By contributing writer Matt Hulten

Wasting the day outside with your friends, no real responsibility to speak of, long naps in the afternoon… college is a completely unique time in one’s life. And yet, the whole thing also seems strangely familiar, doesn’t it? Almost as if you’ve done this all before. One could make the argument that the last years of your academic life are also wildly similar to the first years of your academic life, namely kindergarten. In fact, Robert Fulghum’s All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten provides some rules that are supposed to apply to everyday life, and that includes the time you’ll spend at a degree-granting institution.

But do they really apply to college life? No, no they don’t.

Allow me to illustrate just how wrong Mr. Fulghum’s rules are when compared to the rules of life during one’s college years.

Kindergarten: Share everything and don’t take things that aren’t yours.

College: Frankly, college is a lot like entering the Thunderdome. You’re going to have to fend for yourself if you want to make it out alive. For as much time as you’ll spend labeling your food with a roll of masking tape and a black marker, your roommate will spend just as much time eating said food. And that’s just food. What about those sons of bitches who waltz into your dorm room and help themselves to your beer even though they didn’t offer to pay you for it and don’t have any money even if they did? No, it’s people like that who need to understand that in the real world, things aren’t free, they’re earned. Or else they will die of exposure. It’s called “thinning out the herd” and it’s good for all of us. Mainly though, the whole “share everything” idea doesn’t quite work in the real world because, in a nutshell, we’re not Communists.

Revised Rule: Every man for himself.

Kindergarten: Play fair.

College: Again, it’s every man for himself in the world of academia, so playing fair is only going to set you back. You know that saying, “Nice guys finish last”? It’s not just a catchy song by Green Day, it’s the truth. And while you should try to play fair most of the time, remember, “Winners always cheat and cheaters always win.” You know who said that? Aristotle. Or someone else, maybe, I really don’t know. I only passed philosophy because I paid a guy to write my term paper for me.

Revised Rule: Cheat to win.

Kindergarten: Don’t hit people.

College: Well, no, you shouldn’t hit people. And yet this doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t discourage others from hitting people. If you’re at a bar and you notice that one popped-collar-American Eagle wearing chucklefuck spills his Bud Light on another popped-collar-American Eagle wearing chucklefuck, you really should be the first one in there screaming, “Fight! Fight! Fight!” Because, no matter how old you are, seeing two drunken jackasses slap at each other because neither one can take a punch is hilarious.

Revised Rule: Pressure others into hitting each other for your amusement.

Kindergarten: Put things back where you found them and clean up your own mess.

College: You know what? You’re in your 20’s now. If you feel like coming home from a hard day’s work (read: one 45-minute class and three hours at your student worker job) and feel like taking off your pants and throwing them on the kitchen floor, then you should be able to do just that. Besides, who was the one that ever said dirty clothes have to go in the hamper, dishes have to go in a cupboard, and uneaten food has to go in the trash? Maybe cold spaghetti belongs on the floor. Who the hell are you to tell spaghetti where to live? You are not the boss of spaghetti.

Revised Rule: Heave stuff wherever it’s most convenient to you.

Kindergarten: Flush.

College: Look, sometimes there’s no time to flush in between vomiting profusely and passing out on your bathroom floor. In this case, shouldn’t your focus be on not smashing your face into the tile floor as opposed to making sure that your waste is properly disposed of?

Revised Rule: Try to remember to flush, but really, don’t worry too much about it. After all, who the hell do you have to impress?

Kindergarten: Warm cookies and cold milk are good for you.

College: Well, if that’s true, then warm Ramen noodles and a cold beer must be good for you too. Wait right here, I’ll alert the media.

Revised Rule: Eating unhealthy food will make you stronger. It will also make you slightly pudgy, but that’s neither here nor there.

Kindergarten: Take a nap every afternoon.

College: Actually, I’m in totally agreement with this. In fact, don’t just limit your naps to the afternoon. Feel free to take them as often as you can. Sometimes just getting out of bed tires me out so much that I need to lie down on my couch for a few hours.

Revised Rule: Nap as much as possible.

Kindergarten: When you go out in the world, watch out for traffic, hold hands and stick together.

College: Yeah, you go ahead and try to hold hands with your frat brother as you two head down to a kegger. See how well that goes over.

Revised Rule: When you go out into the world, make sure your buddies aren’t passed out in the bushes somewhere or about to get their asses kicked by the lacrosse team. Other than that, those idiots are on their own.

Kindergarten: Be aware of wonder. Remember the little seed in the Styrofoam cup: the roots go down and the plant goes up and nobody really knows how or why, but we are all like that.

College: Um, is Robert Fulghum telling us we should experiment with drugs? Because it sounds like Robert Fulghum is telling us we should experiment with drugs.

Revised Rule: I don’t even really know what the hell that rule is supposed to be talking about.

Kindergarten: Goldfish and hamsters and white mice and even the little seed in the Styrofoam cup—they all die. So do we.

College: Forget that. From the ages of 17 to 26, you’re invincible. Everyone knows that. Frankly, in those nine years, you’re like the Highlander. The only way you can die is if someone cuts off your head in order to steal your power. And how often do you think that’s going to happen? Pretty infrequently, my friend, pretty infrequently.

Revised Rule: Death is merely an illusion!

Kindergarten: And then remember the Dick-and-Jane books and the first word you learned—the biggest word of all—LOOK.

College: Well, LOOK is probably the second biggest word of all when it comes to college life. The first, of course, being DRINK. Yeah, if one word is going to sum up your college career, it’s most likely going to be DRINK.

Revised Rule: DRINK, you bastard! Then LOOK, then STARE. Because titties like those won’t last forever, my friend.
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