College is great. It’s basically Hogwarts, except instead of magic there’s booze, and instead of noseless wizards trying to kill you, there’s more booze. Fair trade, I say. But as good as your college is, eventually you get used to it. You have your friends and your routine and suddenly that Freshman year excitement moves to a Sophomore slump followed by the Junior writing-comedy-articles-in-a-class-you-are-failing phase. But if you want to put a little more spice into your collegiate marriage, it’s time to visit a new one. And to do that best, you need a few rules.

 

Don’t be a jerk to your hosts

 

Your hosts, for better or worse, are your anchor. They’re the ones who give you a place to stay, they’re the ones who are going to be making introductions, and, most importantly, they are your friends you were willing to spend a weekend with. But, in a different way, they are going to be really frustrating.

“Small house parties?” You ask. “Let’s rage! Party time!”

“Don’t study” you say at four in the afternoon. “It’s party time!”

“Breakfast?” you say. “More like drink-fast! Party time!”

First, I think you have a drinking problem. Second, you’re forgetting the first things guests forget: that their hosts have lives too. And like they’re accommodating you, you have accommodate them. Maybe they have a problem with that specific frat you want to go to, or they aren’t twenty-one yet. Maybe, dude, what the hell, that’s their sister! The important thing is to be responsible, open-minded, and to remind them that in your defense, their sister is a stone-cold fox.

 

Enjoy the small things

 

See, you’re probably bored of your school, or, at the least, you will be. You know what late food spots are open and what to get there. You know the parties, and who will be at the parties, and how they’ll go. But another school is an opportunity to find the joy in all the things you ignored. A different late-night food item? Do it. Different letters on the frat? Crazy. A bunch of clowns outside making balloon animals for everyone? Insane, except at Clown College. Everyone there is bored of their small things already: use this as an excuse to enjoy all the small things they forgot about.

 

Manage your expectations

 

The problem is that you came to visit a school for a weekend; planning on parties, adventures, and day drinking and before you know it your daydreams involve beautiful New York girls inordinately impressed with someone from the far away land of Massachusetts. When you don’t know what’s going on, your hopes aren’t just hopes: they’re plans. You’re planning on the best weekend of your life and you can’t expect that; it just happens. It’s a surprise when the hamburger-and-whiskey truck breaks down outside your house full of vaguely ethnic girls who are very impressed by mediocre rapping. You can’t just count on it.  And for this school it’s just an ordinary weekend. They did not receive a memo about your arrival, and if they did, it probably wasn’t good. Expect the ordinary; if you want the extraordinary it’s up to you to make it happen.

 

YOLO is not an excuse

 

YOLO stands for, “You only live once” and is often ironically used to approve of things that will make that living once a whole lot shorter. There’s an idea that visiting another college means you can do what you want. That’s not true. Because that means the whole reason you don’t do this stuff at your college; the reason you don’t act like a tool at home, the reason you don’t run shirtless there, the reason you don’t try to catch pigeons in a giant net and eat them like a drumstick just to show them whose boss is just because of your reputation. I don’t like that kind of thinking. Because character is what you do when no one notices, and character is who you really are. If you’re a jerk at a different college, if you can’t wait to tool hard where no-one knows you, well, maybe you’ve been a secret jerk all along. It’s like the end of the Wizard of Oz except kinda depressing.

 

YOLO is also an excuse, when done well

 

YOLO isn’t an excuse to act like a jerk. YOLO is, however, an excuse to make the world your playground where you otherwise can’t. And a different college is a playground.

Do you remember that movie where Jim Carrey has to say “yes” to everything? Of course you don’t, but it got made. Try to be like Jim Carrey in that movie: being payed millions of dollars to coast on the same shtick over and over. If you can’t swing that, just keep saying yes.

See, all the tiny obstacles to “yes” are gone here: you’re not bored of these things or these people. You don’t have your comfy bed and Netflix to go back to; you have a floor to pass out on. Away from home, anything can happen, and if you keep momentum forward, your odds go up. Of course I want to get food later, guys I just met. Absolutely lets head to some other party. I’ll take your word for it that cops think this is really funny and in no way will arrest us.

 

Be yourself, except when another self is more fun

 

At other colleges and parties, you can be who you want. I don’t encouraging lying, so to speak, but self-creation is an amazing thing. It’s the American Dream, really, to be exactly who you want to be if only for a night and now, you can. So change your name and age if you want. Change your school if you want. At other colleges I have different names and ages sometimes. If I ask a girl where she’s from, I often blurt out “me too!” This is how I have been, among other things, Dutch, Lebanese, and Australian. I just roll with it; once I said I co-wrote Paul Blart, Mall Cop and acted like I was really embarrassed about it.

This isn’t as sketchy as it sounds. People figure out you aren’t Australian after you talk about how you drive your kangaroo to school, just hoping in the pouch and steering through telepathy. People know you did not co-write Paul Blart, Mall Cop because you are not the saddest man in the world. And people know you are not good personal friends with Young Jeezy as Young Jeezy is an intensely closed-off man with many entourage members but few true friends. But you get to believe it. And that’s all you need.

 

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That’s the gist of it. Good luck on all your adventures. And if at your college you ever see a guy in a blue shirt, clutching whiskey and telling some girl about the creative process behind Paul Blart in a terrible British accent, come say hello. My name is Michael Young, and I’m a millionaire dog-trainer. Play along and I’ll buy you a drink.