Dating 101

With Valentine’s Day coming up, I think this is a better time than ever to talk about dating. Despite the rise of “Netflix and chill” sessions, going outside of each other’s bedrooms is still an important part of dating. And contrary to what Twitter wants you to think, girls do not need a man to drop $200 on a date to be happy.

Around this time of year I see a lot of people out here acting up on and offline, saying the likes of “I’m doing me, I love myself enough for the both of us” and “I’M SAVING MONEY BY BEING SINGLE THIS YEAR.” These people are a) hurt b) in denial or c) have deluded themselves into thinking that dating has to be extremely expensive and are mad because they don’t think they can compete. It is one thing to be truly working on one’s self, getting your money up, and generally being comfortable in your single status, but I don’t think those people are crying for attention on social media. There is nothing wrong with wanting love or seeking out a companion, and you should not let the process of dating, your financial status, or anything else intimidate you if that is what you truly want.

In a world filled with gold diggers, users and girls just out here looking for a meal, I can understand a man’s hesitation to spend money on a woman, especially in the initial stages of getting to know her. What if she’s not as cute as she looked online? What if she orders everything on the menu and spends all your money?  It’s risky, sure, so many times people take the safer lazier approach and try to “kick it at the crib” instead of going out. I do not care if you are just out of college working part-time to find a job or you are making six figures in some morally corrupt Wall Street gig: take her out! Abandon this notion that dates need to be an expensive dinner and a movie and think outside of the box. Museums, concerts, art shows, going somewhere new are just some of the things hardly cost a thing. Not to mention they are more memorable and impressive than a guy throwing down half of his paycheck on dinner then asking when you are going back to your place.

Ladies have a responsibility when it comes to dating, too. I am all about girls picking up the phone, making plans and introducing a guy to something he has never experienced. Hell, I’m even cool with *GASP* picking up the tab sometimes. If anything, it shows a respect for the guy you are getting to know (if a true partnership is what you’re after.)  A man should make a good amount of effort to express genuine interest, but let’s not place the financial completely on his shoulders. Remember: dating should be fun, not stressful. If you are looking for a trick, then by all means let that man take you out and order an appetizer, steak, dessert and whatever the hell you want on his dime. If you are looking for a partner, eventually a guy taking you out over and over again without any sort of reciprocation will lead to resentment. If your outlook is “men have to pay for everything” then you cannot get mad when a dude asks you why you are not abiding by traditional gender roles by making him a sandwich in the kitchen.

Side note: if you are strictly looking for sex, you do not have to do the whole “dating” thing.  Both men and women have the power to establish a sexually-based relationship from the beginning, and you never even have to leave the house! In 2015 I would love everyone to please stop the bullshit and tell people what you want. Taking a girl out solely so you can smash is disingenuous and shady will have a girls angrily showing up at your home because you sent mixed signals. If you are looking to actually connect with someone, make efforts that aid the process (i.e. going outside and bonding.) I completely understand that house dates are a low-effort way of getting to know someone, but trust me you can save the boring stay at home stuff for when you are exclusive or married.

The perfect date allows two people to comfortably explore each other’s personalities and experience something new all while staying in their respective financial lanes – the possibilities are endless! I just told this guy that I wanted to take him to a BYOB ceramic studio ($15) because booze + crafts sounds like a win-win situation to me.

Keeping It Casual

My mom called me the other day to say that she had read my blog and thought it was fabulous and asked me about the men in my life. I immediately put her on “limited profile on Facebook and asked her politely to please stop reading it ASAP. There are just some things you do not want your mom to see no matter how close you are, and this post is one of them.

Friends with benefits, f*ck buddies, situationships- the media has normalized these types of relationships within the realm of hook-up culture. Some people choose to incorporate casual sexual relationships as a part of their lifestyle, while others prefer the monogamous route. There is nothing wrong with either, but I think its a good idea to know what you are about to get into should you find yourself agreeing to a casual set up. Over time I have learned that there are actual levels to the game, and I have talked to my fair share of ladies on their take on these relationships. Note: if you are offended by women being real (surprise, we like sex too!) or just can’t handle the truth stop reading now.

1. F*ck buddies: Perhaps you met at a bar, club, or online. Your daytime conversations are far and few between, unless you’re arranging a meet up later that day. You probably don’t talk about anything too substantial when you are together, and that’s either because they are boring, vapid, or you’re deliberately trying not to bond so you do not get attached. Maybe you are keeping them on the back burner until another relationship is on the road to becoming serious. Unless you can handle the after-sex intimacy, its recommended that you do not stay over. And since you probably do not talk about other people you are dating/hooking up with/etc., you need to be using protection.

Time limit: This type of situation can be extremely satisfying for months or even longer, as long as you make sure this is not the only person of the opposite sex you are communicating with. Please let that sink in because if you do not, you may start thinking “what if…” and imagine this person as more than your dick supply. Hopefully you have had a few conversations about the criteria of your relationship and you are completely on board. You cannot delude yourself into thinking you are “chill” with this arrangement: you either are or you’re not. Any change of heart needs to be discussed sooner rather than later before anyone gets hurt.

2. Friends With Benefits/FWB: In this relationship you can actually be friends who just happened to fall into bed together after a few too many tequila shots or just be acquaintances and enjoy each others company/have semi-deep conversations/maybe kick it outside of each other’s bedrooms. This dynamic can be more or less successful depending on the amount of feelings are actually invested in the friendship. Because you are not complete strangers who only communicate about sex, it could probably be easier to fall for or get rejected by someone who you care about as a friend and could make the friendship temporarily awkward as shit.  As with f*ck buddies you should steer away from talking about the other people you might be seeing and enjoy the moment in the present with them. Also, if you are in the same friend group please keep it as discreet in order to avoid any potential messiness for as long as possible.

Time limit: This is tricky, but I would not put a time stamp on this one. It really depends on whether romantic feelings develop or not, if one of you meets someone else, or one of you gets tired of explaining the situation to mutual friends. Luckily I have yet to want to bang any of my male friends so I never had this problem.

3. The Situationship: Ah, the situationship. Probably the most confusion of the three, because as the title implies you are not exactly in an official relationship but you are certainly involved in some capacity. One or both of you are likely straddling the fence of full-on relationship behavior: you have been hanging out for months, stay at each other’s homes and often take things public and meet family and friends. Hell, in 2015 children may be involved. When people ask who you are to one another, however, suddenly “its complicated.” This is the most discouraging type of relationship because someone on Twitter decided that “a bond is stronger than a title” and ever since then women have been losing. If after 4 months you are saying “he/she’s just not ready for a relationship yet,” you are likely in a situationship.

Time limit: One month-forever. If the less-interested party plays their cards right, the situationship can literally last forever. Waiting for the one party (typically the man) to decide you are actually in a legitimate partnership is the equivalent of thinking the world is going to end in 2012 according to the Mayan calendar: its fucking stupid. Unfortunately once a situationship reaches a certain stage the person who is more emotionally involved has probably developed a certain level of dependency on the other. This is all well and good if both parties are fine with this arrangement, otherwise it inevitably spells disaster for at least one person involved.

Many people try to bring science into this and say women release bonding hormones during sex, making them unable to handle casual relationships. This is bullshit as I know many women who can and sometimes do it better than the boys. These are women perhaps who do not want to date at the moment, but also don’t want to live the life of a nun. I truly admire these women who pull this off, because being able to separate sex from emotions can be incredibly difficult for some – I personally have been able to exist in these types of relationships for only short periods of time and try to be clear with anyone I am involved with.

Whether casual or not, the most important elements of any relationship are communication and trust. It is not even just about being honest with the other person, but also with yourself – because this “buddy” is not really yours, you have the freedom to walk away whenever you feel like the relationship has reached its end. This could be any number of reasons such as you are bored, you want to take things past the casual stage, or you simply begin to feel uncomfortable. While many say that one person is bound to develop feelings, these types of arrangements can be the best situation for some – perhaps not for the long haul, but at least for the moment. Proceed with caution.

Dating Older Guys

I found a meme on Instagram, the all-knowing source of wisdom and knowledge, that read “Beyonce is married to Jay Z. Beyonce was in kindergarten when Jay was in middle school, so look past men your age and you might just find your husband!” After getting over the creepiness of this this analogy, I laughed. It got me thinking about one of the most frequently brought up topics between myself and my girlfriends since we before we even hit high school: dating older men.

There is something incredibly alluring an older guy (and before anyone jumps to conclusions I am not talking about someone’s dad or a 50 year old sugar daddy – I mean someone just a few years ahead of you.) There is an element of mystery to someone who has more experience than you in almost every area of life – even if its just a couple of years worth – especially when you are still figuring your shit out. College and your twenties are some of the most transformative years of your life, and those going through it know just significant these lessons and experiences are. Meeting a guy who has, for the most part, grown into himself and at least somewhat knows what he wants is extremely refreshing for girls who go crazy with the frequent indecision and unpredictability of guys their own age. And if the older bae in question has the ability to pass some of that wisdom onto you in a non-condescending way it is absolutely a bonus and hot as hell.

The appeal of older men is evident from early in a girl’s life: movie plots revolve around it, teenage rebellion thrives on it (sorry dad!), and the mystique of college boys fuels the imaginations of high school girls everywhere. When I was 13 I crushed on pretty much every 16 year old snowboarding instructor I saw. When I was a freshman in high school I had the absolute BIGGEST crush on a senior guy because my 15-year-old brain swooned at the thought of his maturity and sensitivity that freshman boys just did not possess (ha!) When I was a high school senior heading off to college I thought “wow I can’t wait to meet mature college boys!!!!” We are talking about almost a decade of this type of thinking, and I’m confident that I am not the only one.

As a post-grad, this concept of dating “up” is more relevant than ever. I cannot speak on all men just like I cannot speak for all women, but the men my age I have met since graduating school are the exact same beer pong playing, keg-chugging, dick -slinging college boys they were 4 months ago, except now they have more money and more freedom – a recipe for disaster.  This is particularly true in a city like New York, which many call Disney Land for adults and statistics show is the home of George Clooney types who refuse to settle down until they are pretty much forced to at gunpoint. Despite the literal millions of people out there the dating can sometimes seem particularly sad, just as it may seem in a small town or college setting. Now before someone comes at me with “NOT ALL GUYS ARE _____”, let me just say there are obviously younger guys out here who are open to relationships, are more mature for their age, know how to treat the ladies etc. They are unicorns.

Girls admire older guys for the same reasons guys lust after older women: confidence, wisdom, security and attractiveness. I mean, a guy who knows EXACTLY what he wants, is direct, and is straight up with his feelings about me? Sign me up.  These days, my friends seem to exclusively date older, citing 26 and up as the best fit for them on an emotional and physical standpoint. The first relatively older guy I went out with this summer planned almost every date in full, picked me up, asked me actual questions about myself, openly answered my own and held conversation outside of trying to pass go and collect $200 (a Netflix and chill session.) He opened his car door for me, walked me to my door followed up after he got home. I was borderline mindfucked, because so much of the basic treatment that women appreciate is so often overlooked by men our age. I realized that concern and thoughtfulness is what I want and need in a potential partner, and it is not being someone’s fuck buddy, blunt roller, or alcohol supplier.

I really hope nobody takes this article as shitting on twenty-something year old guys. I’m also not saying that dating an older guy will always be sunshine and rainbows cause we’ve all heard of some older guys who use jedi-mind tricks to fuck up your life. But I truly believe that every girl should try an older guy at least once. If you never try you’ll never know.

“Cuffing Season”

I left my apartment to head to work this morning in my sundress I felt had not gotten enough wear this summer, only to walk outside and smell something peculiar. I stopped. It was a very particular smell, one that only comes once a year and every time it scares the living shit out of me. It was the slight smell of bitterness in the air, which most of us Northerners know indicates summer ever so slowly turning into fall. But us younger adults all know fall + colder weather – the options of summertime + thirst = cuffing season. It’s simple math.

As with most modern dating terms, “cuffing season” was something I was introduced to in college and immediately took issue with it. My freshman self was quick to ask “why is this a thing? Why would you put a time limit on a relationship before it even develops?” Now older and somewhat wiser I completely understand the concept of the cuff.

For those who are unfamiliar, “cuffing season” is the period between October-March (though the exact dates are debatedd) where all of a sudden everyone and their mother gets boo’ed up. You can’t walk down the street without wanting to throw up all over every hand-holding couple and the “good morning” texts your best friend receives every morning. I can only assume this “season” was created by a guy who wanted the perks of a girlfriend in the comfort of his own home during the cold winter months, but with an expiration date attached – so that come March, he could get back out there and start prepping for spring break and the months of summer flings ahead. The signs that cuffing season has begun are imminent: sweater dresses and boots start coming out, going out becomes less appealing, and dudes you haven’t heard from since Memorial Day all of a sudden creep out of the woodwork with a “hey stranger!” text. When you get this, know that winter is coming.

I am certainly not mad at whoever came up with this one because there is something brilliant about it – and I know many ladies who actively look to cuff because both sexes can agree that cuddling up on a Saturday night is infinitely more enjoyably than trekking through 12+ inches of snow to get to the bar. While some people want someone to come to their family’s Christmas dinner or ring in the New Year with, most of us just want someone to come over for take out, a movie, and fun. I do think there is some hope in all of us that our winter buddy will end up being something more, but that might just be me. I warned you that I am Drake-level soft.

The two things that irk me about this time of year is the expectation that a) you have to lower your standards for a winter boo and 2) there is a definite expiration date. I am personally not going to shack up all winter with someone I wouldn’t be bothered with in the summer, so when I decide to cuff someone, I refuse to pick someone with qualities I don’t want in a potential partner down the line. Also, geography plays a huge role on who is cuffed as nobody is trying to take an inter-borough commute during a storm.

As with all things, the terms of the cuff would have to be established beforehand to avoid (or try to avoid) potential heartbreak come Valentine’s Day. After all, this is more or less an agreement to satisfy both parties with whatever level of companionship they are looking for to get them through the cold, dark winter. Keep your eyes peeled and remain alert for the heightened level of thirst and “have a great day beautiful” texts as to not fall for the first person who tries to temporarily lock you down for 4-5 months. Do not be afraid to skip the BS and ride out your winter solo instead of lowering your standards just to tell your friends that you have a cuddle buddy on a Saturday night. Most of all, communication is key regardless of the season, so make sure you are getting what you want out of what should be a wonderful, mutually beneficial experience.

On Being Alone

We all know that girl – she is hopelessly romantic, has a new boyfruend every couple months and uses social media to broadcast her relationship status. You can log on to Twitter, Facebook or Instagram at any moment and essentially catch yourself up on the happenings of her relationship, and her tone of voice fluctuates depending on whether or not her and the boyfriend are on good terms. On Monday she may post “me and my baby forever and always 8.6.2014 xo” but by the end of the week she’s angrily tweeting “SINGLE!” Her ever-changing outlook on love is evident amongst her friend group too, who have to deal with her mood swings. When booed up, everything is sunshine and rainbows and subtle shade towards her single friends. But when single, she is absolutely miserable until someone new comes into the picture.

The sad thing is that this is not simply behavior of high school girls, but grown women too. I thought maybe some of this behavior would end after age 19 but it is more common than ever to see people broadcasting the entirety of their private life in public. It is one thing to like being in a relationship, but another to need one to complete you and validate your existence.

Anyone who knows me knows I love love. I think a fulfilling, mutual, and loving relationship is one of the best things life has to offer, but it is not a necessity. After college, I learned to truly enjoy being alone and actually enjoy it. Still, being “alone” has a very negative connotation for most people, especially young women. If someone had told me that being single was fun a year ago I probably would have laughed and conclude they were just trying to justify their loneliness. Admittedly, I was a serial monogamist in part trying to fill a void that existed after a previous relationship was ended. If I wasn’t in a relationship, I would think there was something wrong with me if I didn’t at least have someone to talk to casually or “come over and chill” on any given night. So many of us strive to be booed up, its hard to take it when we don’t have someone by our side, accessible physically or emotionally at any part of the day. This is particularly try for newly single people who need a quick replacement to their sudden loneliness, which I understand. What I DON’T understand is how someone can jump from person to person without taking a breath for some self-reflection. These people who feel that they need a relationship tend to make the same mistakes repeatedly and do not truly grow.

Single people are not exempt from these issues. Some people, even out of relationships, can’t let a day go by without finding someone of the opposite sex to talk to. Whether its someone to like their Instagram post or someone to make small talk with during class or a work day, some singles still need that constant attention. Yes, we all want to feel valued and wanted, but a few days or even weeks of solitude is not just normal but beneficial. And you do not have to justify this time away from the dating world, because I guarantee you that girl who is “in love” is not at all as happy as she seems.

If you do not know by now I am unapologetically single. I was not always this way and it took me almost a year to get there, but its more liberating than anything. On nights where I don’t have someone to go out with, I take myself out. We spend so much time trying to please others, not realizing that life is much more enjoyable when you respect and live for your own health and happiness. People always tell you to love yourself first which sounds like bullshit but is actually something to hold dear to you. Only you have the power to recognize your faults, your daddy/mommy issues, or your insecurity and actually enjoying being in your own skin. True satisfaction begins within, and that is something nobody else will ever be able to give you.

What Do You Bring To the Table?

Let me start this post off by saying I am all about people striving for the best in all aspects of their lives from personal to professional. I do not ever want to see people settling for less than they deserve in love or in life. With the exception of becoming president, I believe that most of our dreams are not outlandish and can be achieved with the right amount of confidence, dedication, and a strong work ethic.

Something I have noticed recently, specifically within my age group, is that most people have a whole lot of confidence, which is great, but low levels of authentic dedication and an even weaker work ethic. Somehow we have come to believe that simply by going through the motions we can be “great” when really we are on the road to being average at best. Every day I go online and see countless posts about “making it”, and while everyone has a different measure of success, the ideas pretty much remain the same. I probably read about 10 “I’m going to make a million by the time I’m 30 #dontbelievemejustwatch” tweets before noon on any given day, but most of these people are folks I know in real life who spend more time online than anything else. What are YOU doing to make your dreams a tangible reality? You want to be a millionaire? What are you doing to make that happen? Your friends say you’re pretty and that you should model? Instagram is great but separate yourself, get some professional photos taken and put yourself out there. You want to be an activist or motivational speaker? Use social media, of course, but get out there and make a difference in your community too. You want to be a rapper? Great. Nobody is going to discover your greatness while you put minimal effort into your craft (production, image, promotion, etc.)

Many of my peers are seniors, and are furiously on the job hunt. Many times I hear these students complaining about how they have not gotten hired yet. News flash: just because you are “nice”, “work hard”, and have a high GPA does not mean shit. Recognize that in the job search YOU are not doing the company a favor by applying, and unless you literally shit gold there is a chance that you will lsoe out on job opportunities to one of the thousands of candidates they are looking at. In this competitive job climate, being a “recent grad” is not enough: the employer has to see why they should do you a favor and hire YOU.

The same basic outlook on achievement transfers over to relationships as well. From a young age we are told to “reach for the stars” and women in particularly are told to find the one who treats them like a “princess”. I do not want to blow up anyone’s fantasy right now but none of us are princesses, and as much as we deserve to be respected and cherished, the men in our lives should be receiving that same respect in full…not coming to “save us” and put in all of the work. We all want a loving, sexy, smart, successful, and respectful man but what are we doing to attract them? I have heard people say that if they meet a man who is not fully established by 25, he is no longer in the running as a potential partner. But the question you should ask yourself is where will you be when you are 25, and if you will be deserving of a fully mature man who has his shit together by then (which is only a couple years from now, by the way). Many men are guilty of this too: she has to be a 10 but you’re a strong 6 at best, she has to have her own but you can barely provide for yourself, and she must be loyal but you are out here pretending to be single. I really need to know, aside from mediocre sex and having a car, what do you bring to the table? 

For me personally, I know that I am in no place for a relationship because I am not at my best. I know my strengths: I am giving, compassionate, a good communicator, positive, smart, and driven. But I am about to move to NYC with no concrete plan whatsoever except for where I am going to live. Do I want to jump into a career right away? Do I want to travel? Do I want to go to grad school next year? I don’t know the answers to these yet, but I do know that I want to be more established and make choices on my own before I bring somebody else into my world. Right now it is chaotic and the only thing that I am certain about is that I want to explore and find out things for myself. While eventually I will want a partner who stimulates me on all levels and makes me want to set my solo status aside, I want to be at a certain level of success and maturity so that I am ready to elevate that person with me.

This post is not to knock anyone’s dreams, but simply to shine light on the fact that for most, success does not come easy. Not everyone gets “discovered” and not everyone makes $100,000 a year by doing the bare minimum. Not everyone’s first job is their dream job, and not all of us are going to become famous writers or video vixens who get to make their living off of writing tell-all novels (do we really want that life anyway?) I want us all to be great, and in turn attract and achieve what we truly deserve at work, at home, or wherever we choose to go. While we all deserve the best, but we need to make sure that we are our best selves first.

Dear MU Ladies

Dear Lovely MU Freshman Girls (Sophomore and Junior Ladies, too!)

Welcome to the bubble. Over the next four years you will lose your mind (more than once), doubt yourself, and maybe feel an intense and out of the blue need to buy your first pair of Sperrys (don’t). After the initial culture shock, you will find your friends, acquire a wealth of information (some useful, some not so much), and learn about yourself to an extent you ever thought possible.

On education

School, regardless of your major, will make you feel hopeless at times. Other times it will inspire you to the point where you may get emotional during class and have you calling your parents afterwards (its happened to me…no judgement). You will be awakened, you will stress, some nights you may live in King, and by your senior year (or in my case, junior year) you will be OVER IT…in the best way possible. It’s all a part of the experience, and while Miami plan may not be your favorite thing in the world you will, believe it or not,  take a lot of that pricey liberal arts education with you.

Side note: If you are struggling, go to office hours! Even if you’re not struggling, go. You do not realize how much professors appreciate the efforts of their students, and you should never feel embarrassed for wanting that little extra push.

On friends

It’s been said before, but the friends you made freshman year will most likely not be the same you ended up with. Some of us are lucky enough to have held onto that core group, but its absolutely fine if you don’t. Whether or not you want to admit it, you will change in college, so its only natural that your friends will too. That being said, do not hold onto friendships that are no longer positive or beneficial for either parties. Sure it sucks to invest time in people, but sometimes you have to move on.

There will be times, especially as a minority student, that you encounter some sh*t that straight PISSES YOU OFF.  You may feel like you cannot relate to anybody around you, but there are so many people who do not fit the stereotypical Miami mold. At such a seemingly one-dimensional school it is normal to feel like an outsider or discriminated against. These experiences will make you stronger and you will learn how to react appropriately, check people when they step out of line, and teach them how to break out of their small-mindedness. To be fair, you have to be open-minded as well and willing to get out of your comfort zone. Some of my best friends and fondest memories required me to be daring.

Your friends will be your backbone, emotional support system, family away from home, your everything. Do not take them for granted, make time for them, and above all make sure to be there for them as much as they are there for you. TAKE PICTURES (and video). Always. I don’t care how cool you think you are. You’re going to want to capture these moments.

Go Greek, or don’t. I didn’t because it was not for me as a person and I knew this from the jump. Yes there are tons of sororities and fraternities on campus, but there are also other ways to get involved. Find which method is best for you and work it.

On love, sex, and relationships

It’s okay to take a break from your high school boyfriend as you both navigate through this insanely unpredictable time of your life. It’s okay to break up with your college boyfriend for the same reasons. If you’re meant to be together, you may find your way back to each other. Or you won’t, either way you will live (you know how many guys are out there, even in tiny ass Oxford, right?)

And yes, there will be boys. You will meet them. You will date them. You will be confused by them (and vice versa). Establish your own lines of communication from the beginning and never assume. “Talking” to someone is a bullshit term someone made up, and does not mean you and the guy you are interested in are in a monogamous partnership. Sounds silly, but you will get hurt if you are fully dedicating yourself to a guy who is not doing the same. Communicate, and don’t take anything too seriously…except your school work. Nobody wants to be here more than 4 years. True shit.

Hook up culture: It’s real. It is not necessarily replacing date culture altogether, but know it is out there and prevalent. Participate if you WANT to, but not for any other reason. Don’t do it because you want to be “cool”, “fit in”, or want to prove that you’re a “down” chick. College is a place where many explore their sexuality, but it is all about being smart and in tune with yourself. Know what you want and if a serious relationship is what you’re after, don’t be afraid to go get that and be clear about that. Be smart, and don’t fall for every slick talking guy with a cute smile (they will sweet talk the sh*t out of you and you gotta have your BS meter on 10). DO NOT feel pressured to do anything outside of what you want to do or that you owe anyone anything. Also, if you don’t know already, sex is never a guaranteed gateway into a relationship or a mechanism to trick anyone into a relationship. I just have to let you know because some people apparently still think that’s how shit works.

Now on the other hand if you want to let your freak flag fly, DO THAT. As women, we are always forced to suppress our desires in accordance with what a masculine majority believes. I’m going to need all of you to stop giving a shit about what men think. Be sexy, confident, and open with who you are and don’t question it for a second. Do this as early as possible, because I definitely spent way too much of my college experience trying to abide by the “rules” of what a “good girl” should be. Do what you want, be safe, and don’t regret it for a second. End of discussion.

On that note, explore! No that does not necessarily mean experiment with every guy on campus but do not for one second think that one guy on campus who you kind of hand a connection with is your soul mate. I don’t even believe in soul mates so I’m not going to speak on this further. But do not put any man on a pedestal or before your own needs, happiness, and desires. Sure, relationships are about compromise but if you find yourself sad in a situation more than you are happy its ok to bounce. Know that when one door closes, another opens. That statement is corny as hell but its real.

On everything else

Partying

Miami parties. Hard. You know this, I know this. I went from being a high schooler who thought “people who need to be drunk to have a good time are pathetic” to a happy hour aficionado. Don’t know anybody’s lifestyle, and do not feel pressured to party…even if the rest of campus is at Beat the Clock sippin on trashcans and pitchers. Again, the message is do you.

Events

Attend at least one athletic event. May I suggest hockey (our football team is garbo). Even if you aren’t into sports, try it out. It’s free, and I guarantee even if you think you are “better” you will become a fan. If you don’t fall in love with the sport, you’ll at least fall for the atmosphere that you’ll never experience again.

Go to the Freshman orientation concert, speakers events at Hall, Spring Fest, Career Fair, a concert at Brick, run the trails behind the football field, join a club team. Oxford may be a tiny town, but you should never be bored.

Put the phone down!

I get we all love our technology but I recommend you look up during your walks to class sometimes. We do go to one of the most beautiful schools in the world (despite the constant construction), so look around every once in awhile. When out for dinner with your friends, watching a movie, or during an interesting lecture, send that Snapchat, snap that quick Insta, then put the phone away.

People

If there’s one thing you can count on during these crazy for years is that people will always have something to say. You cannot please everyone, only yourself, so do more of that. Don’t take social media personally, don’t succumb to any of the many labels surrounding Miami students. People take pleasure in making others feel inferior, especially with social media sites like Twitter, Yik Yak, and Insta at the epicenter of it all. Don’t fall for it, and feel free to take a social media cleanse from time to time (it is a blessing and a curse).

End

Despite the occasional sting of doubt, failure, stress, heartbreak, or whatever petty shit I have gone through during college, I could not imagine having gone anywhere else. These were undeniably  the best four years of my life, and I know that with this education behind me the best is yet to come (or maybe that’s the “optimist” in me.) I would not have done it differently for anything, and I will hold the memories of these four years with me for the rest of my life. I can only hope when you reach graduation day that you feel the same.