COLUMN: Do not bother reading or following any lists – except for this one

By Katie O'Connell

I’ve finally become a sage senior, or at least, I’ve developed the ability to tell myself that.

See, the lessons you’ll learn in college are usually learned the hard way. There’s no rhyme or reason, but the fact of the matter is that at some point in time you will inevitably make a mistake that may or may not haunt you for the rest of your life.

It happens to the best of us.

Yet there are a few mistakes that can be easily avoided by reading my words of wisdom. How lucky you are that I’ve come along.

However, before I start my list, I feel that it’s important to note that I HAVE NOT committed all of these collegiate sins, particularly the ones that would make me unemployable.

10. Disregard lists of what you should do

Everybody knows what they’re supposed to do in college. You’re supposed to go to class, meet friends and become a productive member of society fit for a salary and a white picket fence in the suburbs. Not that writing a column about what to do it isn’t difficult – see my colleague Pat Wade’s column for an example – but let’s face it, you’re most likely going to do whatever you want to do anyway. Sure this might render my column pointless as well, but at least I can say I tried to warn you.

9. PDA

I get it, you came to college and met somebody you feel you really connect with. You’re happy in a way you never know you could be. Your entire soul feels like it’s floating on a Skittles-flavored rainbow and you just want to share your joy with the world. However, the world would prefer that you keep your joy to yourself, especially when it comes to keeping your tongue in your own mouth and your hands in your own pockets.

8. Pick-up lines

Yes, it did hurt when I fell from heaven. Thank you for asking. No, I do not believe in love at first sight, so I will definitely not walk past you again. And I’m glad I could be like a dictionary and bring meaning to your life, but really you’re just a creep so I’m not too sure this is going to work out between us. Next time try buying me a beer and telling me your name, you’d probably have better luck that way.

7. Facebook creep people’s digits

Face-stalking can be a thing of beauty. It can be a way of showing your friends that a funny bumper sticker reminds you of them. Pokes are like online cuddling. But calling somebody because you got their number on Facebook crosses the line of good taste, and the person on the receiving end senses what a nut case you are and knows that you’re lying when you said you got the number from a mutual friend. Just send them a Facebook message and carry on with your life.

6. Credit cards = the suck

Let’s face it, some of us just aren’t as fiscally intelligent as other. So if Darwin skipped over you in the money arena, don’t tempt fate by getting a credit card. Not to mention I’m pretty sure there’s no such thing as debtors’ prison anymore, which makes your monetary woes a lot less amusing to the rest of us.

5. Hygiene

Remember how nobody liked the smelly kid in elementary school? I mean, you always kind of felt bad for the kid because you knew he/she couldn’t help their pungent aroma. Every now and then your young heart would be filled with sadness looking at the smelly kid sitting on a teeter-totter with nobody to bounce them. Nevertheless, you still didn’t want to get a whiff of their body odor during lunch, so you never asked smelly kid to sit with you while nibbling on peanut butter and jelly.

It doesn’t change in college either.

4. Drinking ticket

You’re definitely not livin’ the high life when you owe the City of Champaign $300 for a night on the town. How you avoid this situation is up to you, but the cops never think it’s as funny as you do.

3. Mandatory freshman tattoo or piercing

My freshman year of college a group of almost a dozen of the girls on my floor all went out with the intent of piercing away high school and embracing our newfound freedom. Being the rebel that I am I got my ears and cartilage pierced, but all combined there were a couple of noses, tongues, belly buttons and even nipples that were left with metal through them. And the funny thing is that when we got back to the dorm, all of the girls looked the exact same as us. Gotta love independence.

2. Freshman bar behavior

It’s easy to spot somebody who is new to campus at a bar, particularly freshman girls. I understand that there’s a certain appeal to dressing up for a night on the town, but most likely you’ll end up looking like an extra on Springer, not Carrie from “Sex and the City,” when you wear scraps of clothing delicately draped across areas that require more coverage. The poles at Joe’s are in fact meant for people to mock you while you attempt to dance on them, and if there’s snow on the ground, wear a coat to the bar. It’s really that simple.

1. Don’t do meth.

Not even once.