1. Who you’ve slept with.
As a college student, your social world constitutes one relatively small, isolated bubble. It’s virtually impossible to have sex with someone and never see that person again when you’re bound to bump into them on the great lawn between classes, at the library, or at the next major party. Inside the tiny nugget that is campus life, news also travels fast, compounding the illusion that your recent tryst with so-and-so is at all worthy of note. The beauty of actual adult life is that it’s far easier to sleep with someone without anyone else finding out. No one really cares who you boink or blow in the real world, and it’s way better that way.
2. The number of people you’ve slept with.
When you’re young and sex is still new, it makes sense to keep track of how many people you’ve slept with. Depending on your personal outlook, every uptick in your number either feels like an accomplishment, or one more devastating step towards becoming a total slut. But the time when people bother to ask about your big bad number fades quickly after you graduate. As long as you’re disease free, the question of how many people you’ve had sex with seems moot once you exit your early twenties. Presumably, you’ve had more than one partner, but no one worth knowing is going to judge you for having five versus twenty-five proverbial notches on the belt.
3. What college you go to.
For so long, your entire life was defined by the work you did to get into college. Every extracurricular activity was assessed for its potential to enrich your college applications. Every test you took was an opportunity to improve your chances at being accepted by the college of your dreams. Guess what? Aside from your fellow alumni, no one really gives two shits where you get your education in the end.
4. What you study.
Similarly, after a certain age no one cares what you studied in college. Yes, certain degrees will position you better for certain careers. But for the most part, companies will hire you because they like you as a human being, and because they think you’re smart and hardworking. The truth is that you’re probably going to have to develop a whole new skill set to do any job well, so what’s important is whether you’re committed, capable of learning, and pleasant to be around (i.e. not smelly). Don’t overestimate the importance of the specific degree you pursue, and don’t underestimate the importance of showering regularly.
5. What your GPA is.
That number that haunts you for four straight years doesn’t matter nearly as much as your parents and professors might like you to believe. The regular world is filled with super successful people who did terribly in college. Kudos if you’re in line to graduate with a first, but don’t bother boasting about that once you walk through the main gates that last time. Why? Because no one will listen except for your mum and dad. Your GPA simply isn’t an accurate indicator of your ability to add value to most professional environments. Everyone knows this except the stressed out college kids chasing that soon-to-be meaningless average.
6. How much you can drink.
Bragging about how much you can drink is the natural offshoot of a lifestyle centered on getting blitzed. Once you leave the binge-drinking oasis that is your college campus, however, you will probably realize that getting blackout drunk isn’t all that rewarding—because it leads to a debilitating hangover (they get worse over the years, people), and because you can’t even remember what was fun about that oh-so-memorable night out. That’s when you’ll curb your alcohol consumption, quickly noting that grownups tend to admire people who keep their shit in check, not those who pride themselves on the speed at which they can puke and rally.
7. How good you are at beer pong.
Drinking games are a great way to get drunk fast. That’s why so many college parties revolve around beer pong, quarters, and other competitions designed to get you wasted on cheap beer asap. It’s easy to understand how winning a tournament might make someone feel great, even if it’s a beer pong tourney and everyone they triumph over ends up passed out on the floor. But talking shit about how good you are at landing a ping pong ball in a cup half full of stale beer won’t get you anywhere outside that frat house. Promise.
8. Just how little you care about stuff.
Not caring is a badge of honour many a laid back, chill-ass college student loves to wear. It could be that the typical collegiate experience is too cozy to leave room for understanding that the world is a crazy weird place rife with reasons to care about things. When you can roll out of bed at 10am in your pyjamas and head to class for an hour before hitting the cafeteria, maybe it’s hard to see that life sucks for a lot of people. Once ripped from the snug little universe that becomes your alma mater, hopefully you figure out just how cool it is to care about shit after all.
9. How many friends you have.
Joe and Jane College know literally everyone. They can’t walk from the dorm to the library without high-fiving at least ten people, they know the location of every party before anyone else, and they can tell you within minutes exactly how you’re connected to a classmate on the campus wide hookup tree. Having so many friends is a crucial part of the college citizen’s identity creation process. But socializing doesn’t typically remain central to a grownup’s life as the years pass. So knowing literally *everyone* won’t always get you laid, or earn you any cool points. Having a few quality relationships in place of tons of quasi-friends might just keep you sane, though.
10. What all your friends are doing *right this second.*
It’s virtually impossible not to live with a certain amount of FOMO throughout college. There’s always so much going on, and you don’t want to be the one who’s not living it up. So you expend lots of energy monitoring all the options and regretting not going out when your friends report that the house party you skipped was indeed everything it was supposed to be. With the wisdom gained from living a few years post college, it should become clear that keeping up with the Kardashians plus all your friends is an exhausting pursuit that might just kill your soul. Truth is, it doesn’t matter what everyone in your social circle is doing at this exact moment. It rarely does. Check in if you genuinely feel like connecting with a pal, but don’t touch base just to fill your brain with more useless details regarding other people’s boring existences.