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How To Reinvent Yourself During Your First Week at College

Hello new college students! You're 17 or 18. You're a Cracked fan. You shouldn't be, we use a lot of adult language here, but I guess that's in the past now. You're an adult now, except for the legal drinking, and car rental privileges, and also understanding anything about how the world actually works. Really, you won't be much of an adult until you've known serious disappointment. Man, I can't wait to see the looks on you little shits' faces when you learn about things like payroll deductions and malaise and sweaters.

"Man, sweater vests." -sigh-

But that's in the future! And you're all about the now these days, particularly the now of just killing it at your new school. I'm sure by now you're sick of hearing advice about how to survive your first week away at college. How to get along with your roommate, how to find classes on the first day, how to get a library card. People love giving advice to new college kids; step outside your dorm room, and see how long it takes for someone to hand you a pamphlet on the dangers of premarital drinking. None of this advice is bad, but it's all pretty basic. And little of it tells you what life is actually going to be like from now on. Or, more importantly, how to make that life better. That's why you're here, listening to me (you may also be procrastinating, and have simply read everything else on the Internet). I've done university, I got a couple degrees and I've even hung around campus for years after graduation, just leering and leering and learning. I'm a self-proclaimed expert on college life, which, due to a lack of standardizing bodies, is the only and best kind. I know what you need to know, and in the situations where I don't, I'll use larger words, making it harder for you to tell. I decided that the best way to share my wisdom was in the form of a case study. After a quick survey, I found one of our forum members, Mike_Hambastard (probably not his real name) who is attending school for the first time this fall. I invite you to read a transcription of our conversation below, in which I drop the fruits of my brain-loins all over this young scholar. ____________________ Cracked: Hi Mike Mike_Hambastard: Hi! Hey, wow, thanks for picking me. C: It's no problem. MH: It's just that there was so many of us who responded to your casting call. C: Well, we liked your moxie. MH: Like how you told us to submit a photograph of us burning a 20 dollar bill? C: Exactly. No one else did that. Why would anyone do that? Why would anyone even ask that? Big questions Mike. No answers. That's your first college tip Mike, ask questions with no answers. Makes you look smart. MH: Awesome! C: Wrong. You should have said, "Is it awesome?" MH: Sorry. C: Incorrect. "I'm sorry. Or am I?" is what we were looking for. MH: This is ... tough? C: Nope, it's actually quite easy Mike. Are you having trouble keeping up? MH: I'm feeling kind of confused and a little annoyed, actually. C: And now we're having a Cracked interview. OK, let's get started. So the first thing you need to understand about college is how to reinvent yourself. MH: I need to be different? C: You don't need to be different. But you probably will be. And you'll probably want to be. MH: Why? C: You're at a unique stage in life. Until now you've had parents and teachers and the courts protect you from all of your bad decisions. A lot of what you are now is what they've made you to be. But from now on, you'll be who you make yourself to be. MH: Can I be a ninja? C: No. Come on Mike, let's be serious here. And a ninja leads an awful life, surrounded by sharp things and treachery. It's a desperate, hunted existence. You don't want to be a ninja. MH: I guess not. C: That's why you don't see them any more. They all killed each other. MH: All of them at once? C: The last ones died simultaneously, Reservoir Dogs style.

It was after a disagreement about tipping etiquette.

MH: Oh. OK, who should I be then? C: Whatever you want. MH: I don't know what I want to be. C: That's normal, and even ideal. You'll see a lot of kids your age working through this, experimenting with being skaters or stoners or girls gone wild or whatever. You don't have to pick anything right now, and really, you're probably ill-equipped to do so. Really ill-equipped. I'll give you an example. In my first year at college I became the guy who collected all the swords. MH: How did that happen? C: I walked by one of those sword shops and thought, "Why not me?" MH: So I should be the guy who collects swords? C: You can't be that guy any more. No one can. They don't let you have swords in dorm rooms now, I'm guessing because of the things that happened in my first year at college. MH: Oh. C: I went through three roommates. MH: Oh. C: Not "went through" went through. Not with all three anyways. Two of them just moved out; they were fine. MH: Oh. C: Not "fine" fine. They were pretty messed up mentally. MH: I'll admit to being a little concerned with the roommate thing too. More so now, in fact. C: The whole roommate thing is regrettable. Let's say that you're maybe trying to be a Proust-reading cigarette enthusiast, and you've got some guy trying to be a varsity volleyball player sleeping eight feet away from you. It's just not going to work out. These semi-random assignments can vary between being "awkward but basically acceptable" to "sworded assault." My only recommendations are to try not to antagonize him too much, and don't leave anything around worth stealing. Also, masturbate discretely. MH: Quiet wanking, got it. C: No, that's "discreet" masturbation. "Discrete" masturbation means "separately" or "individually." MH: So.... C: Unassisted wanking. MH: You know, I feel like the more you explain to me, the less I know. C: Can't see the forest for the masturbating trees, hey? All right. So the reason we don't want you being a ninja or an edged-weapon wielding co-stroker, is that those are poorly chosen, immature self-realizations. As you try to figure out who the new you is, you need to start small. MH: Like how? C: Just be yourself, only cooler. MH: How do I do that? C: Get a better haircut. MH: What's wrong with my haircut? C: When was the last time you changed your hairstyle? MH: I don't know. Like three or four years ago, I guess. C: You should probably do something about that. Look, I'll tell you a story. MH: Uh oh. C: For a long time, the only haircut worth having was the Zack Morris.

C: And in fact, I had this haircut up until about 2003, which it turns out was about 10 years later than I should have. This didn't really do much for my social life, and may have explained why I was spending so much time hanging around sword shops, chatting with Sword Gord. MH: That's awful. C: No, that was just an honest mistake. What was awful was switching to the Rachel.

MH: Holy shit. C: It turned out that that style had also gone out of fashion by that point, and was also, problematically, mainly a cut for women. So when choosing your haircut, don't read an article in a six-year old Newsweek about a haircut and then ask for it sight unseen. MH: I'm still not too sure why I need a new haircut anyways. C: Because you're out in the real world now, trying to convince it to love you, and give you jobs, and, even possibly to give you love-jobs. So you'd do well to start paying attention to how the real world acts and behaves and grooms its hair.

C: And how you do that is by looking at the people around you. Find someone who looks like they know what they're doing. Someone draped in girls, or with a cool looking dog. Then, take their haircut. Don't actually "take it" take it. Scalping isn't cool, not currently at least. (Note to readers in the distant future that this may no longer apply - please consult your local Cracked authorities.) MH: Better hair. Got it. C: Right. Just keep an eye on the people around you, figure out what's cool, and be that. Apply the same advice to clothes and shoes and neck tattoos. MH: Did you get a Rachel neck tattoo too? C: No.

A lot of mistakes led to the neck tattoo, although I was later able to afford getting the "Free Chandler" subtitle removed, allowing me to claim the rest was just an unfortunate birthmark.

MH: All right, so I'm now a cool looking version of myself. This means I'm getting laid all the time now, right? C: The exact definition of "all the time" will vary significantly, but in general, yes, it is a general rule that men with men's haircuts will get more sex than with other types. MH: And I'm meeting these girls at parties and keggers and such. C: Yes! But on that subject, do you actually know how to party? MH: I think so. I mean I've had a few beers. C: That's not what I asked, but sure: alcohol makes you feel cooler than you are, which is a big part of looking cooler than you are, which is the first of three steps to meeting women. MH: And the other two ste... C: Conversation, and Boasts. MH: I see. C: Drinking helps with both of those as well, to a point. That point is ever-shifting, and situated on a very slippery gradient, but mapping it out is a big part of growing up, so you know, have fun with it. Just remember to not drive, or perform surgery, or talk to people on the bus - sober bus people hate drunk bus people. MH: Got it. And do people actually go to school at college? C: They do. And it is important, if only because of the cost. But if you've made it in to college, you should have a handle on how to make it through to the other side. Textbooks, index cards, Dewey decimals, naughty librarians; all that's important. But there's really only one trick you need to know for the school bit. MH: What's that? C: Care. Just give a damn about school. Care enough to do the homework, care enough to go to class. MH: That sounds simple. C: You'd think. But after a night of drinks and boasts, it won't seem so simple. You'll maybe miss a class. "I'll just read the textbook later tonight to catch up," you'll say, telling yourself you learn better from the text anyways, stacking lies upon lies. And then the next class comes around, and you sit there like a monkey, watching the humans signing words that you don't understand, growing frustrated and desperately wanting a banana. And then another night of boasts comes and goes, and you miss another class - deliberately this time, because you can't keep up - and you promise yourself, "but this time I'll really catch up." You'd be surprised at the number of lies you can tell yourself about why you shouldn't go to class. MH: So drink to excess because it's fun, but not so much that you can't make class the next day? C: There's a certain pride you can take in forcing yourself to go to class when you're wrecked. If you ever come across any actual challenges, having the basis of a spine already in place may come in handy. MH: So, just to wrap everything up: I'm not a ninja, don't have any swords, masturbate alone... C: Also best to do that without the swords. MH: Right. And I've got a new men's haircut, a neck tattoo as current fashion dictates, I drink as necessary, and attend class. C: If you get all that right, I guarantee you'll be several steps ahead of your peers, and all those steps ahead of me at your age. MH: Of course. Any final words of advice? C: Do more things that are actually fun, and not just killing-time fun. MH: What do you mean? C: Play less video games. And throw more snakes at things.

"HOOOOOOOOLLLLLLYYYYY SHIIIIIIIIIIIIT! SNAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAKE! SNAAAAAAAAAAAAAAKE!"

MH: What? C: There is no chance that anyone will ever be pathetic enough to look back on their youth and think: "I'm glad I played all that Call of Duty. That was time well spent. Man, I can't believe how many promotions I've earned and astronaut wives I've married thanks to the hundreds of claymore kills I got in CoD." MH: I can see that. But the snake bit? C: "Throwing snakes at things," is a metaphor for doing something unexpected or memorable; especially something outside your comfort zone.

Throwing a snake is also, not coincidentally, an excellent way to "throw the snake."

MH: I see. C: "Holy shit, I can't believe I threw that snake at that thing!" you'll say to your grandchildren one day. You'll get told off by your daughter-in-law for swearing, and because she's kind of shrewish. But that will be fine, because you're old and you've thrown some snakes - nothing she says can touch you. Do you see what I'm saying? MH: I think so. C: No you don't. But you will when you throw a snake. Or if someone throws a snake at you. It works both ways. And that's the last bit of advice: Hang out with the snake-throwers. That's where life is happening. MH: Yeah? C: Some death happening too. Not gonna lie. I mean, fuck, right? They are snakes. _____________________ Check out more articles that your teachers would probably prefer you didn't read at out Back to School Hub.

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