August 21, 2011

How To Get Through College With {Some} Dignity

So, seeing at though it is Sunday morning and Sunday morning comes after Saturday night, this seemed like an appropriate time to write this post. Entering into my last year of college, I have seen my fair share of dignity roaming around with no owner, having been abandoned after one too many plastic-bottle-vodka shots.

I think that coming out of college with good grades, some good friends, some knowledge gained, and some good memories is hard enough. Add on the task of leaving with your dignity and no incredibly embarrassing stories, and you have a real challenge. I'm not saying that I've done this perfectly. I've had my share of not-so-great nights. I'm in a sorority which basically means that there is an opportunity to make a fool of myself every single night if I so pleased. But I must admit I think that I have done a pretty good job of getting through college so far and not abandoning my dignity on the way.

If you, or your child, are entering college any time in the new future, here are my 5 tips. I know it may sound insane, but graduating with dignity is almost as honorable as graduating with a degree.

1. If you start your night with "I probably shouldn't go out tonight..." you are right. Whether you've been sick, have a midterm tomorrow, or are emotionally unstable, in most cases when you say these words you would be better off renting a DVD and making some popcorn. No matter what your friends tell you, remember these equations:

Vodka + antibiotics = vomit
Partying + midterm = bad grade
Drinking + Sadness/Anxiety = drunk dialing ex-boyfriend/girlfriend, waking up in bed of a stranger

2. Get a hobby - or preferably a job - so that your college career is a balance of more than just drinking and going to class. Think of it in terms of percentage:

School + Drink = 50/50 = Liver Damage, Loss of Dignity
School + Job + Drink = 33.3/33.3/33.3 = Extra Money, slight Liver Damage
School + Job + Drink + Gym + 25/25/25/25 = Perfect balance (in my opinion)

3. Tread carefully with social media. While it may seem tempting, especially as a freshman, to inform your 500 closest Facebook friends that you are "sO DrUnkk Omg!" or ask them "Why do I always fall down the stairs after I throw up LOL!" or report that you are "Struggling hard-core this morning - why did I take that last handlepull? #lame", this is probably not a good idea. 

First of all, employers and grandparents alike can find these statuses, both of which are less forgiving than your friends when it comes to deciding how much you can get away with before your dignity is gone. Also, sometimes bad nights can happen without much consequence and you can get away with it, dignity in tow. If you announce it to the world, however cool you think it makes you look, you are giving away this gift - and your dignity. Plus, things that you put on the internet are there forever. Statuses, photos, etc. - FOREVER! ... Would you want your kids to go online one day and find out that you once had to ask the Facebook world "haha where are my panties?"... I think not.

4. You don't have to be wasted to have fun. Ok, I know I might sound like I'm practicing my mommy skills a bit early, but it's true. I've had plenty of really fun nights that included minimal alcohol. Sticking to a manageable amount for your height and weights guarantees that you are always in control. I offer two more equations:

Male + Too Much Alcohol = Overly confident, uses pick up lines like "What's your sign?", Forgets that "No" doesn't mean "YES PLEASE!"

Female + Too Much Alcohol = Forgets why she should say "No", Falls down stairs, Exposes private body parts

Neither of these are particularly fun or at all attractive, so avoid being the overly drunk guy or girl.

5. Don't cheat on your tests, your homework, or your girlfriend. You will get caught. It won't be pretty. Loss of dignity. Enough said.

With all of this said, I must admit that I have had a lot of fun in college, and it is definitely one of the best times of a person's life. But I do know a lot of people that will graduate with little more than a blur of memories that can be summed up as: shots, puke, repeat. 

With some help from my boyfriend, I've taken time to explore the city I live in. I go for hikes and joined a gym to counteract the harm partying does to my body. I found things I like doing with my friends besides partying, like watching Teen Mom every week or having brunches together on Sundays. I put more effort into school than into finding a party for the next weekend, and I always had a job to keep my priorities straight. I love college, but I think I still have my dignity, and I am proud to be a bit of a mix between a sorority girl and a nerd. Probably a bit more of a nerd, but whatever.




  1. I found that the best way to get through college with your dignity is to always carry an extra pair of underwear.

  2. Nice to someone has their head on straight! I was a pretty mellow college student (a large part of which had to do with the fact I couldn't even drink legally in my province until well into 2nd year) but most of the people I'd gone to high school with were big party animals and wound up wasting their time and dropping out way too much.

  3. i start every friday, saturday, and occasionally sunday with "I probably shouldn't go out." :)