Congratulations! You made it into your college of choice. Or, just ... your college. Regardless, there will be plenty of people telling you how to make the most of those four years so you can exit with a degree, multiple impressive internships, and a job offer in your back pocket.
That's not what I'm here to tell you.
College is a time to learn, absolutely. And you should make the most out of those four+ years. But you're going to want to learn about yourself, your fellow co-eds, your favorite liquor, and especially how to live on your own without mom or dad stepping in and fighting your battles.
The best way to accomplish these lofty goals? Go against the grain.
Here are the 5 mistakes you should make when you're in college:
1) Don't worry about your grades.
In high school you're conditioned to fret over your GPA, and you should. Just so you can get into college, where the worrying should stop and the learning should begin. If you show up to your class, pay attention and do the required reading -- you're soaking in knowledge. The key here is, of course, paying attention. Learning is about awareness. Cramming the night before exams just so you can get a good grade isn't teaching you jack. Don't do it. (If you're on scholarship or in danger of flunking out, please ignore this advice.)
2) Do skip class.
Sometimes, as Tom Cruise in Risky Business says, you've just gotta say, "What the f***." However, when you skip that 8:30 a.m. Freshmen Comp class, spend it with a great novel, or at a museum. This is the only time in your life when you have control over your schedule and you can luxuriously read every Paul Auster novel in a row. If that means you miss a lecture, so be it.
3) Don't join a fraternity or sorority.
Sure fraternity brothers and sorority sisters can be a source of "great contacts" once you're out in the real world. But so can the guy you worked with at the movie theater. Cultivate friendships that aren't pre-made for you, and look just like you. Expand your horizons, instead of keeping them safe, and under the same roof.
4) Do fall in love. Repeatedly.
College is the last opportunity you will have to be surrounded by people in your own age group on this scale. Sure there's online dating and the office staff. But real in-the-flesh, possibly inebriated hotness you can grab on to for the night, the semester, or what the heck, your entire freshman year? That's a rarity you should take full advantage of -- while using protection.
5) Don't go home for the holidays.
Even if your laundry is piling up, even if your mom is crying and your grandmother is preparing your favorite chess pie for Thanksgiving. Stick one (or eight) of those holiday breaks out with other solo students. Crashing on floors and creating your own adult holiday meal by yourself or with other loner friends is a perfect way to dip your toes into the loveliness of adulthood.
Image via Facebook
Going to baseball games
Riding bike rides in the nice weather
Playing outside after work/school
Going for walks outside