1) You have a roommate. She plays harp and draws you comics and dances around and talks to herself and is generally wonderful. But you’re very different in a lot of ways, and sometimes what with being in a small cinderblock room together for a very long time you yell some. And maybe get a little sarcastic. But then things boil down, and get understood, and you hug and giggle and go to dinner.
2) Laundry quarters are a commodity.
3) You have other friends too, and some weeks you are especially thankful for them. For things like being hospitable and patient, or accomplishing wonderful, commendable things, or just displaying a whole lot of goodness. Because those are the sorts of things people do in college, sometimes.
4) You have school work. This involves professors and classes and pens and papers and computers. People still whine about their work, and you wonder why they came to college in the first place. You read some poetry and write some essays and learn a lot. You spend time contemplating the nature of humanity. Sometimes grades are connected to money, and it makes you angry and scared and sad.
5) You don’t always get enough sleep and it’s not always your fault.
6) You save tables with wallets and IDs and learn recognize all your friends’ stuff so you can plop yours down next to it, even if they’ve gone off to get food.
7) There is no privacy. Because even when you are in a room by yourself you can hear people talking on the other side of the wall, and it’s not like there’s phone reception anyway.
8) There are couples. I don’t really want to talk about that though. Take Courtship and Marriage and Dr. Thrasher will inform you.
9) You have many long conversations with friends about your families. Also really good food.
10) You’re constantly doing that thing where you meet people for the first time, and have to pretend you don’t already know their entire life story because they’re the friend of a friend or just plain famous and you’ve looked them up in the campus directory. It eventually becomes kind of comedic, so you tend to get giggly and awkward when you meet people.
12) You look forward to weekends even more than you did in high school. (You’re worried that this attitude will only escalate throughout life. And you don’t think it’s healthy.)
13) You still think poop is funny. Somewhere in your soul you will always think poop is funny.
14) You really like intercampus mail. And sometimes you find an old packet of popcorn and write a random box number on it, drop it in the slot and giggle all day long.
15) Sometimes you go exploring and this happens.
16) The school website where you register for classes deserves your mistrust and suspicion. You blame it whole-heartedly when things go awry. You keep a precise record of its wrongs.
17) You go crazy for houses.
18) There are bad days. Sometimes it helps to puff out your lower lip. Then there are very bad days—tea and friends and washing your hair help with those. There are also awful days, but even then there’s help. I’m certain of it.
19) A hug from a little kid is like gold.
20) You grow up some more. A lot more some days. You have to stop defining yourself by your family, and how you look and how you feel and how good your taste and opinions are, and what you can and can’t do, and start to say “Hi, God. Who am I? What is this really?”