You’ve packed them up, drove them there, dropped them off, and now your college kid is ready to experience the best four years of their life, right? Hopefully, they will spend those fleeting years studying and living it up away from home, and enjoying all the amazing freedoms and personal growth opportunities that only ages 18 to 23 can provide. But between the keg parties, football games, and Greek socials, there are some potential life-altering moments I hope my college kid will experience during his time on campus — some great, some probably not so great, but all memorable and worthwhile stops on his life journey.
1. Take one totally epic road trip.
The kind where every meal comes from a gas station and sleeping is optional.
2. Take a class from a professor you 100% fundamentally disagree with.
And sit in the front row, listen intently, ask questions, and tolerate not bash.
3. Defend someone’s free speech, even if it goes against everything you believe in.
Can’t stand to hear what that liberal or conservative club has to say? Too bad. Grow up and defend their right to say it.
4. Play intramural sports.
Play as many as you can, because this is the last time you’ll ever have the time or energy to play co-ed softball at 11 p.m. at night.
5. Watch all the free foreign films they offer.
And theater performances, musical concerts, and any other live anything that is free. Trust me.
6. Go to all the free lectures from visiting famous people.
Take advantage of listening to all the brain power that comes visiting. No social media newsfeed can compare.
7. Eat nothing but Ramen and pizza for an entire semester.
And maybe french fries. It’s okay, because 11 p.m. softball burns a ton of calories.
8. Get dumped.
Royally, and by someone you really liked. It will humble you in a very beneficial way.
9. Talk someone who wants to quit college into sticking it out.
That kid down the hall who wants to go home? Do what you can to encourage him to stay. Be his friend and his cheerleader, because some kids never had one at home.
11. Invite someone to your home for the holidays who isn’t able to go to theirs.
That other kid down the hall who lives 3,000 miles away and can’t afford the trip home for Christmas? Bring him home with you.
12. Learn to make one very delicious meal that will impress the hell out of a date.
Your first apartment kitchen should include everything it takes to make a great roast chicken. And use real plates and wine glasses, not plastic stadium cups.
13. Get your car towed.
Two, three, or four times. Then realize you are not immune to the law, you silly special snowflake!
14. Party Like it’s 1999.
I’m not condoning blackouts, heavy/binge drinking, or one night stands — just a few unforgettable nights of partying.
15. Go to student government sessions and help lobby for a cause you believe in.
Guess who decides how to spend the millions of dollars in student activities fees? You. Really. So go participate.
15. Work on campus in an office filled with Ph.D.s.
Because they love to talk. And their conversational style will keep you on your toes, mentally.
16. Change your major a half dozen times.
Don’t have a clue what you want to do? Good. Keep looking.
17. Start a business with your fraternity brothers or roommates.
Any business (not that kind of business). Move junk, drive an Uber, paint houses. Earn money you made sweating.
18. Skip class.
And miss a pop quiz because of it. Then learn that skipping class is stupid because you’re paying for every single minute of instruction.
19. Lose a $200 textbook you paid for with your own money.
See how that works? Learn to manage your stuff better, okay?
20. Find out where all the free food is.
Everywhere, all the time, especially during the first few weeks of each semester and finals week.
21. Have so much damn fun you never want to leave.
Please do so, because life is hard, and adulting is even harder.
22. Be very ready to leave.
But please, eventually outgrow the college scene, and face the real world courageously and very ready to take it on (but without a hangover).