Dear high school student: Unless your science fair project was a flux capacitor, it’s unlikely you will be visited anytime soon by a Future Version of You, offering sage advice and grave warnings as you prepare for university.
That’s why I used Twitter to marshal the collective wisdom and regret of those who’ve survived higher education. I asked, “In a single tweet, what piece of advice do you wish you could give your former self as he/she begins university?” The tweeted guidance of your elders is below in bold. A compilation of all the advice can be found at macleans.ca/feschuk. Let’s get started.
Don’t be afraid of subjects you know nothing about. Those will be the most interesting classes.—@hellokaitlin
OK, but make sure you know something about the subject by mid-terms. In first year, I quickly realized my economics prof was lecturing directly out of the textbook. Cue the moment of insight: I can stop going to class and read the text myself! This was the PERFECT PLAN except for not ever doing the second part. To this day, I believe the x- and y-axis of the Laffer curve show the relationship between Jim Carrey and fart sounds.
Get involved with campus orgs.—@beisan
I assume that by “orgs” he means “organizations,” not “orgies,” although honestly the key point either way is to really commit. Maybe your organization needs a treasurer. Heck, maybe your orgy needs a treasurer. Those bathrobes and votive candles aren’t going to pay for themselves.
Don’t go clubbing till 3 a.m. the night before your poetry exam.—@Glendenning_L
Wait, poetry has an exam? How does that work exactly? Q: Write one (1) limerick that rhymes a sex act with a geographic location.
Get the &*%!# out of bed!—@huppohead
A lot of the tweeted advice concerned personal responsibility and, you know, maybe having some. I remember it dawning on me during Frosh Week: I can literally do whatever I want. As dawnings go, this one didn’t pan out so great. I ate and drank too much. I stayed up too late. I’m pretty sure I learned how to play Borden ball. It was a dark time. Not a word of a lie, I skipped my final exam in finite math because I was playing for the championship of our floor’s computer baseball league. In retrospect, I can see the error of my ways: I should have dropped math way earlier. It would have given me time to learn how to hit a slider. Anyway, I guess the takeaway here in terms of practical advice for you is: swing a little lower in the strike zone.
The Century Club is never as good an idea as you think it will be.—@ErinOHaraMeyers
Actually, no one thinks drinking 100 shots of beer in 100 minutes is a good idea. It’s a terrible idea and that’s the point. As a university student, you will find yourself mysteriously drawn to terrible ideas, much as monarch butterflies are drawn to Mexico and Taylor Swift is drawn to douchebags. One day you’re a perfectly reasonable high school student with good grades and a part-time job. The next, you’re doing something insane like binge-drinking Southern Comfort from a funnel or preparing to seek employment in the brutally competitive 21st-century world by studying fine arts. The best you can do is to try to be responsible about your irresponsibility.
Live at least a year in residence. You will learn so much.—@marisagettas
At Western, my roommate and I dumped 20 bags of sand onto our dorm-room floor to create suitable conditions for Beach Party Winter Drunk Fest 1986. Months later we were still finding sand in our carpet, bedsheets and keyboards. What did we learn? That it was totally worth it.
1. Have fun. 2. Ask yourself whether you want people knowing about this fun in 10 years. 3. Disable camera from phone. —@Will__Murray
Listen up, kids: I’m “with it.” I’m on “the Instagram.” I “get” that you like to let your friends know where you are and that sunsets look pretty there, too. But you are entering an environment characterized by excess and poor decision-making. Ix-nay on the Acebook-fay! If the antics of my youth were documented, 85 per cent of my friends would be unemployable, and that’s just from one party that featured an epic game of quarters and the question: “Hey, who wants to play Twister?”
Follow Scott Feschuk on Twitter @scottfeschuk