How to survive college

Note: I wrote this for my sixth year magazine while back. Later on, I’ll post the version a good friend of mine did, because I’m nice like that and she’s awesome and stuff.


So here you have it:

Ever since the prospect of college has dawned on my doorstep, I have asked many of my college friends and family for tips on how to survive it; what-to-do-and-what-not-to-do’s. I have compiled a list of ten quirky tips recommended by friends and family that I have found useful and yes, a little bit amusing:

  1. On the first day of college, make an effort in regards to how you look, but don’t overdo it. Fake tan, apparently, is not necessary.
  2. If some stranger randomly comes up to you and asks for your name or dorm room number, it is not necessary to immediately reach for the pepper spray. They might be lost, they might be the administrators, trying to locate you or relocate you. However, if they start to ask whether you have a boyfriend or not, you can start to worry.
  3. Meeting new people is a daunting process, so here are some tips I picked up over the years (from personal experience and other people’s experience)
  • The I-lost-my-earring move: Pick a pair of cheap studs to wear on the day. Drop one of them and start looking around for in frantically. Ask random people, ‘Have you seen my earring?’ and they’ll probably help you look for it. When found, you can start a conversation about how you hate to lose earrings. When not found, you can just go ‘Ah well.’ and talk about how you hate to lose earrings. BAM a friend for life.
  • The Where-Are-You-From move: Another classic conversation starter. Chances are, they probably have cousins or friends or distant uncle’s-friend’s-aunties-that-live-beside-so-and-so that you know, and vice versa. If not, the old ‘What’s there like?’ usually gets people talking.
  • The oh-my-god-she’s-crazy move: This is the one I usually use. Just go up to a randomer of choice (preferably, someone who looks as crazy as you do) and start talking about random things like Harry Potter and ice-cream. Usually, people embrace the madness and accept you, but if that doesn’t work, you can always find another randomer.


  1. Never judge a book by its cover. With book, I mean college books. With cover, I mean the Latin title and the author who has a ridiculous amount of doctorates. And with judge, I mean the 7000-page book that is not a novel. Without a single pictures. Chances are, you will only have to read the important sections of it.
  2. The worst place to get a job is a fast-food restaurant, like McDonalds or Burger King. They are tiring, frustrating (with all the snobby teenagers demanding more ketchup when they know it cost twenty cents apiece), and make you feel guilty without having eaten anything. Also, the temptation to Go Large with every meal…

    The best jobs are clothes shops or cinemas. I know with the current crisis, we can’t really be picky, but when you have a demanding course, you kind of need to prioritize.

  3. Make a money jar. Any change you get, put it in the jar. Just in case of a rainy day, or when you have this sudden craving for Chinese.
  4. Try to get into a routine whenever you get there. Go to the gym when you get home, go for a jog in the mornings, have a cookie every time Dr. Phil is on, buy a Ben & Jerry’s Cookie Dough every Saturday night… You would be surprised what some consistency in your life can do for you.
  5. When I say ‘Col-lege!’, you say ‘Par-tayyy!’ College life is basically about the parties, but don’t forget, you actually want to qualify in something. So don’t go out if you have an assignment or an exam the next day, and try and stick to the weekends. That’s what the college people are saying, not me. They also told me that it is practically impossible to go to class with a hangover.
  6. Have a good pair of shoes. If your college is a bit of a walk away, you don’t want to arrive there with blisters.
  7. I have talked to a good ten to fifteen people for tips, and they all said that coffee was going to be your new best friend, whether you liked it or not. Well, I don’t know about you, but I will never abandon tea. Ever.


And there you have it.

NOTE: all these tips are up for debate and can be easily proved wrong by those who don’t like tea.

Best of luck to all of you!

I’ll do a review of X-men: First Class tomorrow *squeals*.

Until then,

Rivanna xx


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