Kiss My Sass: Lessons Learned in College

Sophia Ottoni-Wilhelm, Opinions Editor

This time of year it’s completely normal to feel totally fried. With everyone on campus desperately trying to cram all the information they possibly can into their brains, the result is often that you start to feel dumber. This column provides some hope in these dark times. Here are a few things I actually have learned through the years…

1. Wear comfortable shoes. One June night, during the summer of 2012, a girl was stomping around Oslo at midnight, angry and sore-footed in five-inch heels. Who was this stupid person? Unfortunately, it was me. As a raging feminist and generally intelligent person, I choose to wear heels very rarely. In fact, if I’m going to an event that doesn’t allow a dress with Chucks, there is a 99 percent chance I’m going to hate whatever it is. But this night in Oslo, when I was visiting my friend from high school for her graduation, was an exception. I learned my lesson. The troop of super sexy, super tan and super-humanly attractive people I was with were definitely not having similar troubles. Perhaps it’s my rural Indiana breeding, I don’t know. I just don’t see the point. I remembered something that a girl I knew in high school once told me: “You’re not a woman if you can’t wear stilettos for a day.” To which I respond, “Go fuck yourself.” Wear comfortable shoes. Just do it. If you ever have to wear shoes that aren’t comfortable, pack a pair of Keds or orthos and whip ’em out at the earliest possible convenience.

2. Drink water. Like all the time. I remember when I made the transition from a couple of cups a day to about 17; it rocked my world. It’s great for your skin, helps with weight, fuels your muscles and improves nerve and brain function. Also, there’s nothing quite as satisfying as clear pee.

3. Washing the dishes is fun. It doesn’t have to suck. Seriously, it doesn’t. I’m going to gooutonalimbandsayitcan even be enjoyable. If you don’t feel the same way, try making a doing-the-dishes playlist. Don’t forget to put “Motivation” by Kelly Rowland on that bad boy (pay close attention to Lil Wayne’s contribution). My realization that doing the dishes doesn’t suck came about during college. Doing something that you don’t have to engage with analytically feels so damn good. I’m sorry, Stevie dishwashers or co-op crew-haters. It’s totally understandable if you don’t feel the same. Don’t forget the soap because cholera is a real thing, especially in developing coun- tries, and I once got it because my roommate didn’t use soap.

4. Old friends are the best. By this I mean friends you’ve been close with for a while and not literally friends who need a walker (although the latter can be super cool, too). You know what they’re about, they know what you’re about. You know they’ll be honest no matter what because you’ve been friends for so long that they give zero fucks about hurting your feelings once in a while. When hanging out with an old friend you regularly get up to all sorts of weird activities (e.g., trading massages in public, examining weird growths, read- ing Cosmo out loud). The best part is that you don’t have to give them background information when you tell them a story because they already know everything about your life. Your dad’s college job, your sister’s affinity toward unicorns, the weird grandma socks you love to wear — none of it comes as a surprise. It’s the perfect relationship since they’ve had years to acclimate to your crazy.

5. Basic math is difficult. Good news! You’re not alone; we’ve all forgotten how to do basic math. Unless you’re a math major, chances are you struggle with basic division, multiplication, addition and subtraction. Just the other day I was stumped by “300 divided by 50” for a good 10 seconds. Not to worry, I eventually figured it out. It’s five, duh.

6. Professors are people. Recently I’ve started feeling calm when meeting with professors. I used to do this thing freshman year where I’d go into office hours, nervous and a little sweaty, so eager to learn but completely unable to speak in succinct, comprehensible sentences. Both of my parents are professors (religion and economics) so I grew up with great dinner time conversations. Aside from that, they’re pretty much normal people — they go on bike rides, nap a ton, make horrible puns and struggle with cell phones. Bottom line, professors are just people. Talk to them just like you would talk to a stranger you’re getting to know. And here’s a little secret — they want to get to know you, too.

7. You don’t know much. The more you read and learn, the more you realize how little you know. Enough said.

8. Fretting about life passing you by is super common. A central part of getting older is freaking out about it. This year IcutupacopyofWhereThe Wild Things Are and put it on my bedroom wall. Sometimes I lie inmybedwithacupofteaand think about reading the book when I was younger and how I found some of the wild things really terrifying, how I loved how Max’s onesie looked with the crown and how sad I was when he left home on his boat. Thinking about younger versions of one’s self is a thing that literally everyone on Earth does. Like Max, we’ve all gotten on the boat and realized how the other side (sometimes) sucks. But it’s going to be OK. Just take the time to smile at some people, do the things you love, run around once in a while and eat some good food whenever you get home.