A lot of advice is passed around to college students, from choosing an institution to hiring essay writers. Parents love to waver between giving you hour-long lectures about how you need to “stay smart” and “be responsible” and telling you to “enjoy it!” and that it’ll be the “ride of your life.” On the other hand, your high school teachers warned you that all of your slacking, hooliganism, and class-clowning would have to stop in college and that you would need to “shape up.” But how true is all of this? And what are the real tricks of the trade to having a fun time in college without, like, actually getting killed in a freak partying accident? Keep reading for some essential college “pro tips.”

For as complicated as most adults make all of this seem, in our opinion, it’s really quite simple. There are only three things to keep in mind—(1) stay focused-ish, (2) stay skinny-ish and (3) stay sober-ish. The good news is that you don’t have to become a nun like your high school teachers and advisor recommended. But… as the saying goes, “All things in moderation, even moderation.” Staying focused enough not to get run over by the campus bus, staying skinny enough not to collapse on your way to class, and staying sober enough to at least know what year it is are three key ways to ensure your time is… well… some magically happy place between bland and life-threatening!

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The first item on the list, staying focused-ish, is maybe the hardest part. It can often seem like your campus is a theme park filled with young, sexy people, endless adventures, and totally unexplored terrain. Especially in the beginning, it can often be nearly impossible to settle in, find a rhythm, and actually do any work at all. Maybe the best pro tip for staying focused-ish is to always keep the long-term in mind. Oftentimes, a little “thought experiment” can help you when your focus is lagging. For example, if you’re in class and really—I mean really not feelin’ it—it might be helpful to imagine the following scenario. “Well… would I rather be here and bored off my a**, or would I rather be back home working at Sonic, scrounging for change to grab a coffee and running into all of my old friends’ parents in an endless loop?” Yeah… That sounds boring, doesn’t it? Sometimes all it takes is a little perspective to retain your focus-ish.

The second item is staying skinny-ish, Yes, I’m speaking directly to you, all of you unlimited dining plan recipients. Look… I get it. I really do. Especially if your parents were the “no junk food!” type and you had to sneak all of your goodies in with a duffle bag. But, as with everything, there’s a certain line you simply don’t wanna cross. Sure, there’s the infamous “freshmen 15,” but that’s, uh… that’s just the average weight gained. If you ask around tactfully enough, you just might find that there are more “freshmen 50s” out there than there are “freshman 5’s.” And no… they won’t teach you that in your statistics class. As with staying focused-ish, the best way to stay on track to staying skinny-ish is to put your imagination to use. When you’re feeling unbelievably tempted to grab a fourth brownie at the dining hall, just imagine… “Would I rather be able to walk into class and be able to comfortably sit down, even if I’m huffing and puffing and feel like I just ran the New York Marathon, or would I rather take the elevator down, make it out the dorm’s front door and then faceplant on the sidewalk and have to be airlifted to the intensive care unit for an emergency liposuction procedure?” The choice is yours!

For the final item on our list, staying sober-ish, your biggest motivation will probably be: avoiding unnecessary embarrassment that will literally never leave you as long as you live. Some things people simply don’t forget. And if you get so wasted one night that you wind up getting hogtied to the campus flagpole in your whitey tighties, that’s something that will be a deliciously endless source of laughter at your expense. That’s the kind of thing that might actually make the national news… That’s the kind of thing your five-year-old granddaughter would eventually ask you about… Yikes! Of course, some of you bold personalities aren’t particularly phased by this. “Who cares? It’ll be an adventure!” you might be thinking. Well… let’s try something a bit different, then. If you get wasted enough—I mean obscenely, graphically, really, really wasted—then you just might end up becoming really good buddies with the locals. And no, I don’t mean those cool people who work at the local coffee shop; I mean the local cops. Trust me, they’d really love to be your “friend.” Let your freshman year be the fresh start you’ve been waiting for, and, at the very least, stay sober-ish. Trust us!

And there we have it. Three pro tips on how to find that sweet spot between boring and getting tossed in the local slammer. No, your high school teachers and your grandparents weren’t exactly on the mark when they told you to be chaste, proper, and mind-numbingly bored. But… they weren’t completely off the mark either. As with anything, moderation is key. And, whenever you’re in doubt or feeling bogged down by all of the stuff that you’ve been warned about college, just keep in mind—focused-ish, skinny-ish, and sober-ish. That’s always a great start!

As college life unfolds, students embark on a transformative journey of growth. Balancing between the realms of engaging and enjoyable experiences, they discover the area of growth for students, embrace a growth mindset, and thrive in the fertile soil of education. It’s the perfect recipe for personal and academic blossoming.