By Mary Reischmann
As you pack your bags and say goodbye to all your high school friends, you may start feeling a little apprehensive. You’re getting ready to start a whole new phase of your life, and yeah, you’re excited, but leaving your room, your friends, and the barista who knows your Starbucks order by heart can be a little scary. To help calm you nerves, start thinking about all the amazing new things to do waiting for you at college! Here are seven classic college experiences to look forward to.
1. Theme Parties
One of the first things you should know about collegiette living is that no one throws a party without some kind of theme, or even just a title. You’ll hear clever puns (a Cabaret cast party becomes a “Caba-Rave”), fun rhymes (tropical Christmas parties called “Sleighs and Leis”), and, unfortunately, some sexist or racial slurs thought up by drunken frat boys (“CEOs and Corporate Hoes” is one college party you can probably sit out). For the most part, however, these themes are a lot of fun, and you have some pretty good leeway to work with if you forgot to bring a full-body bunny suit for someone’s petting zoo-themed party. If you have any easily portable costume pieces at home, make sure they go in your suitcase. As we all learned from Mean Girls, a good pair of animal ears can turn any outfit into a costume.
While you’re packing for college, be sure to grab cowboy hats, masks, bandanas, tutus, or even just something with sequins. And don’t forget the most crucial party item of all: your ugliest Christmas sweater. Whatever your school, religion, or political leaning, you WILL be invited to at least one Ugly Christmas Sweater Party before the semester’s over, and the nearest thrift shop to campus will very quickly sell out of everything but tasteful turtlenecks.
2. Greek Life
You’ve seen it in countless classic movies and TV shows, and now your time has finally come to rush, should you choose to do so. Joining a sorority can be a lot of fun and, especially as a freshman, it will give you instant access to a tight-knit community of other collegiettes. You’ll have mixers, formals, and plenty of opportunities to help out in your community. Plus, that sisterhood can be a huge asset when you graduate with a nationwide network of professional women in the working world.
Maybe going Greek appeals to you, but you can’t see yourself as a typical “sorority girl,” and you’d rather not spend the next four years explaining that not ALL sorority sisters share Elle Woods’s penchant for hot pink. If that’s the case, consider joining a professional sorority or fraternity. These organizations will offer you the same camaraderie and networking opportunities a typical sorority would without the usual connotations. Plus, since these groups are based on common interests, you’ll definitely have something to talk about at the meetings!
Of course, not everyone wants to be involved with the Greek system at all. Surprisingly enough, though, even the most independent collegiette can reap some benefits from a Panhellenic presence on campus. Frats will throw tons of parties, and they’ll be only too happy to have more collegiettes on the invite list. Grab your friends, slip on some sparkly flats, and take advantage of the free party atmosphere! Sororities and fraternities will be putting on a lot of other events throughout the year, too. Chapter fundraisers can range from simple donut sales to full-blown carnivals, so why not enjoy them? The frats and sororities will be doing all the work so you can enjoy yourself and support a charitable cause at the same time.
What if your school doesn’t have Greek life? Even if there aren’t frats or sororities, there will still be tons of fun clubs and organizations to get involved with. Whatever your passion, there will be a club for it, and, if there’s not, start one yourself! You’re sure to find plenty of like-minded people who can’t wait to get involved.
3. School Spirit
As nostalgic as you may be for your high school alma mater, nothing compares to the pride you’ll start feeling for your new college or university. Not only will you finally be at a school you chose for yourself, you’ll also have had at least three months to research school colors, traditions, mascots, legends, and more. By the time August rolls around, you’ll brimming with fun facts about every aspect of your school, and you’ll be totally psyched to start life as a real live collegiette.
Collegiette spirit is more than just being excited, though. Getting into college and deciding where you go is ultimately something you did for yourself, and you should be proud of that. And, once you get to campus, chances are you’ll find a ton of other people who love your school just as much as you do, especially when football season starts in the fall. Even better, you don’t have to know or care exactly what a halfback does to have a good time. Paint your face, wear school colors, get a foam finger, and head to the tailgate party. Feel free to flaunt that school spirit, and don’t ever worry about looking dumb or overly enthusiastic, because the rest of the student body is right there with you!