The VICE Guide to Being Top Dog at College

Because bottom dogs end up at second tier law firms.

by Maddison Connaughton
11 July 2017, 3:43am

Image via Pexels

What if you were reading this article... in an email? Sign up to the VICE Australia newsletter

College. It's like university for people who wish high school could just stretch out for a couple more years, perhaps forever. Like the guys in Old School. In Australia though, college isn't the American fantasy of unlimited freedom to party, drink, and fuck without a thought for your job prospects and/or life expectancy. Sure, you'll probably end up doing body shots out of the belly button of a boy whose dad has raised more money for the Liberal Party than the entire mining industry. But that doesn't mean it's fun, per se.

College is basically a very, very expensive school camp. As much as you'd like to pretend you're "roughing it," there's always a safety net of adults cooking the meals, keeping you on track, and making sure nobody goes to jail for throwing the mascot of a rival college (e.g. a live goat) off the roof.

But don't for one second think living at college isn't brutal. College is a dog eat dog, goat throw goat world: kill or be killed, impress rich strangers or end up working at a second tier law firm. And, of course, if your parents have decided to make the $20,000+ a year "investment in your future" of sending you there, you want them to get their money's worth. What you need is a handy guide to outsmarting, outdrinking, and outfoxing your "peers." Unfortunately, here's the VICE guide to being top dog at college:

First Impressions Matter

Firm grip lads.

Think of move in day as the first day of the rest of your life. It's a chance to meet the people you'll be living with for the next three-to-nine years (depending on how long it takes you to get through your commerce degree (majoring in marketing)). Establishing dominance early is vital: don't waste time being nice to people. Come out swinging. Say "cunt" a lot, and wear a rugby jumper (you'll spend a lot of time wearing these over the next few years). Rugby jumpers come with the added bonus of giving off the impression that you're a team player, a good sport—someone who's capable of keeping awful secrets that would break a regular person.

That actually leads neatly into point two: move in day is the perfect time to introduce your "college persona." This is the heightened version of yourself you'll be living as during your years at college. And, sure, part of this is ensuring you get a good nickname—VICE is aware of one college resident who was called "Shitstain" for three years—but a college persona is also an investment in your long-term wellbeing. Inhabiting this distinct personality will help you compartmentalise and repress memories of all the horrible things you'll do to the scholarship kids over the next few years.

Getting to Know You Activities

You'll quickly find an inexplicable number of college initiation rituals centre around older students hitting, paddling, or throwing rotten fruit at nude bodies of the new arrivals. Luckily, you can purchase skin numbing cream in bulk on the internet. However, don't waste your money on anything "natural" or "aloe vera-based." What you want to do is invest in some medical grade lidocaine, and smear it over your entire body. Two layers and even when a former national under 16s tennis champion—renowned for their "absolute cannon of a serve"—is slapping you with their shower Havianas, you won't feel a thing.

Moderating Your Alcohol Intake

Cheers! Image via Pexels

Is just not an option. Beer bongs, Baileys bongs, Jagerbombs, shotgunning tinnies, Goon of Fortune, centurions, King's Cup, getting two litre bottles of Smirnoff gaffer taped onto your hands and not being able to leave the room until you finish both of them. College is a veritable Silicon Valley of binge drinking innovation. One former resident of Australia's "most exclusive" college did suggest to VICE that they'd often pour out their beer and fill the tinny up with water. But this seems very risky. We would instead suggest keeping up with college drinking culture simply requires an adjustment in your thinking. Don't let people tell you getting your stomach pumped is "seriously concerning." It's just a "medically-induced tactical vomit."

Personal Safety

Buy a padlock, lock your room from the inside, and stay in there until you graduate. Failing that, embracing the inevitable massive weight gain that comes with starting university can be a good strategy. Not only will a higher BMI make binge drinking night after night more manageable, it will also give you some extra heft to throw around during "college activities"—like when two college kids sprint full speed down a hallway holding exercise balls and smash into one another, sometimes known as "the sumo game."

Don't worry. If you're a guy, gaining a significant amount of weight won't impact your sex life at college. If you're female, do note that men will start referring to having sex with you as "harpooning a whale." But, you know, boys will be boys. And these are good lads, they are just having a laugh. Also, on an unrelated note, it's advisable to always drink from a sealed vessel (such as a sippy cup). These make it harder for someone to prank you by slipping so called "date rape drugs" into your drink. Ha ha, college.

Keep Your Friends Close (Keep the Children of Politicians and Business Leaders Closer)

Colleges are like stables for the wealthy elite's second most prized possession—their offspring. These are our future leaders: prime ministers, Rio Tinto executives, Sydney Morning Herald opinion columnists. College marketing materials will often say living at college is a chance to "make friends who'll last a lifetime." This is bullshit. You are there to amass an arsenal of depraved bonding experiences that you can use to blackmail your peers once they become powerful figures. Document everything.

Academic Performance aka "Your Bright Future"

Image via Flickr
Image via Flickr

In reality, whatever mental capacity you've got leftover a semester of perpetual hangovers and come downs is going to be used up either coming up with pranks, inventing new drinking games, or negotiating the intense House of Cards-level politics of college life. Unfortunately, colleges pride themselves on academic performance—and failing uni subjects is the best way to get yourself "asked to leave."

So how do you keep up that Distinction average you need to get a graduate position at PricewaterhouseCoopers? Well, there are two options. The first is Modafinil-fuelled weekend-long study binges. Pump out that 6,000-word essay about the Foucauldian undertones of the Drive soundtrack in record time. If you're gunning for an HD though, you'll need Ritalin. But that's easy enough—just let the kid with intense ADHD sit next to you a couple of times at dinner.

The other option is to pay the scholarship kids to do your assignments for you. Given you'll be throwing money at other people to solve problems for you for the rest of your life, you might as well get used it.

Follow Maddison on Instagram and Twitter