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From Start To Finish: Phases Of College Survival

They told you college will change your life but are you aware just how much? You will enter it half confused, half enthusiastic, and you’ll leave it… well, let’s just say you’ll leave it… eventually.

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Phase 1: Choosing your poison… sorry, college

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You know that one decision that will impact where will you be in ten, twenty and thirty years from now? Well, today is the day you make it. Considering that your biggest decisions so far included pizza or hamburger, this is going to be a tough one.

Phase 2: Sending your application

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Unfortunately, you are not the only poor fella’ starting a new life era, so you will need to do your best to send a great application and not only to that one college you are aiming for, but to some others as well. Yes, it should be enough that you’ve chosen Harvard, but Harvard needs to choose you back – that evil institution.

Phase 3: Getting accepted

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You’re in! It’s the best day of your life. It feels even better than when your elementary school crush gave you that Valentine’s Day card.

Phase 4: “I’m here. Now what?”

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The first day of college must be one of the most exciting days in one’s life, you know, right next to your wedding day and the birth of your first kid. But it is also very confusing. You don’t know anyone, you don’t know where the dorms are, where your classes are and what exactly are you doing there… but hey, exciting, nevertheless.

Phase 5: “Let’s all just get along.”

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During your first days of college you will meet a lot more people than you can remember, and because you don’t know who is who yet, you will try to befriend everyone. You’ll see how, in a few weeks, you won’t even remember that George you went for a drink the first Saturday, or was it Mike?

Phase 6: Finding your crowd

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After a week or so, you will be able to select a couple of comrades to join your fellowship of the college ring, and you’ll probably stick to them for years.

Phase 7: “I’m gonna nail this!”

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Oh, we almost forgot, attending classes is also an important part of college, and for the first couple of weeks and, if you’re really persistent, maybe even months, you will be truly active, and we mean Hermione Granger active…

Phase 8: But then…

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Reality happens, and you’re too overwhelmed with new people, new places, student parties and all the other crucial college activities that you go straight from Hermione-worthy enthusiasm to Ron’s “I don’t understand, and maybe I don’t even want to”, and this can last for years.

Phase 9: “Is this a ‘90s college comedy or real life?”

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The party at college never ends, or at least that’s what they say in the movies. Are you ready for the truth? Well, the movies pretty much nail the whole point, except they often leave out the next stage.

Phase 10: The never-ending hangover

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The room is spinning around you, your head feels like it is going to explode every second now and you’re pretty sure you will not make it through the day. Hey, what’s that, an e-invite to the fraternity party tonight? Game on!

Phase 11: “Can I survive on bread and water?”

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Dozens of parties later and just as many after-midnight pizza deliveries you wake up to see the only paper thing in your wallet is the phone number from that George from phase 5, and it was Ethan all along.

Phase 12: All you can do now is study

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So, no money – no parties, and you can finally do what you’re here for – study. You go into it all enthusiastic, but then you realize that you missed too many classes and don’t have a clue what the books are about.

Phase 13: Getting your act together

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There’s no escaping it, you need to pass those exams. But as Bono Vox put it well: “Sometimes you can’t make it on your own”. Search for motivation and help in study groups, libraries, life-saving website Thinkswap or hell itself if needed - this has to happen!

Phase 14: You’re one of the good guys now

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You’re passing your exams, and everything is going well. You are finally aware of the responsibilities of a proper student.

Phase 15: “This is actually great!”

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There comes a point where everything comes together. You have a great group of friends, you’ve managed to balance fun and work, and you’re actually enjoying college.

Phase 16: You made it little fella!

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Hey, you actually pulled it off! Kudos to you.

Phase 17: Saying goodbye

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Those were some good days, and you’ve made great friends, some of them will stay and some go, but things will never be the same again.

Phase 18: Hello real world!

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Did you have the time to make some plans for the future in between marathon-style studying and even more extensive alcohol-consuming? Probably not. At this point you are confused about what are you going to do with your life and you would like to do the college thing all over again. But the big scary world out there shouldn’t intimidate you. It can’t be much scarier than freshman year… or can it?

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