People will tell you that your high school years are the best of your life. Whether that's true or not depends on your aptitude for sports, for how many years you wore braces, and whether you got through the worst of it unscathed. For those of us who spent most of our high school years looking forward to the promise of college (and the fresh start that comes with it), the realities of post-high school student life can come as quite a shock.
Over the years, you do get used to college life: The bad food, the late nights, the stress of academic finals, the equally stressful beer pong finals, good professors, terrible professors, lack of sleep, and (of course) the anxiety of student loan debt. Fortunately, there are thousands of people out there who share your pain. Because they're just like you, they too have discovered that their talents for procrastination have an online home: on Tumblr. As always, they excel at pointing out the hilarious truths of college life - just so that you know you're not alone.
15 Finals week = pit of despair
You know it's coming from the first day of the semester. And yet, you're never really prepared for it - forewarned is definitely not forearmed when it comes to finals. Anyone who isn't a caffeine addict at any other point in the year suddenly discovers the exceptional healing properties of coffee at 3 am. It's also the only time of year where it's accepted (and expected) that you forget how to dress, or speak in full sentences. And, in the rush of finals cramming, if you don't bother to wash, brush, or style your hair, no one is going to judge you. It's also that time of year where you promise you'll never let yourself get so behind again, and that next time, you'll prepare weeks in advance (which we all know you don't really mean!).
14 New friends. With PhDs!
Even the friendliest high school teachers are teachers. It doesn't matter how old you are, you never stop seeing them that way. It's awkward to even imagine using their first names. Some college professors are also like that. But because the age gap is smaller and because you're both (mostly) adults, the playing field is much more level. If you continue on to do your graduate studies, they might even end up being your peers. It's one of the things you can look forward to about college life - if you're really lucky, you'll find yourself in intellectually stimulating college classes taught by people that you can actually relate to. You might even like them. And while you're busy freaking out about finals, they'll be freaking out about marking them.
13 When all else fails, make fatalist jokes
Everyone has that moment at least once a semester. During exam periods, you'll have at least one of them a day. It's that moment where you question your decision to enroll in college to begin with. A moment of questioning your sanity. It's normally right before the 'screw it all' moment where you decide you've done all you can to prepare for an assignment, exam, or paper and deserve a five hour Tumblr binge. If there's one thing college students do better than procrastination, it's exaggeration. But in those fatalist moments, at least you can be sure you'll always find someone online who feels as miserable as you do. The cure for that feeling is always caffeine, junk food, and a flurry of Tumblr reblogging.
12 A whole other level of broke
There's a reason students are obsessed with Ramen noodles and microwave pizza: because our pockets are emptier than a beer pong table at a frat party. According to the Daily Californian, the average packet or Ramen costs only 13 cents, which means, you could eat three meals a day for an entire year for just $142.65. Considering that an average American spends over $6000 on food a year, a ramen-only diet would reduce costs to about three-percent of the average. That's not taking into account the gourmet ramen being served these days, like the $110 Five-Taste Blend Imperial Noodles in Tokyo or the $180 gold-flecked ramen at Koa in New York. Neither of which are affordable on a student budget. Or ever, for that matter.
11 When in doubt, procrastinate some more
There are two kinds of procrastination: The 'I spent twelve hours on Tumblr and binge-watched all 12 seasons of Supernatural' kind, and the 'I spent twelve hours making timetables and categorizing them by color, dislike, and difficulty' kind. The former makes you feel guilty. The latter makes you feel like you've accomplished something (AKA living in denial). It helps if you're obsessed with school supplies, which most professional procrastinators are. Because everyone knows that the more pens, pencils, and post-its you own, the better your finals results will be. For best results, mix both kinds of procrastination until you find the perfect blend of self-loathing needed to fully achieve #collegelife.
10 There's always more to do... later
You arrive at college and you can pick one: 12 chapters of reading, 12 hours of studying for a test, or 12 days of all-nighters for an assignment. JK! This is college! You have no choices! Do them all! By tomorrow!
Or sit on Tumblr for (just) another 12 minutes like the rest of us. Forget about all the rad dudes on motorbikes, awesome surfers on waves and crazy-cool extreme humans jumping off cliffs... energy drinks were invented for the real badasses of the world: College students prepping for a life of peer review stress, dissertation panic, and student debt. Because you're not Thor. But you can be Chris Hemsworth. JK! You're the car on fire in the background. Welcome to college.
9 Binge everything!
So you're off to college. Think you're going to learn amazing things that will shape your intellect and open your mind to all the wonders of the world? Maybe. (Hopefully, because the world needs you.) What you're definitely going to learn is the meaning of the verb 'to binge.' While you were in high school, you had pesky things like a Mom-unit to nag you off your couch. But now it's just you and hundreds of others just like you. Which means you'll have to nag yourself out of binge watching every TV show that's ever existed, binge-eating every Pop Tart on the planet, and binge-drinking
cheap beer Starbucks. Isn't it amazing how nothing ever satisfies your appetite when you're stress-eating? Have another Pop Tart!
8 Remember when you could sleep through class?
There's a thing called First-Year Syndrome. Aside from a sudden urge to eat all the Chipotle in the world, it's that thing that happens after the first three months of the college year where freshmen work out exactly how many classes they can miss before they get kicked out and start, you know... missing them. Until they realize that - along with their love of beer pong - everything in college grows exponentially. Including the difficulty level of work they're going to be examined on. If you're clever (or read TheThings.com) you'll realize it before the exam paper is handed out and work as hard as you can to keep up. No need to worry if not... beer pong is a professional sport these days.
If you were to base your expectations of college life on what you see in (bad comedy - not including Legally Blonde) movies, you'd think it was all party all the time. And sometimes it will be. Actually, the point of college life is that you can decide what you want it to be. So if the party life is what you want, you can live it all you want. But that will make it really difficult to do well in classes or, you know, pass. So at some stage, you'll have to choose the quiet life over that kegger. It's not all bad though... some of your best evenings will be spent on study break watching The Americans while eating noodles before passing out on the couch. You'll even be proud of your new hobbies and, once you hit hangovers-last-a-week age, you'll actually choose them over #partylife.
6 Survival of the fittest
When people tell you that you'll be able to achieve anything you put your mind to at college, they're not lying. What they don't tell you is how little sleep you'll get while doing it. They also won't tell you how you'll evolve into a sleep deprived caffeine addict... and still survive. That's the beauty of college: Old enough to do what you want. Young enough to survive it. All-nighters will be nothing to you. You'll even learn how to look good while pulling them. Because you'll watch a million makeup tutorials at 3 am in the morning when you should be doing that assignment. You know, the one you're not doing now.
5 The only good exam is no exam
Finals week feels like it might kill you. But we have some tips to help you survive: First... an all nighter is the worst thing you can do. Even if it feels necessary, your brain retains far less information when it's tired. Which means all those extra hours of studying are effectively useless. (Yay?) Exercise helps too. It doesn't have to be a long session - it only needs to be 15 to 20 minutes long... but picking up the remote control doesn't count. Nor does crying inconsolably. Most importantly - don't talk yourself down: You're as good as you tell yourself you are. When in doubt remember: Thousands of less smart, less prepared people have done this before you. And passed.
4 Inspiration level: Expert
Sometimes the only comfort is cold comfort. Plus, if you can't laugh at your situation... you'll end up curled up in a corner in a re-enactment of "Burrito: The Human Edition." It's not entirely true though. Some statistics to get you through your degree with some level of positivity: 37% of companies say they hire college graduates for positions that in the past were mostly held by people with only high school degrees. Despite everything else - including rising student debt levels - this is the best job market for college grads in years. In 2017, companies are expected to hire 5% more college graduates than they did in 2016. If that's the case... what are you doing online?! Go study.
3 Cat GIFs? More like GIFts! #amirite?!
So you've watched every show on Netflix, Hulu and all those free TV websites you don't know about. You've also done exercise for the first time this year and reblogged every Supernatural, SuperWhoLock and Harry Potter post on Tumblr, and read through every article on theThings.com. You're officially an expert-level procrastinator. What's next? Cats. There's no rabbit hole you could possibly fall down that you'll enjoy more. Do the right thing and make sure to share them with every single one of your friends currently making you look bad by actually studying.
2 Even insanity looks better than finals week
There's a thing that happens to all students after they've spent too much time studying - they lose their minds. Or, at least, they feel like they have. It's difficult enough to remember your own name at those times - never mind the 24 chapters you need to have memorized for your exam. But we don't want you to actually go insane... so please take care of yourself: Watch Daria. Eat well. Sleep when you can. Take breaks (but not week-long ones). And if you feel like you're coming untethered, take advantage of on-campus counseling. If that's not available, call your friends and commiserate about your fragile mental ecosystem. Nothing makes you feel better than knowing there are people out there going through the same thing you are.
1 College stress is lifelong (but worth it)
Here's the thing about college: You need a degree to be employed. But to get the degree, you need a loan so that once you're employed, you spend most of your adult life paying it off. Especially if you want to go to a top-tier school. Student loan debt is now the second highest consumer debt category - behind only mortgage debt. In 2016, the average student had a debt of over $37, 000 and the US has a student loan debt of over $1.3 trillion. If you're worried about paying your loan back, you're one of many with the same troubles. And it doesn't seem like you have much of an option in the matter. But there's good news too - we have a solution: Go to college. Get smart. Graduate. Use your degree to change the world so that the generations after you don't have the same problem. No, really. We believe in you!