Congratulations! You've survived your first few weeks of college. From a teary departure on move-in day, to your first taste of vodka out of a plastic jug during welcome week, to your first use of "problematic" or "heteronormative" in class last week, you're a bona fide college student now!
But does it feel like something's missing? As you read this, are you eating dining hall lunch to-go, holed up in your dorm downloading a proxy so you can watch Black Mirror on UK Netflix?
Are you lonely? That's OK. I was lonely once, too. There's some good news and some bad news. The good news: the first few months of college are when you'll meet some of the worst people of your life and get a ton of karmic nonsense out of the way. The bad news, and I think you already know this: A lot of the friends you're making now will not be your friends for the long haul. They are comical blips on your timeline whose names you won't be able to match with their faces after they delete their Facebook accounts. Years from now, you will stumble across pictures of yourself with them and wonder who the hell these people were and what they meant to you. The answer will almost certainly be "not much."
That said, you're stuck in this hellhole away from home until December, so you might as well get acquainted with the people you'll be spending the next few months of your life with.
This person has an older brother/sister/cousin/stepmom who goes to or recently graduated from your school, so they already seemingly know the ropes. They know the clubs to join, the bar where the bouncer accepts fake IDs cause he was "super tight" with their brother/sister/cousin/stepmom, and the place to get "dank falafel" after a night of partying. But here's the thing about the early weeks of college (and, well, probably the rest of your life): leaders are not to be trusted. Confidence is great, but it's also something that people even less secure than you will hide behind. Just watch how this little shit's bravado-filled voice begins to tremble and crack when the bouncer snatches the ID he borrowed from his sister's boyfriend.
Your final interaction: Senior year, he's sneaking a beer into the library and snacking on a dry falafel, asking if you've already donated to the alumni fund and if you're coming to the reunion.
The First Love
You probably met on the Class of 2019 Facebook group. Maybe you're from nearby towns or, better yet, from as far away as two people could be. Now, I don't want to sound like an old man, but back in my day (approximately two years ago) we didn't do all this "sexting"—there was no Snapchat, you couldn't AirDrop your nudes to unsuspecting strangers. If you wanted to show someone your dick, you had to do it in person. And I encourage you, dear youths, to leave something to the imagination. Hell, maybe leave everything to the imagination. If you spent the last few weeks of August talking to John from Toronto over Facebook chat, there's a good chance you've dreamily mapped out your lives together.
But all of these fantasies will be shattered when you do finally meet—you're in the same required lit class, maybe even on purpose? You hear their voice, a hint more vocal fry than you imagined, reading at a suspiciously slow clip from The Illiad and you'll realize that something is not quite right. But you'll still both get tipsy and kiss at a party in front of people, and you'll think that this is the moment everything changes. Unfortunately, you can't go back to his place—he gets a text from his roommate that the room's already reserved. And your room is full of your roommate's bros going ham over some throwback Halo 2 SWAT matches and waterfall bong rips. Instead, you make out awkwardly in a dorm hallway then go home to take a long shower and reflect on that magical party kiss with your future beau. In the other room you hear someone bellow, "head shot!" but you know they meant "heart."
Your final interaction: The next morning, you remember a cute little debate you got into about bagels (NYC vs. Toronto) and text him a picture of B&H's storefront—"Breakfast?" He's already eaten, and you don't speak again for the rest of college. You eventually forget most details about this person (were they really from Toronto? Or is Montreal the bagel city up north?) until the year 2065. You're at the retirement home, scrolling through Facebook on your iRespirator and see a notification that says this person posted in the Class of 2019 group. Your heart flutters—you have trouble remembering almost everything past 2055—the excitement triggering a massive, fatal heart attack. The first love "Likes" the Facebook status your kids post on your wall about the funeral details.
The Dorm Weed Dealer
You can smell the weed and incense billowing out from their room the moment you get out of the elevator. You can hear him poorly freestyling with his friends over Danny Brown tracks a full floor away. He's harmless, but in five years you'll remember how much time you wasted humoring this bucket hat-wearing clown as he waxed poetic about that Berenst(E)ain Bears conspiracy theory just so he'd smoke you up before selling you an awfully light gram of "the dankest Cali kush" and feel a huge relief that you now use a delivery service for your drugs like a real adult.
Your final interaction: If we're being optimistic here, a dispensary opens up within driving distance and you never have to talk to this dude again. Realistically, you're gonna go pick up a $20 bag one time and accidentally kick over his triple-percolator bong, putting you $400 in the red. You'll awkwardly apologize, and realize that smoking weed kinda sucks.
There is a widely understood rule that if two or more people share a space—namely a dorm bedroom—for an extended period of time, one person's masturbation habits will grow to greatly affect the other. Let this serve as a reminder that it is NEVER OK to masturbate while someone else is in the same room as you unless you have explicit consent. It's also not OK to spend over 20 minutes in a bathroom shared by five people. Wait for times when you know your roommates will be gone (Physically gone. GONE. Not asleep. Jesus). This sucks a lot, but you should be saving your sexual energy for mistakes you make with people who actually opted to see your still-relatively-hairless genitals.
Your final interaction: You get caught the one time you decide to break your own rule and take a risk by going to town on yourself while unsure of your roommate's whereabouts. The two of you don't make much eye contact the rest of the semester but you're very polite (almost unbearably polite, the tension building up just like your need to masturbate) to one another.
The Person You Have History With
You may learn, with terror, that the guy or girl from your rival high school who you made out with at senior week is in your 8 AM French lecture, or your new best friend went to camp with that asshole who pissed on your parents' bed at the party you threw at your house that one time. Whatever the case, the world is very small, and while you may think college is a clean slate, the universe certainly does not. All you can do is keep your head held up high, say smart things in class, and if you end up at the same house party, let him get drunker than you before reminding the jerk about how his mommy made him replace your parent's duvet cover that he ruined in high school along with a hand-written apology note.
Your final interaction: A group dinner with a disaster check-splitting gone wrong. That bitch will unknowingly owe you $15 and you'll never let go of the grudge you've held for so long.
The Sexual Amnesiac
Known to some as a Friend with Benefits, the Sexual Amnesiac embodies a very particular, albeit sex positive, flavor of psychopathy. This is someone with whom you develop a definitely-flirtatious friendship with, do the deed, and continue being friends. Sounds simple enough, right? But it gets confusing when the Sexual Amnesiac tells you about their latest and greatest exploits—you are friends, after all—and you're kind of like, "Do they even remember that we hooked up?" And then you hook up again and there's always kind of a lingering air of "Oh, we shouldn't do this... we really shouldn't do this..." Whereas you know that, scientifically speaking, a mistake only causes half as much psychic damage each time you repeat it, so might as well go for broke, right?
Your final interaction: You outperform them in a threeway and, their confidence shot, they stop answering even your most platonic of texts.
The Fun Alcoholic
This person is either European or from New York/LA or both. Whatever the case, they actually drank in high school—like, they know what an Negroni is, they already have a fake ID, their parents send them wine, and they know how to roll a mean cigarette. As age sinks in, this will mean that they know when to stop, or how to hold their liquor, or generally how to maintain a maybe less-than-healthy-but-basically-normal alcohol habit without embarrassing themselves. But in those early months of college—and, hell, really all through college—this means knowing how to push yourself so that you're fun. Because, let's face it, 18-year-olds are lame, and the things you're doing in college are generally boring if you aren't drunk. Sorry!
Your final interaction: I dunno, this one might be a keeper.
The New York Kid
A cousin (perhaps literally) of The Fun Alcoholic, this guy (and I say "guy" because, regardless of their gender, this person is a guy) either grew up with or is the child of famous people, but he wants to make it (probably in his parent's field) without their help. (Except for their financial help. He'll totally take their financial help and probably live in some property they own after college.) He went to an elite private school, and he's tried lots of drugs. Being around this person will always make you feel like Brittany Murphy in Clueless ("You guys talk like grown ups."). But, if you play your cards right, you may get to go home with him for fall break and meet one of the kids from NYC Prep.
Your final interaction: The New York Kid will, undoubtedly, drop out to pursue "a directing project" sometime around your sophomore year. After you graduate and move to New York, you'll make several attempts to meet up, but his parent's penthouse is kind of far from Brooklyn.
The Cool Professor
Oh, right—I guess you also have to go to class at some point? Keep your eyes peeled for The Cool Professor. Depending on how cool they are, they might smoke with you on breaks or even throw a little shindig at the end of the semester with top shelf booze and stories about the time they did cocaine with Bret Easton Ellis. If you really play your cards right, this person could be a creative mentor and life-long ally. Or, you might get too drunk at that party, vomit in the bathroom, and never forgive yourself when you overhear the Professor tell his T.A. about your faux pas with a chuckle ("Definitely a freshman, that one!") as you wait outside his office clutching the hardcover book that took you hours to pick as an apology gift.
Your final interaction: You'll keep in touch with The Cool Professor, and maybe even take a few more of their classes. By your senior year, they take a position somewhere else. You're sad to see them go, and it's not until years later that you catch the little ways—your love of bourbon, the affected way you say "Walter Benjamin"—in which you've grown to emulate The Cool Professor. Shoot them an e-mail every couple years. I'm sure they'd love to hear from you.
There you have it! Here are the monsters who will haunt your (hopefully forgettable) first few months of college. I know the prospects may seem grim. But it's important to remember that four years is a long time, and it does get better. Just be sure to never ask what it is about you that might be attracting these undesirables and maybe start looking into affordable, off-campus housing for sophomore year.
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