The five people you meet in college
The archetypal students, and how to handle them
Published: August 29, 2012
You asked the appropriate questions and penciled in the right bubbles, and you survived high school. Your intensely unique identity — and you are sure it's intensely unique — has been incubating within, saving its reveal for the gloriously progressive environment of college. No more labels, no more cutthroat social branding, no more clique-hopping to find the milieu that best suits you. College will carve out your true self. You just have to show up.
But a funny thing happens as you begin to navigate the halls of higher learning. You begin to see repeats — people who are too easy to categorize, who make you think, "Oh, so you're one of those ..." Yes, even the college system has its robotic cogs. And the longer you stay, the more types you discover. There's the eighth-year senior, who refuses to graduate and looks uncomfortably older than everyone else. There are the husband hunters and the East-bred political types and the super-duper-go-getters, who seem to be involved in every club, group, charity or psychological experiment that the university offers.
But, for starters, I've found there to be five most, well, typical, types. They're the ones you're guaranteed to meet daily, and although they have different faces and license numbers, everything else about them seems the same.
They'll be sitting behind you on the bus. They'll be sleeping in front of you in the classroom. One of them might be your future roommate, one of them might start dating your future roommate, one of them might even be you! They're the five people you'll meet in college, and here's how you'll identify them (warning: stereotyping ahead):
Polo shirt (often with the collar popped)
Athletic shorts or Lacoste Bermuda shorts
Common question: "Bro, where you work out?" (Uttered before asking if you work out.)
Academic habits: Chooses simple classes and rides the curve wherever it leads.
Often found: In front of the TV on Tuesday at 2 p.m., either drinking or nursing a hangover.
iPod playlist: Several workout playlists, one for each day of the week (including Rush, Pitbull, Phish and, secretly, Taylor Swift).
Key words: "Totally," "shredded" and lots of sports metaphor.
Pros: Dude will keep you grounded in the real, giving you "the common touch."
Cons: You will start to answer to "brah" — or anything that sounds like it. He can bruise your knuckles with his fist bump.
How to bluff: Tell him about the last time you blacked out on a yacht after hooking up with a sporto's girlfriend.
The Enlightened One
Glasses with non-prescription lenses
Notebook full of musings under arm
Common question: "What does it all mean?"
Academic habits: Does fairly well, despite irritating professors with monologues and contrarianism. Didn't get into Princeton because his application essays were "too controversial."
Often found: In the library, poring over tomes of philosophy and beat fiction or developing theoretical fixes for every economical problem and international conflict.
iPod playlist: Jack Kerouac Reads On the Road. A lot of bands you haven't heard of.
Key words: "Anthropology," "semiotics," "ennui," "ignorant."
Pros: Will tell you his philosophy of life.
Cons: Will tell you his philosophy of life.
How to bluff: Share your plans for a post-college trip to India under the influence of DMT and Nietzsche. Ask to borrow his copy of The Stranger and comment on his notes.