When it comes to what you need to learn in college, take some advice from Mark Twain: “I never let my schooling get in the way of my education.” It seems like a good motto to live by, especially as you lay there questioning if you’re going to that 10am class when it’s cold enough outside to freeze the balls off a polar bear. There’s a lot to learn in college, and not all of it comes from the barrage of information your professors will throw at you. Some of the things you’ll pick up in college might seem like they won’t be that useful, but one never knows when they need to assemble a makeshift hotplate instead of having a stove.
1. Learn how to fix a pong ball with a lighter. Buying six-packs of them gets expensive by your senior year, and you need that cash for your bar tabs.
2. When you go out, set your alarm before the pregame. That way, even if you black out, you can still wake up in the morning.
3. Master the art of writing a paper in less than 12 hours. It becomes really useful when you graduate and get something thrown at you last minute at work.
4. Opening beer bottles on any surface with a flat edge is a highly coveted skill, and a great way to win a few bar bets.
5. Assuming you’re doing undergrad right, you’ll need to learn to come up with clever reasons to miss class on short notice. If you tell your professor your grandma has died three different times, there will definitely be some suspicion. Keep it simple, keep it believable, and keep track of the excuses you’ve used.
6. Figure out your own personal hangover remedy early on. It will serve you well in the long run, because hangovers only get more intense after freshman year.
7. Always have an exit strategy, especially if the place you might need to exit is a party or a sorority house. It’ll save you from dealing with cops and angry house moms.
8. Learn to costume for themes like a champion. The guy who puts just the right amount of work into a costume is the guy who usually has the best night. Too much is weird. Not enough just shows a lack of interest.
9. Being able to credit card a door lock open will potentially save your life, or at least save you from sleeping on the couch or in the hallway.
10. Reading the whole book is great. Reading the highlights on wikipedia, a few critical essays, and a couple key passages will save you a few days and you’ll destroy everyone in your discussion.
11. When it comes to a pregame, beer is good, but boxed wine will get you hammered twice as fast and girls will actually drink it.
12. A good theme party is not made in the content of its costumes, but the quality of its decorations. Plus, it gives the pledges something else to do.
13. Though it might seem like you’re overdoing it, make your juice with Everclear. If you do it right, a whole bottle can make 3-4 batches of punch.
14. Speaking of, keep it simple for your punch recipe: cherry or lemonade drink mix, Sprite, alcohol, and water until it tastes good.
15. While a bunk bed might sound like a great idea, try drunkenly climbing into it to have sex. If you want to be sexually active in college, just say no to bunk beds.
16. I know it’s tempting to never clean your room, but keeping girls around is much easier when your room doesn’t look like and smell like something out of a horror movie.
17. Procrastination is only a bad thing if it doesn’t work for you.
18. Save your notes. The chapter will thank you later.
19. Clean your Sperrys. Everyone you ever associate with will be glad you did. If your shoes smell bad enough that the CDC should probably be involved, it’s a problem.
20. Pregame with the good stuff, go cheap at the bar.
21. Trash bags and duct tape are two of the most useful tools at your disposal for party set up.
22. Give the bartenders at your favorite bar a few 5-10 dollar tips throughout your first few years. By senior year, they should be sending free drinks your way, and they’ll be more likely to help you out if you piss off a bouncer.
23. Nailing a presentation is all about confidence, so taking a shot beforehand is never a bad idea.
24. Netflix can be nearly as good a wingman as an actual human being in the right circumstances.
25. Never be too proud to watch a Disney movie with a girl. You laugh, but it will get you laid.
26. Spring Breaks and Beach Weeks are essentially a college triathlon, prepare for them the same way. Hydrate, practice, and pace yourself.
27. “It’s better to ask forgiveness than ask permission” is a pretty good risk management policy.
28. Almost every chapter has a few Eagle Scouts. Get them to show the chapter all the relevant outdoor skills.
29. The best defense is a good “I’m sorry, was I doing something wrong officer?”
Everyone takes something different from their time at school, but that’s one of the best things about it. Master these and you’ll be well on the way to finishing out your four or five years at the front of the pack.