything seems possible.  Bestie and I used to do the most amazing (insert laughter) workouts to this Elle McPherson video.  And decided that we could do better.  So we spent weeks planning our own workout video.  Her then boyfriend, now fab Hub, was going to film it (a dream come true for a college guy, I'm sure) and we bought all our outfits.  We had the locations all scouted and choreographed about 1/4 of the thing before we lost focus.  But back then, we really believed that we could make that happen.

* Some professors are lazy.  And give the same exact tests.  Year after year after year.  I found this shocking after studying from back tests to get a better idea of what I would be required to know.  Only to find out that the test I just studied from was identical to the test in front of me.

* How to can tomatoes in a champagne bottle during a war in Europe.  You know, should that ever come up in my lifetime! I had this Lit professor who was easily distracted.  He would get so off topic and give you full details on stuff not even remotely related to our studies.  But it was always historical.  I saved that notebook somewhere because it has the funniest notes. You wouldn't realize what you were writing was off topic until 20 minutes into his diatribe.  I loved that class.

* Parallel parking and driving in snow storms.  I grew up in South Florida.  Where you are not required to know how to parallel park.  One snowy night I asked my friend if she would take me to the drug store and she said I could instead just take the car myself.  I said, "OK but you should know I have never driven in snow and I don't know how to parallel park."  So a few friends hopped in the car with me and taught me how to parallel park during a snow storm at night.  You should know that I am an awesome parallel parker today.  If you can do it in a snow storm at night your first time, you can pretty much park a car anywhere!

So tell me, what did you unexpectedly learn in college?


nomo wino daph said...

I AM ROTFLOL at the 420!!! GWAD thats hilarious!!

I remember those paint pens.....mercy! What a blast from the past! Everything I owned had my name on it with the "balls/circles" at the tip of each letter!!! We even had a store named "Happy Names".....everything they sold they used those pens on and personalized it for ya! I still even have a pait of (((gasp))) boxers! Complete with ribbons and my name.....true that!

Hope your day is great!!

Gracie Beth said...

I am often guilty of having beer for breakfast.

mFw said...

Great list!!! I don't know what I've learned but I've learned plenty!!

Telia said...

PPC, this post is so great in SO many ways!! I just laughed and sneakered the entire time reading this (as I pictures myself, a freshman, learning the same things)!

I learned to ALWAYS KNOCK, even if it’s YOUR OWN dorm room.

I was super busy my first year of college. I was in a sorority, joined all kinds of clubs, and had very hard classes. So I was nearly NEVER in my dorm. Well….one day I just happened to forget something and had to trek back to my room. I had no idea when or how often my roommate was in the room, so I just inserted my key and opened the door. BIG MISTAKE! I cracked the door just enough to see naked bodies flying through the air!! (Our beds were raised and had bed skirts that met the floor so my roommate’s boyfriend jumped down to HIDE himself).

I was mortified!! Lesson…..LEARNED!!

Telia, NewlyWedWifeLife

Jamie said...

Oh how funny! Some of these brought back lots of memories :)

Jeannie said...

Love this post!!!

katie lake said...

I just laughed my way through this whole post! Love it!

Mandy said...

420... really? That is... interesting. I'm not a pot fan, obviously!

Your college experience sounds so American! Fraternities, keg parties, football. Time is going on but I stil hold a secret wish to move to the US and have my kids go to college just so I can see what it is all about!

Preppy Pink Crocodile said...

Emm- yes I think I had a very typical American college experience. I was not at all a wild child but I was not sitting in my room all day either. I had so many amazing new experiences and I loved every minute of it. And still maintained myself in it all- which I think these days is a pretty big accomplishment.

Momma said... thing I learned is that if I introduce my awesome roommate to my husband's best friend, they will inevitably wake me up one night "shaking" my top bunk. Seriously. We had a long talk about that the next day.

The other thing I learned is that if you marry your high school sweetheart when you are 19, you won't have to pay for college...because of financial aid! SWEET! I have a college degree and only paid for the 1st year!

Ruth said...

Great list! I was laughing at my desk this morning.
I didn't know about 4:20 until college either.

MCW said...


I will admit I will still have a beer for breakfast. Hair of the dog!

I learned that it really doesn't matter who your dates were for formals you really just wanted to hang out with your girlfriends!

Anonymous said...

I learned that flipflops are meant to be worn everywhere, especially with jeans. I learned that I do like greasy Chinese food and that fried eggs on a bagel are a fantastic food. I learned how to drive in mud and hang curtains with nails, a hammer, screws, or curtain rods. I love your list!

Dr. Blondie said...

Fabulous list, and so true!!

Pennsylvania Prep said...

Such a fun list! I learned in college that some of the best sleds are dining room trays, your roommate will always ear/drink the last of whatever it is your were planning on eating for dinner that night and Lifetime movie marathons in bed with your roomie are a 100% legitimate excuse on why you aren't going to class!

Piper Ellice said...

This is all too funny!! I'm experiencing/learning a lot of this right now. Though why people find it necessary to stand outside my window after a Wednesday night at the bar at 1:30 in the morning is something I'll never understand!!

KK said...

Snow will ruin your windshield wipers and how to get free drinks.


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