Your first year of college is an amazing time of life. It’s a period of growth. It’s also a hard time, and a messy time. You’re trying to find your footing somewhere new, you’re trying to make new friends, find a good fit for yourself – you’re redefining many of the things that make you, “you.” It’s going to be awkward, sloppy, hilarious, exciting, and nerve wracking. And, thanks to new freedom, an abundant number of the single and willing partners, and the comfort of dorm rooms, it may be the first time in your life you have the freedom to explore your sexuality. No more awkward car handies for you!
That being said, here are some things to take in mind as you head off to campus this fall. I’m not going to tell you what to do…but I am going to suggest a few things NOT to do. Because that’s totally different, right?
Just for fun I am peppering this post with embarrassing photos of myself from my freshman year of college. All of these incriminating photos I managed to find on the Internet despite me naively thinking they were no longer available. Yet another thing NOT to do….
Don’t jump right into a relationship.
Pairing yourself off immediately narrows your window for meeting new people. I don’t just mean sexually. I mean you’re less likely to go to a social event and make new possible lifelong bffs when you could just be in your dorm bed boning your brand new boyfriend.
Okay also, yes I mean sexually (and romantically). You don’t know anyone very well yet, and jumping into exclusivity with someone automatically narrows your chances of getting to know others. Who knows what the best fit may be?
Don’t carry expectations.
I said don’t get into a relationship, but I didn’t say don’t have sex. Sex is probably going to happen. If you’re going to have casual sex, for the sake of everyone’s feelings, you need to try not to attach any expectation to it. Don’t expect it to be frivolous, and don’t expect it to be serious. Don’t expect anything. Enjoy it, and don’t overthink it. If it’s happening with the same person on the reg, have a clear (sober) discussion about it. In my experience, 2 am and 8 shots of Jager just don’t equate a clear discussion… Until you’ve talked it over, don’t expect it to go a certain way.
Don’t be afraid to ask for what you want.
Above I specified casual sex. If casual sex isn’t your thing, because you know or are learning that it’s hard for you to have sex without expectations, then be clear about it with potential partners. If you don’t want sex without the accompanying relationship, then don’t have sex until you can find the whole picture you’re looking for. You do you.
Often I think, especially when we are young, we just “go with it” because we don’t want to be rejected. We say we’re fine with casual sex when really we are totally strung out on someone, or we allow ourselves to be pushed into relationships because we feel bad saying we’re just in it for the sex. What we want changes from week to week, person to person. If you actually know what you want, then you’re way ahead of most of us. Congrats! Go ask for it.
Don’t go out without a Walk of Game kit.
I dislike the term “walk of shame.” There’s nothing shameful about it. Let’s call in the walk of game… Like ooooh, you got game. High fives from everyone! Okay, here are some things you should head out with before a night of debauchery/meeting up with that girl or guy from Intro to Lit who gives you the nervous sweats.
- Flats or flip flops. Walking home in your 5 inch heels is uncomfortable, especially with a raging hangover.
- Makeup removing wipes. Get outta me, racoon eyes.
- Cash. For cab far, for breakfast – whatever. Emergency cash is a must.
- Toothbrush. Those mini Wisp ones work.
- Your keys. Don’t go out with your roommate and only carry one set of keys between you both.
- CONDOMS. CONDOMS CONDOMS CONDOMS CONDOMS. Which brings me to…
Don’t forget the condoms.
For both men and women, this is important. Ladies, it doesn’t matter if you’re on the pill. The pill only prevents baby-making.
My SENIOR year of college I learned some of my roomies weren’t carrying condoms, and it often resulted in trips to CVS in the morning for Plan B. But Plan B doesn’t cure herpes, so carry condoms. (I made them a slideshow of all the possible STDs they could be getting from raw sex and that seemed to help.)
Girls don’t give me any of that “the guy should carry condoms” shit. And guys, don’t give me any of that “only ‘slutty’ girls carry condoms.” Sorry, no, only smart girls carry condoms. It doesn’t matter who brings the condom, as long as it makes its way onto the D before the D makes its way into the V.
Don’t knowingly sleep with asshats and expect them not to be asshats.
Every college has at least one group of people who are known to treat their sexual partners like shit. Sometimes it’s a really “slutty” sorority. (I dislike the term “slutty,” btw. I prefer “sexually open.”)
Stereotypically, it’s a group of guys–often frats or sports teams–who are rumored to treat women like conquests, take advantage of them and/or embarrass them. These groups often tend to be bizarrely good looking, and/or charming, and/or cultishly cool, so they still get all sorts of game despite their known asshattery.
If you accidentally sleep with an asshat, no one will hold it against you. If you know someone is shit to their partners, and you sleep with them anyway, well who can feel bad for you when you’re crying at brunch because the dude you slept with last night is eating with his girlfriend, or pretending he has no idea who you are. If you sleep with someone rumored to be an asshole, don’t expect them to not be an asshole.
Alright, here are more tips for surviving your freshman year, not sex related.
Don’t post your shit on social media.
Is this post not proof of that?
Make healthy choices.
The freshman 15 is not a myth, people. I am an exercise junkie and a relatively healthy eater, but I still gained 15 pounds my first 3 months of college, because I was drinking my weight in Burnett’s 4 or 5 nights a week. (Don’t judge me! They make like 30 flavors and they’re all 12 bucks a HANDLE.) Lots of booze means lots of calories, lack of sleep and a big hangover. Lack of sleep and a big hangover means less gym time and a craving for grease. I’m not saying don’t drink. Do it up right. But try not to do it more than 2 nights a week. This brings me to…
Learn how to enjoy social time without being drunk.
If you can learn now how to enjoy being social without drinking, you will be doing yourself a huge favor. It took me years to enjoy being up and out late, talking and meeting new people, without that buzz from a lil liquid courage. And it’s not just the courage—it’s the reaction people throw at you when you’re not drinking. “Can I get you a drink? Why aren’t you drinking? What’s wrong with you?” Even at 25, if I am out at a bar and choosing not to drink that night, I often get a soda water just so I don’t have to tell everyone I meet “I have to get up early tomorrow… I really want to get a run in and go to the farmer’s market…” Awkward foot shuffle.
Don’t fail out or get arrested.
I picked a roomie up from jail the night after my 21st birthday. It was a major buzz kill. Don’t do that.
Don’t skip (too many) classes.
Go hung over, go in last night’s clothes with your undies balled up in your purse, but just GO. Your tuition is worth more than the extra hour of sleep.
I originally wrote this post for ieatgrass.com.