You’re preparing to embark on a life without mom or dad, and visions of trashcan punch dance in your head. Whatever you believe college life will be, it’s not. These common issues will surely need to be dealt with at some point during your long-awaited post-secondary years. If you take heed of your boy scout/girl scout preparedness training, the pain will be minimal, and college may turn out to be the most formidable years of your life. Get a spiral notebook and take copious notes here. It just may save your learning career.

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Roommate Rumba If you’ve lived a sheltered life and mommy and daddy were at every play date to whisk you away from the mean child spraying silly string in everyone’s hair, then you’ve got some social work to do. Living with a complete stranger is not like talking to one of your closest 7,000 FB friends. Roommates live in your personal space, touch all your things, and eat your food. Alternatively, your roommate must deal with the new smells that come with roomies; namely you. Come to an early understanding with your new flat-mate and agree on items of importance to each of you: parties or not, computers are personal property – they are not pizza plates, and your clothes belongs to you alone, (daily showers can be negotiated). Learn the dance that roommates must choreograph together. If you have a younger sibling, you are already familiar with how to cohabitate with a Dungeness Crab.


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Class Pass You may be thinking this is a reference to the social status differences between you and the other human sleeping in the twin bed in your dorm room. No, I’m talking about the responsibility you bear to get to class on time every day. Use the alarm clock on your own smart phone to wake up every day. If you rely on someone else to make sure you are up and perky for 8:00 a.m. Anatomy 101, then you will be filing a withdrawal by October 1st. There is no pass for learning, and most professors will require your lively engagement during the dissection portion of class. Absorb the spirit of self-reliance while living with Wayne’s World What’s-His-Name, and go to class.


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Laundry Limbo Most dorms provide a washing machine or two. Use them. As you strip off your party/study/class/sports clothing throughout the day, be cognizant that mom is no longer there to swoop in and magically reconstitute those smelly, worn items into clean, folded, and wearable articles. You must gather unclean clothes from underneath beds, dark corners of your closet, and backpacks. Schlepp down to the cavernous basement with laundry detergent and sparkle those togs back into presentable shape. To save yourself massive grief, do not use HOT to wash anything. Your Miss Me’s will thank you,


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Proper Tools When planning for your semester of learning life’s deepest secrets through the miracles of osmosis, make certain that you have the proper tools. Items at the top of this list include: laptop, pen, paper, and Red Solo Cups accompanied by ping pong balls. If you missed my Manic Monday Back to School Tool Rules, check out their proper use here.


Go forth young man and young woman, and grab that brass ring. College is the cherry on top of your life’s foundation. Use this time wisely, make lifelong memories, and for heaven’s sake – don’t be that roommate that elicits disastrous memories by those attending University with you. Think more Ethan Hawke in Dead Poet’s Society (“Oh Captain, my captain…”) rather than Will Ferrell in Old School.


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