OPINION: College advice your mom doesn’t want you to know

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A presumably horrified mother sees a couple doing jello shots at Kite's Bar and Grill on Fake Patty's Day. (Hannah Hunsinger | Collegian Media Group)

Everyone’s parents seem to give their kids the same advice before they go off to college: get good grades, go to bed on time, brush your teeth and so on.

But what about the advice your poor, neurotic mother didn’t tell you? It’s a tough world out there, so here’s the naughty, shameful advice you need to know to survive a semester away from home.

1. Don’t buy textbooks until the second week of class

It might not be the morally right thing to do, but there’s no better way to be fiscally responsible in college.

I’ve been burned by too many classes that required you to buy a book you never use. Not for homework, not for class readings, not for exams, not for anything.

Professors might laugh from their salaried offices as they squeeze more money out of their students to support the textbook industry, but that ends with you.

Don’t buy a textbook until you look at the syllabus, pore over the schedule and get a feel for the class itself to see if you really need a book. Even if you do need one, borrow it if you can. You’ll thank yourself later when you’re buying 10 pizzas in a row with your textbook budget.

2. Buy lots of condoms

Sexual education could generously be called a joke in the state of Kansas, but don’t let anyone tell you that unprotected sex is God’s will or whatever. Birth control and STD testing are vital if you plan to experiment or “study biology” with anyone while you’re in college, and condoms are the easiest way to keep both issues covered.

If you’re a social kind of person, keep condoms in your bag (but not your wallet, it could get damaged by friction). Even if you’re a loner who just wants to do your math homework, keep some around anyway in case you get lucky. You can even order them online if you’re worried about cashiers judging you!

You never know when the throes of passion will take their toll on you. It could be in a car, at a bar, under stars or with a jar. Better safe than sorry.

3. Get a library card

Nothing will help you succeed in college more than a library card.

No, not for that kind of library. What you need is a rewards card from The Library.

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Nothing bolsters your academic enthusiasm quite like a bottle of rum. (Courtesy photo by Wikimedia Commons)

The Library is my favorite liquor store in Manhattan. The selection is ridiculous — they’ve got beer, wine, rum and more — and the prices are so reasonable it’s almost suspicious.

Every item you buy at The Library gets a flat percentage discount if you have a library card, and it’s completely free. If you plan to enjoy some social drinking before you graduate, you’ve got nothing to lose.

4. Don’t be afraid to skip a lecture

Attendance isn’t required for every course, so if you’re feeling under the weather (or hungover), why not treat yourself to a staycation in your bed?

Professors who teach a lecture hall’s worth of students generally don’t care if you miss class, and it’s reflected in your final grade.

You could probably miss every single day of class without them noticing. As long as you get all the test questions right, you’re a perfect angel in their uncaring eyes.

I especially recommend skipping class if your professor is nice enough to put all the lecture notes online. It’s like they want you to shirk your responsibilities!

5. Treat SparkNotes like your best friend

This one goes out to all the poor souls who had to take a Shakespeare class in college.

The fine folks over at SparkNotes.com have made a name for themselves providing summaries, notes and analyses for a plethora of literary works. The older a book is, the more info they can probably provide to you — for free!

Reading a summary of a book is no substitute for pouring over the real thing yourself, but if you have three professors who each expect you to read 40 pages of their material a day, it might be in your best interest to cut corners.

With all these tips for being a lazy, promiscuous, penny-pinching scoundrel, getting through college should be a breeze — just don’t tell mom!

Kyle Hampel is the community co-editor for the Collegian and a senior in English. The views and opinions expressed in this column are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of the Collegian. Please send comments to opinion@kstatecollegian.com.

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Kyle Hampel
Those words you just read were written by me, Kyle Hampel. I'm an English major who has very strong feelings about barbecue pizza and the Oxford comma. I like to write articles about my strong opinions, too! I also play lots of musical instruments and video games, but never at the same time. I'm the copy editor and a deputy multimedia editor this semester. Beloit, Kansas, is proud to call me their own, along with several other towns I've lived in that aren't as special to me.