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Who Am I Living With?!?

I read an article today about nightmare roommates.  The article highlighted stories such as a roomie who refused to clean and another who was a bit of an identity thief.  Though the stories will vary greatly, nearly everyone out there has a story to tell about a nightmare that they once called their roommate.  It inspired me to share a few of my own horror stories.  Please chime in with your own stories of woe in the comment section!

bad college roommate

CANCER IN COLLEGE:  I was pretty excited about having my first roommate during my freshman year of college.  Her name was Ashley and she seemed like a cool enough person when we were exchanging emails and deciding who would bring what when it came to appliances and entertainment.  Our first week went smoothly, but our second week had a bit of a hiccup during a movie night in our room with a few other girls from the dorm; instead of watching the movie, Ashley was face first in the crotch of a guy she had met just an hour before.  She began acting more and more promiscuous while dropping her showers from daily to once a week.  She began collecting her dirty laundry under her bed rather than in her drawers, doing sniff tests to find things to wear.  Finally she broke the news to myself and the other girls in the dorm that she had cancer.  A month passes and she informs us that a new laser surgery rid her of the cancer.  Two weeks later we learn via voicemail from her mother that her “cancer” was actually a single kidney stone that she had broken up by a doctor and was able to pass without incident.  She was so ashamed of her lie that she left the dorm and gave me a private room for the second half of the year.

fingers-crossed-behind-back-woman

JEALOUSY IS A KILLER:  My first apartment cost me $325 a month for my half of the rent, plus about $30 in utilities, for a decent sized two bedroom in a quiet area.  I moved in with my best friend from work, Travis; a 450+ pound guy who was as sweet as a teddy bear.  Once we were settled in, he proposed an odd rule that my boyfriend could only visit once a week and never to sleep over.  I soon discovered that he was an alcoholic; I came home one night to find he had finished off my big unopened bottle of whiskey and nearly demolished a 24 pack of beer.  I had to call in reinforcements to get him off of the living room floor where he lay weeping and into his bed.  Sometimes I would catch him watching me from the couch through the small crack in my doorway.  One day when we were both working, a tow truck came to collect his car due to some legal matter (possibly related to all the beer cans in the trunk) and the next day, I came home from school to find that he had moved out.  He called the electric company and water company to have them both shut off, leaving me with mere minutes to contact them both to get them reconnected.  He took every single item, big and small, in that place that he considered his.  He even took the $5 trash can, leaving a full open bag of trash in the middle of the kitchen floor.  I haven’t spoken to Travis since.

beerbelly

DRUGS ARE BAD:  At one low point in my life, I was renting a room in a boarding house with about ten other people.  This is more of a close neighbor story than actual roommates, but it counts.  I had my own bathroom, so I could easily isolate myself from the rest of the house.  Across the hall from me was a married couple who had just moved here from out of state; a chubby girl named Monica and her goggle-eyed husband, along with their newborn baby girl.  They seemed normal at first, until the husband began flirting with me anytime his wife was away at work (I had gotten her a job with me at IHOP but we didn’t always share shifts).  I was able to ignore him except for one day when he forced himself in my room, knocked me on the bed, and tried to assault me.  Unfortunately for him, I outweighed and out-muscled him and easily sent him running for his mommy.  Outside of him, there was a crackhead that lived down the hall.  I didn’t know she was a crackhead until returning from work one day with Monica.  She accused us both of “checking out” her skinny, filthy boyfriend and went crazy.  I have a small scar on my left arm from where she attacked me.  Monica and I locked ourselves in my room and called the police; she was soon hogtied and thrown in the back of their car after twice running away from the officers who showed up to assist.  Oh, and there was also a guy who died in his room and was there for a week before anyone noticed.

3q1bom

LOOKIE HERE:  While between places, I had to crash on the floor of my friend’s place for a bit.  He was a scrawny, nerdy, nice guy who I met with friends at a liquor store and later saw for games of pool, dinner and drinks on multiple occasions.  He was almost twice my age but very approachable and friendly.  My boyfriend had the idea of me staying with him for a bit to save money and I agreed because my other option was living in my car.  The first week went smoothly; I was able to put back cash from my paycheck and received a surprising amount of privacy for someone on an air mattress in the middle of the living room.  Little did I know the guy was somewhat of an exhibitionist, setting up various ways for me to literally catch him with his pants around his ankles.  The first time, I chalked up to an accident.  Time #2 made me suspicious and I began searching for a new place.  Time #3 he just came out of the shower butt naked and entered the living room where he knew I was sitting.  I ran to the end of the driveway to wait for my ride so I could get the hell out of that place.

Day 30

What about you?  Big or small, share your stories.  It can be personal or something that a friend or family member has experienced.  And… GO!

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Who Gets Your Vote?

The very first time I voted, back in 2000, I voted for Harry Browne for President.  It was very exciting for me to finally feel as though my voice would be heard.  I knew Browne had no chance of winning, but he was the best candidate in my mind and I wanted him to have my vote.  My college campus had countless resources for students so that registering to vote was easier than finding a keg party.  We were all highly encouraged to get out there and make our generation be heard and seen.  Getting that “I Voted” sticker for the first time was a thrill, I won’t lie.  A tiny piece of sticky laminated paper that was worn like a badge of honor up until it crinkled up and fell off late in the day.  If you didn’t have that sticker, you didn’t want to leave your dorm room.

In elementary and middle school, we would hold mock elections, complete with the actual voting booths that would be used by the adults later on and the stickers to let the world know we cast our vote.  Back then, I always voted Democrat, regardless of what the candidate stood for and what I knew about them (which at that age was very little).  Once practice voting was over and I began educating myself more, I began seeing how the party wasn’t everything and should not be a deciding factor in who my support goes to.  It’s a nice starting point, but it doesn’t tell the whole story.

During the months before election day, our television screens and radio stations are jam-packed with political ads, the most misleading, useless, and often comedic thing about the election and the candidates.  Rather than clearly express goals, intentions, and desires, the majority of candidates launch attacks on their opponents and simply say that they are the polar opposite of this awful person.  Guy A voted against better funding for public schools.  Woman B doesn’t pay her taxes.  Occasionally you get a person like Mourdock who will say or do something worthy of a negative ad, but for the most part it feels forced and doesn’t assist voters whatsoever; I need to know what a candidate stands for, not just why the other guy isn’t worth my time.

Regardless of party affiliation, candidate preference, general outlook on the state of this country, or other vote swaying factors, the general consensus seems to be that you must get out and cast your vote today.  The importance of voting seems to be in the spotlight more and more with every passing election, be it because of the ease we can now communicate with others worldwide or because of close elections in the past few years where it seemed that every single solitary vote carried a lot of weight.  If you fail to vote, you are almost shunned by peers and coworkers, looked at as someone who doesn’t care about their country and who has no interest in securing the best future for themselves and for the rest of us.

What I feel is most important is for everyone to be as educated as possible about the candidates, the process, and the power that our future President actually has.  So many people used to think (and surely some still do) that popular vote secured the new President.  Too many people fail to realize that our system of government is built with checks and balances that keep the President from simply doing what he feels is best.  A large number of people take political ads as pure fact instead of doing a bit of research themselves, leaving their education up to thirty-second spots between their favorite television shows.  Voting is important, but it means a lot more when you are educated, prepared, and know that simply electing a shiny new guy isn’t a quick and instant fix to all of our problems.

Pushing the need to vote is important, but we should also be pushing the need to be properly educated and informed prior to casting that vote.  We need political ads that highlight the candidate’s goals, plans, and outlook for their future term.  We need to be less focused on how good someone looks in front of a camera and be more focused on what they can and will try to do for us.  We need to base our vote on factors that actually matter rather that basing our vote on race or religion.  We need to have realistic expectations from our leaders instead of expecting them to wave a magic wand once in office and cure all that ails us.

My prediction is that Obama and Biden see success in this election and will have another four years to try to improve the state of this nation.  I hope that this time around, they receive more support from Congress and that we start to focus more on the successes instead of only highlighting the failures.  I hope people like Mourdock quickly fade into the background, their nonsensical statements becoming a distant memory as we stop quoting God in order to justify our crazy beliefs and wishes.  I feel that this country is a mess, but I have hope that we will see upward trends in the next few years.  It may be slow, but I feel it coming.

WEIGH IN:

Did you get out and vote?  If you’re brave enough to say it, who did you vote for and why?

If you declined to vote this year, what kept you from the polls?

Writing To The Past

Dear 16-year-old Jamie,

I’m writing you from 14 years in the future in the hopes that your stubborn brain will at least take some advice from yourself.  I don’t blame you for taking the move from Connecticut to Georgia hard, especially since it happened right in the middle of high school.  The thing is, it’s not the end of the world and you have to stop acting as though it is.  Your core group of friends will change time and time again and these people in Connecticut that you think you can’t live without honestly won’t matter much in a couple of years.  You know you won’t lose your best friend even if you move to China and you also know you’ll meet new people, so settle down.

Right now, you’re torn between your middle school crush and your current boyfriend, one of which isn’t even in the same state as you and the other who definitely isn’t on your level in any way, shape, or form.  Your mother hates them both because she’s a hateful person, but this is one of the few times that you should take her advice and forget they both exist.  What you’re feeling right now isn’t love.  It won’t be love when you’re in college either.  Have fun, but don’t stress.  What seems important now won’t matter whatsoever down the road.

It’s not good to obsess over getting old, but it also isn’t good to pretend that it’ll never happen.  You’re going to get to a point in your life where you can’t eat Waffle House every day and have burgers and fries every night.  Those abs you’ve somehow obtained without doing any work aren’t going to hang around if you don’t learn to exercise.  Treat yourself to junk food, sleep in on the weekends, but start getting into healthy eating habits and an exercise routine NOW.  It’ll save you a lot of heartache and fat days later in life.

Stop spending so much time worrying about what your parents think of your choices and start living for yourself.  They’re going to hate the major you choose in college and they’ll hate the people you meet there.  They’ll hate every single job you hold and every guy you date.  When you get married, they’ll hate your husband, the place you live, and just about everything about your life.  In 14 years, you will be in the best place you’ve ever been and you’ll be happier than you’ve ever been before.  It sounds harsh, but you need to put a bit of distance between you and your mother now and be confident that your choices are the right ones.  You’ll screw up and fall on your face, but you’ll learn and become stronger for having gone through it.

Life isn’t all sunshine and happiness.  I could tell you people to avoid living with, jobs not to take, and choices to make but it wouldn’t result in a worry-free existence.  Shit happens and if you can learn to laugh it off now, you’ll make things a lot easier on yourself.  Take comfort in knowing that you’re not that far away from having the good life.  Popularity in high school doesn’t mean a thing after graduation; you and your friends may be on the lower level of the social totem pole, but you’re definitely going to have more fun than the kids that have the specific image to uphold.

Because I can’t help myself, I will spill a few things that will hopefully make sense as the situations come up and people enter your life:

1.        IP addresses

2.       Travis steals trash cans

3.       You’re a terrible arm wrestler

4.       It’s NOT a love story

5.       There’s nothing good at the Mill Stores

Good luck…..

Drink, Drank, Drunk!

Last night, my husband and I indulged our new obsession and squeezed two episodes of 30 Days into our evening before giving up and surrendering to sleep.  The description of one episode mentioned a mother who decided to binge drink in order to prove a point to her daughter.  I can’t read something like that and decide to watch something else!  Not surprisingly [SPOILER] the mother’s efforts were wasted on her 19-year-old daughter; she held on to that “I know everything and alcohol doesn’t hurt me like it hurts other people” attitude.  This college student was determined to continue drinking heavily because it was fun and she believed she could handle it.  Thankfully, the mother’s youngest son benefited from the experience and seemed to be generally turned off to alcohol and its effects when abused. [END SPOILER]

I’m not against drinking or getting drunk and acting like an idiot.  That being said, I’m not in support of people who drink and can’t handle their alcohol.  This applies to those who get violently ill, who drive while heavily intoxicated, who ruin the fun for everyone around them, who have attitude problems, and who use and/or harm others.  The young female on 30 Days [SPOILER] claimed to black out frequently, but would also claim to be able to handle her booze in the same sentence.  She was cocky about her drinking and terribly rude to her mother, who was putting her health at risk in a last-ditch attempt to help her daughter out. [END SPOILER]  I drank in college and even though it’s illegal when you’re underage, I don’t necessarily thing it’s wrong.  It’s part of college life and the students are adults who are old enough to make decisions for themselves, even though the law states they need a couple more years.  The drinking age in most countries is 18, and with the US being more uptight than other countries about almost everything, I’m more inclined to go with the views of a great deal of the rest of the world and think that 18 is old enough.  That being said, I do think there are certain things college students should be doing if they are going to act as adults and indulge in alcohol.

1.  Let go of the belief that you know everything.  Us old people have been there, done it, and have the battle scars to prove it.  Sometimes your parents aren’t idiots and do actually know what they’re talking about.  At the very least, don’t be a smart ass and blow them off when they’re trying to help.  They took the time to raise you, the least you can do is take the time to hear them out.

2.  Don’t forget where you are.  You’re in college.  It’s a place to learn above all else.  If you only desire to party, save your parents some cash on tuition and drop out, get a job at a bar or something.  If you can’t balance your studies with your drinking, you have to give one up.  I failed U.S. History the first time around because it was at 8am and I generally didn’t go to bed until 3am or later.  If I had to do it all over again, I definitely wouldn’t have picked an early morning class.

3.  Always have a plan to get home.  The parties I went to in college were either within walking distance of my dorm and I made sure I went with a sober friend or was the sober friend.  If you’re drinking and you’re underage, you CAN NOT DRIVE.  One sip of beer is legally too much and you don’t want that on your record; you need a designated driver.  If you’re walking back, it helps to have the sober friend as a designated walker to ensure you get back home safely and without climbing a tree or knocking on random doors thinking you’re home, behaviors that can out you as a drunk minor and get you in trouble on campus.

4.  Drink responsibly.  Yeah, I know, seems silly to tell minors to drink responsibly.  But if you’re in college, you’re an adult (unless you’re one of those genius kids who graduates high school at 12).  Don’t starve yourself before drinking so you can get drunk faster; eat a good meal before going out and don’t turn down a slice of pizza or other fun foods while drinking.  Get a bottle of water or two and alternate good old H2O and your drink of choice; it’ll keep you hydrated and hopefully keep hangovers at bay.  Don’t try to keep up with other people; we all have different tolerances and it’s better to have your boy call you a pussy than it is to be lying on the pavement in a puddle of puke.  Do not operate heavy machinery or do anything else that the little voice in the back of your head tells you is a bad idea while intoxicated.  Don’t pass out; people are dicks to the guy who passes out and people have cameras on their phones for instant upload of your shame to the internet.

5.  Don’t expect mom and dad to approve of your activities.  If they’re paying for your education, give them their money’s worth.  Don’t expect them to fund your extracurricular activities as well as your education.  If  you don’t have the cash to go drinking, you either don’t drink or you get a job.  You shouldn’t be shocked if your parents are upset with you for doing beer bongs.  They SHOULD be upset; you’re too young and you’re supposed to be learning useful things, and NOT the best way to do a keg stand.

6.  You are NOT Superman or Wonder Woman.  My husband has never had a hangover (jerk) but that doesn’t mean he has the free reign to drink whatever he wants without consequence.  Just because you’ve never tripped down a flight of stairs after a 6 pack doesn’t mean it’ll never happen to you.  With alcohol comes stupid behavior and shit happens to the best of us.  If you have the cocky attitude and act like you can take shots all night and be fine, you better believe it’ll come back to bite you in the ass eventually, and everyone who you aggravated with your “I’m untouchable” attitude will be there laughing at your expense.

7.  Learn the benefit of being the sober friend.  I think I had a psychic ability in college that allowed me to sense when NOT to drink; it saved me from MUIs (minor under the influence) and allowed me to drive drunk friends back to their dorms, saving them from consequence.  It also allowed me to have a damn good time laughing at my drunk college buddies.  The Hangover movies are hilarious because drunk people do dumb things and it’s funny to watch and even funnier sometimes watching them try to piece it all together the next day.  Try it out once in a while.

8.  Remember, IT IS STILL ILLEGAL!  A loud party can get the cops called and you busted.  Sneaking drinks at a concert or bar can get you in trouble as well.  The cops won’t buy my argument that you’re an adult because you’re not at the legal drinking age and that’s all they care about.  If you’re willing to take the risk, be willing to deal with the legal ramifications as well.  As lucky as you think you are, you are not immune to the cranky cop who’s fed up with drunk frat boys and you might be the person he decides to take his anger out on.  A few drinks isn’t worth a night or two in jail.

Alcohol is awesome but it can’t become your crutch when partying; you have to learn to have fun without it and you have to be willing to take a step back if you’re frequently blacking out and waking up in strange places with odd people.  What’s the point of having a fun night if you can’t ever remember what you did?  I’m not telling any of the under-21 crowd that they shouldn’t drink because I did enough of it before I legally could, but you’ve got to be smart about it and you’ve got to have respect for your parents.  I’d be devastated if my son came home describing the numerous jello shots that caused him to black out and wake up in a bathtub.  No parent wants to hear that crap about their child unless they utterly fail at parenting.  If they’re telling you to slow down on the alcohol, it’s not because they’re trying to kill your good time, it’s because they’re trying to save your dignity and your liver.  It’s coming from a place of love.

I’m not getting preachy here or advocating a life of sobriety; this chick plans on having a bottle of wine to herself one night this weekend.  My bottom line here is simply to use your brain for more than a beer-absorbing sponge.  Don’t become the sloppy chick who alternates between weepy and slutty.  Don’t turn into the guy who projectile vomits like clockwork after the 8th shot of whiskey.  If every night is spent using a toilet seat as a pillow, maybe you need to rethink your liquid diet a bit.  Drink, get drunk, and be merry as all hell, just don’t let your drunken behavior define who you are and control your life.  Now….. who wants a shot of Crown?

Cheaters Never Win… Except When They Do

Today I took (and passed) my first test in my Accounting Essentials program.  Since it’s a distance learning program, I completed the exam on paper and entered my answers onto the website to be graded and recorded.  It was slightly nerve-wracking since I haven’t taken a test like that for somewhere around 7 years, but I completed it with good results and have nothing to complain about.  While I was punching my calculator and scribbling notes over lunch, my coworker came up to me and said “You know, you can get all those answers on Answers.com.”  It would be an easy way to get an easy A.

I’m one of many who cheated in school.  It started out as sneaking glances into my textbook during an exam while the teacher was looking the other way or peeking at a neighbor’s paper to see if my answer matched theirs.  In high school, I shared in a passed note containing the test answers a couple of times.  I also learned how to input answers into my graphing calculator to pull up later.  A few girls, who were later caught cheating, started printing the answers out in very small font and taping that small bit of paper to water bottles to keep on their desks during exams.  In college, I didn’t cheat to benefit my grades, but I did write term papers for various people in exchange for money or beer.

Obviously cheating is wrong, spare the lectures.  But if we’re being totally honest here, sometimes cheating can be pretty harmless.  Sometimes you forget to study for a portion of the test.  Sometimes you study the wrong thing.  Sometimes you’re so overwhelmed with information that must be learned that you can’t immediately cram it all into your brain in time for that crucial exam.  Maybe you forgot to do your homework.  Perhaps the in-class assignment is beyond your understanding so you partner with the smart kid and let him supply the answers.  Once in a while, it’s nice to have a bit of assistance.  I’m in no way suggesting that everyone start brainstorming creative ways to beat the system because there are very serious consequences if you’re busted, but I see nothing wrong with copying someone’s homework answers down the morning before class after you realize you completely forgot to do an assignment due in 5 minutes.  Once in a while.

Obviously I could get an easy A by visiting various sites supplying answers, as well as quickly finish my program by researching the answers beforehand and submitting them as soon as I was able.  I would absolutely love to get this program done with at lightning speed so I can put more on my resume other than “enrolled” or “in process.”  I’d love to be able to say a month from now that I finally have that coveted piece of paper from an accredited school that says I officially know what I’m doing.  Sadly, this is one of those things that sounds too good to be true, and whenever you can say that about something, it’s probably not worth doing.

Accounting is math.  Lots and lots of math.  And letters pretending to be numbers.  Oh, and weird terminology.  You can’t fake math.  Either I learn this stuff now or I don’t learn it at all.  I’m paying a nice chunk of cash out of my pocket for this education and not just so I can get a piece of paper saying I’m certified, but so I can get a better job in the field I’m currently in and make more money while I decide what to learn next.  Maybe I feel different about cheating now that it’s my beer money that is paying for my education rather than the HOPE Scholarship, but there is no way in hell I will be tempted into taking any shortcuts with this program.  Maybe I’ve grown up a bit as well, who knows.

The point is, cheating my way through this means throwing my money away and embarrassing myself with future employers when they discover that my education didn’t teach me a thing because I’m unable to work my way through a problem without a reference guide or a workbook.  I won’t do it for the same reason I won’t put “certified mechanic” on my resume; if I don’t know how to do something, a piece of paper stating that I can isn’t going to make it true.  Although imagine the possibilities if writings words on paper translated into reality…..  I suppose that’s a whole other story…

It’s Never Too Late

I graduated high school in 1999 and began college that fall at the State University of West Georgia.  Lived on campus there for 2 years before transferring to Georgia State University, where I commuted down to Atlanta twice a week and worked full-time the other five days.  I was there for a year and a half, and while enrolled I got back together with someone I dated in middle school.  Caught up in the novelty of reconnecting with someone from so many years ago, I dropped my classes at GSU and moved to Connecticut planning to join the National Guard, as I had received a 99 on the ASVAB and was told that joining could earn me college credits and pay for the rest of my schooling.  I ended up declining to join and at that point was also unable to afford to go back to GSU.  Then my son came along and without a support system, I couldn’t swing work, raising a kid AND going to school.  When I moved in with my now husband, I wasn’t focused on education because I was simply too involved in other things to be bothered.  Now I’m 30 years old and I have slightly over $10,000 worth of college debt and nothing to show for it.

A few months ago, my husband forwarded me an email with nothing but this link: http://www.pennfoster.edu/  A few minutes later, he sent another email about their small engine repair program.  He was pretty damn enthusiastic about the whole thing, so I checked out the site, thinking it would be exactly like the sites features in those cheesy TV commercials with a girl talking about going to school in her pajamas or singing about classes while wearing a horrible fast food uniform with a corn dog hat.

The first thing I checked was their accreditation, which is listed on their site along with an A+ rating from the Better Business Bureau and a long list of impressive affiliations.  Afterwards I checked out the degree programs and finally the certificate programs.  The list is pretty impressive and they offer payment plans and low prices.  Being in the process of paying off a student loan makes me antsy about entering into a new program and creating new debt.  After a couple of months of sitting, thinking, and visiting the site I finally decided to enroll.  I chose the Accounting Essentials Certificate Program because I hate math and I obviously wish to punish myself.  Actually, the accounting certification is considered an equal to an accounting degree for many job positions I’ve been looking at and it will cost me around $900 to complete, plus the credits I earn can be applied to an accounting degree if I choose to pursue it in the future.

I received the book yesterday and immediately began reading.  It’s embarrassing how much we rely on calculators, so much so that I forgot how to do long division and how to divide decimals.  I’m currently reading up and refreshing myself on basic math; 89 pages into a book that’s slightly over 500.  Once I complete the book, I will have a few online tests to take and my second book will be mailed out.  I have a year to complete the program and 2 years to pay it off but I plan on finishing sooner than that, as I want to stick that certification on my resume.  I also plan on pursuing something that may not be practical, but seems fun.  My husband is currently enrolled in the Small Engine Repair program and is very excited about it.  I’m a bit curious about the Gourmet Cooking program, as well as Automotive Transmissions Essentials.  I’m getting ahead of myself there, but it’s exciting to think about the possibilities.

I thought it was too late to go back to school and I also thought distance learning schools were garbage and a waste of time.  Penn Foster thus far has totally changed my mind.  I’m excited about math, and if you know me you know that isn’t something I would ever say.  I’m thrilled to be getting back in school and happy that I’m finishing what I started back when I was 18.  Sure, it’s not the path I envisioned when I walked across my college campus for the first time, but most of what I envisioned back then wasn’t meant to be.  This is now and now is all that matters.  It’s never too late to fix your future.  Wish me luck!

Party On

College provides us with a wealth of knowledge, but none as important as life experience and exposure to true human nature.  My freshman year was typical; living on campus with a roommate I’d never met, full load of classes, no job, and fairly ignorant.  I made friends quickly and joined the marching band playing cymbals, an instrument requiring little talent in a school of that size.  I enjoyed the freedom of being away from my parents, no curfew, without penalty if I happened to miss a class or two.

Little did I know that my roommate/band buddy was a lazy, possibly bi-polar sex fiend.  The first incident was a movie night in our dorm room with a few friends from the building and from off-campus.  Partway into the flick, I look over and see my roommate with her head between some guy’s legs.  A guy she just met, no less!  The second was with a friend of one of my friends who came to visit me partway into the semester.  They had gotten a hotel room, since there was no way they were staying with me.  After they rented the room, they came back to campus to let me know their plans for the evening:  drinking.  I had an early day and opted to stay in, but my eavesdropping roommate got excited and went with them.  Come to find out later, she gave them both a “special” kiss downtown.  Lesson 1: Many freshman girls say “Hello, how are you” with their mouths.

A couple weeks later, my roomie stopped going to her 10am class.  She would sleep until 2 or 3 in the afternoon and rarely showered.  Her closet slowly began to migrate to a dirty moldering pile under her bed.  The stink was horrible.  Finally we got an explanation; cancer.  She explained to myself and our dorm-mates that she was diagnosed with cancer and the pain was so horrible she could barely get out of bed.  I pitied the poor girl, until coming back from class one day and catching a message on our answering machine from her mom about her kidney stones.  She confessed to the lie later.  Lesson 2: Kidney stones are synonymous with cancer and should be treated as, if not more, seriously.

Having no job in college caused me to rely heavily on my savings account.  My parents refused to allow me to have a job so I was forced to get creative.  A friend of mine sparked the idea by asking me if he could borrow a paper I wrote for the class he was taking.  I agreed, but only if I could rewrite it and change a few things so no one would be the wiser.  5 minutes of work earned me $20.  He told a few friends and before I knew it, I had requests pouring in with payment in both cash and 12 packs of beer.  Having the talent to bullshit an A paper in less than an hour earned me some good money during my sophomore year.  Lesson 3: Plagiarism and cheating do in fact pay, if done properly.

Living in dorms forces you to get up close and personal with people you don’t know for extended periods of time.  You get to see the good and the downright ugly from people whether they want you to or not.  During my sophomore year, I had a private bedroom with a shared common area and 2 shared bathrooms between 5 people.  Prior to moving in, the set up seemed ideal.  I had my privacy while still having that shared space to enjoy with my new roomies.  Turned out my roomies were a bit nuts.  I shared a wall with an obese female who insisted on having loud sex with her greasy boyfriend, another who created a bio hazard in the bathroom, and one who had her sex offender male “cousin” sharing her room with her.  With paper thin walls all around, I could hear everyone’s business.  I ended it by winning a war with sex-noise neighbor one night by putting a porn track on full blast.  Lesson 4: The Kinky CoEds soundtrack beats fat flabby sex every time.

Going from high school to the college world had my expectations up high.  I envisioned a whole new world with all sorts of new people, a life different from anything I had in high school.  When I finally settled down enough to look past the newfound freedom, it became clear that not much had changed at all.  Cliques were more present than ever, only now they got to have cool names in the form of Greek letters and they got to put people through a process of being their friend or being rejected, and THEN they charged you a monthly fee for friendship in the form of dues.  And if you weren’t lucky enough to sport these letters across your chest or on a tote bag, then you just weren’t worth the time of day.  They hosted events and spent money, ordered gear with their names ablaze, spending more money, and admitted new members here and there, charging them money.  Lesson 5: The need to be accepted and exclusive doesn’t fade with age, it just gets more expensive.

This guy has a bright future working at Gas America

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