By contributing writer Brendan McGurk

While I’m sure you’ve gotten plenty of good advice from your family and friends about college life, your first semester probably showed that much of it wasn’t really practical or contemporary…though I have to admit Uncle Ray’s tips on one-night stands were pretty amusing if not amazingly creepy. Undoubtedly, the most oft given gems of wisdom were probably about choosing and making friends and/or dating (“going steady” if you were really, really unlucky). Though I’m sure your mother had only the best of intentions in giving you the advice she did, you probably found out that avoiding all those “pagans” with their darn rock music and crazy drunken “orgies” left you spending Saturday nights with Leroy, the ROTC guy whose idea of a fun time is field stripping an M16, and Hans, the Austrian exchange student who only listens to Yanni and Huey Lewis & the News.

Needless to say, if you fit this mold, your first year sucked pretty hardcore. So, in a desire to share my infinite wisdom (as well as to live vicariously through those not trapped in a home that closely resembles a VC prison camp like me), I’ve come up with four general people that you should definitely befriend/suck up to if you want to have a good time.

Note: If you think you qualify as a member of one of the following groups, just ignore that one. If you think you fit more than one, you’re probably a tool and should resign yourself to a boring, miserable existence.

1. The Computer Nerd (aka Pat):

Chicken Little?
“Here ya go Pat, a little cocaine should keep you up long enough to delete all my computer viruses.”

This elusive creature, though probably not attractive or interesting, is an absolutely essential friend. Not only will he/she/it help you set up your computer, stereo, etc., there is a plethora of valuable information stored behind the pockmarked, dimpled face of theirs (e.g. good sites for free movies and music, best place to buy an MP3 player, etc.). As much as the body odor may bother you when they’re in the room, it is definitely worth it to dispense with the headache of dealing with your technology issues.

Find this person, feign interest in Dungeons & Dragons, and vaguely allude to some guy or girl that may be interested in Pat, and you’re sure to have him/her/it eating out of the palm of your hand.

2. The Kid with an Older Relative on Campus

Though there are many types of people who may fit this category, you should really only look for the one who’s relative has an apartment and is not shy about having parties. This person is important for a few reasons. First, it’s important to have a backup party spot, the place you know you can rely on going if that frat party ends up being a sausage fest after all. Second, if you’re friends with the person’s younger sibling, you get under the umbrella of “people not to mess with at the party,” so you don’t have to worry about a roommate trying to kick you out or someone slipping a roofie in your drink. And third, it’s always good to get to know upperclassmen because they have access to or know of two things you need but can’t get: alcohol and men/women who would hook up with Janet Reno given enough PBR.

3. A Car (and less importantly, the person who owns it)

You will undoubtedly need access to a car at least several times a year, if not more, depending on the size of your campus and your level of laziness. more likely than not, you lived too far away, had too many siblings who still needed a car (those dirty bastards), or were simply too poor to afford the cost of gas, parking, insurance, moving violations (FYI, once you hit 30 mph above the limit, it gets a wee bit more expensive). Fear not, young grasshopper, there is guaranteed to be someone rich enough or close enough to campus to have access to your dream ride (even if it is a 1989 teal Cavalier).

The owner of said vehicle can belong to any one of an infinite number of personality types, so you’ll have to figure out how to befriend him/her/it on your own. Regardless of the person’s quirks, peculiarities, or physical deformities (don’t worry, you’ll get used to the extra nipple on the forearm…..maybe), getting access to a car is essential. Otherwise, how do you plan on making liquor runs, getting a ride home or to the airport, going out for food, or transporting several kilos of pure Colombian across state lines (hey, tuition ain’t getting any cheaper)?

4. The Go-to-Guy/Girl

This one is absolutely essential. You’ve got to find one actual, legitimate friend on campus who you can count on to be there for the day to day stuff—go to the dining hall, run to the gym, duct tape your RA in his room, etc. Even if you’ve got the best personality in the tri-state area, sometimes you just won’t be able to find someone to do the same shit you’re doing. Everyone’s got their own schedules so you can’t assume someone will always be going to the bookstore at the same time you are. That’s why you want to find somebody you can actually talk to for more than five minutes with a similar schedule to yours.

This person among all the others actually has the potential to be a real friend (though you shouldn’t let the others know they’re not). He or she may become that buddy who you always go to parties with, the one who’ll hold your head when you’re praying to the porcelain god, and the one you’ll cockblock for when Fat Albert’s bastard son/daughter suddenly becomes the object of their affection.

Armed with these nuggets of wisdom, go forth, and enjoy your next semester…happy hunting.

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