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The Do’s and Don’ts of College According to TFLN Creator, Ben Bator

Ben Bator learned how to college at Michigan State University and even went to class enough to earn a degree in Advertising. Since then, he has read millions of examples of what to do (and not to do) in college through his website, Texts From Last Night, which he started in 2009 with his friend Lauren Leto. If ever there was an expert in all things college, it’s Mr. Ben Bator. (Or, as I like to call him, Master Bator. Ha!)

Want to know what to do and what absolutely-under-no-circumstances-no-not-even-when-you’re-drunk not to do? Let’s turn to the Dalai Lama of college debauchery to find out.

Do: Hook up with someone in your dorm

This is the one thing that everyone tells you not to do, but chances are that you will anyway. Let’s face it – it’s convenient. The 2:30am “Whats up” text is more innocent and the victory lap is far less stressful than a cross-campus speedwalk in the morning. Most advise against this for reasons that relate to the awkward proximity in the aftermath of the hookup. Having been through this, it’s really not true. Here’s what really happens: it’s awkward the first two times you see the other person. Then you see them 38 more times that week and it’s either on again or it’s no big deal. But, if you choose to take it to any other kind of level than a simple nod or wave, see #2.

Don’t: Date someone in your dorm.

While hooking up may create a few awkward situations, dating someone in your dorm is likely to make ALL of your relationships suck. Roommates will slowly come to resent you (and that “whore”/”man-whore” you’re dating), new friends will turn into former acquaintances and your relationship with the new boyfriend/girlfriend will turn your Friday nights into a dinner “date” off-campus and deciding between Grey’s Anatomy Season One or Two. Raaaage! But if you’re still sure that this won’t be you & he/she is “totally different” than anyone you’ve been with before, I’d advise that you look into transferring dorms as to avoid the inevitable awkward “we live in the same building” break-up. No one wants that.

DO: Lose the roommate

Blind housing assignments are higher education’s stab at a blind date. Like most blind dates and arranged marriages, chances are you’d rather live with your hair on fire than go through with it. Not to worry, because there’s a way out.

Make friends with the housing department early on in the semester, then wait until after midterms or any major exam and casually check in with them to see what rooms have opened up. Since most won’t be as savvy as you, it’s possible to pull off something wonderful: one room to yourself. I managed to get a double room with two beds (that were quickly converted to one giant bed on the floor) all to myself (also see: TWO CLOSETS). You won’t have to pay for a single, and best of all, you won’t have to listen to another roommate’s Sublime or masturbation ever again.

Don’t: Do the water bottle thing.

You know what I’m talking about. Everyone knows that Fiji water freezes, especially the a-hole RA in your building. Cops know you’re not trying to stay hydrated while walking to and from houses on a Friday night. The fact that bums drink on the streets all the time doesn’t mean you can.

DO: Shower beers

Always the best beverage of the night/afternoon/sometimes morning.

DON’T: Friday classes

No.

DO: Crash a party where you know no one.

Take a Thursday night and decide you’re going to have an adventure. Wear something that makes you feel like you could get away with anything (short of a ski mask). Find at least three (3) decent looking parties on Facebook and make a game plan. Tell your friends you’re staying in, then book it. When you arrive, don’t drink too much – one and a half beverages at most (you don’t want to end up with the reputation of ‘that drunken a-hole whole crashed the party and puked behind the couch.’ Trust me, ‘Couch Puker’ is a reputation that precedes itself in almost any college social situation). Anyway, ease into it; this is about finding a new tribe. Make friends, talk, hit on others, move about, then gradually throw these rules out and rage. And if you must, puke in the bathtub, not behind the couch.

Do: Stock up

Most dorms provide easy access to condoms, usually through your RA. Get those so you don’t have to be the jerk breaking down someone’s door at 3AM when you realize you need one. Not only is it a dick move, but they’re more likely to tell everyone what and who you did afterward.

Don’t: Just coast

College is an experience so live it up. Find extracurriculars (bonus points if said extracurriculars involve a disproportionately favorable ratio of your favorite gender), talk to randoms in class, ditch your friends occasionally in search of different experiences. Take the weird classes like History of Mexico or Traditional Dances by Region (if that exists anywhere, take it).

DO: Tailgating

Tailgates are what 6am wake-ups are for. Wear school colors. And avoid making post-game plans that don’t involve sleeping, because if you tailgate properly, that’s all that will be accomplished.

DON’T: Stalk Facebook in class
Going to class just to check Facebook is like going to a party just to sit outside on the phone. Avoid both.

DO: Go to the library
But only when you need to study or have sex.

Ben and Lauren’s book is available in stores now (go get it – it’s awesome) and their site is always ready to accept new texts (you can send yours to 76843).

  • Candy -- NYUCOLLEGECANDY Writer