Bateman: College — Scratching the 7-year itch

By Oliver Bateman

Much has been made of puberty, a magical period that occurs some time during high school. Those… Much has been made of puberty, a magical period that occurs some time during high school. Those of you who can grow convincing facial hair know all about it, and the rest of you have at least heard of it because it’s on television so much. What you probably don’t know anything about, though, are the equally magical changes that will take place during your college years. Since we’re getting paid the big bucks to serve up heaping helpings of USDA Choice advice, you’re in store for a hard dose of the straight dope.

Laziness. Everything gets better with time, and your ability to sit around doing nothing is no exception to that rule. Whether you’re transfixed by the thrilling comeback of heroic Eagles quarterback Michael Vick or just comatose following the consumption of too many $5 pizzas, there’s always a good reason to put off until some indeterminate point in the future what you should have done two or three years ago. By the time you’re a seventh-year senior without a medical redshirt or other compelling reason to justify your delayed graduation, your laziness skills will be second to none.

Hair loss. Remember those commercials for hair restoration products that used to amuse you and your junior high friends? “Ha ha ha, look at those silly bald men, clinging desperately to their fading youth,” you might have said as you ran your fingers through your thick, lustrous dreadlocks. Well, it’s now five or six years later, and your hairline, which has receded further than the glaciers, is looking pretty sorry. That free-30-day-supply-of-Rogaine infomercial sounds like a great deal now, huh?

Learning. In addition to student-loan debt, you accumulate an enormous storehouse of knowledge during your undergraduate career. Most of this knowledge consists of important facts, such as what year the car was invented and how much the Statue of Liberty weighs, that you can use to your advantage during a rousing game of bar trivia. The math formulas and difficult vocabulary words will come in handy when you attempt to ace your next round of standardized tests. Even if you haven’t learned much, you’re surely better informed than you were when you were in first grade. The next time your folks hassle you about your “meaningless” degree, shut them up by telling them who the vice president is and then proceeding to count backward from 100.

Drug and alcohol tolerance. Even if you partied hardy during your high school days, it was unlikely that you had the kind of amazing tolerance you do today. Drinking in college is a commitment that requires tremendous focus. Do you know how difficult it is to wake up at noon, drink a bottle of wine to kill the hangover and then spend the rest of the day working through two more cases of beer? If you’ve given 110 percent on the party circuit, you’ll understand what we’re talking about.

Dating. You might have been an awkward, pencil-necked geek in high school, but college is the place where you reinvent yourself and win the girl or guy of your dreams. After hitting the gym for some “hardgaining” and the library to brush up on that foolproof “Mystery” dating methodology, you’ll start opening sets and blazing your own trail of tears through a long line of unsuspecting significant others. By the time you graduate, you’ll be so skilled at “getting some” that marriage will seem like a refreshing change of pace. Remember that whatever happens in the Cathedral of Learning stays in the Cathedral of Learning — and not just because that iconic building is so hard to clean!

Jobs. Back in the old days, when this economy wasn’t so bad, people sometimes finished college and started working real jobs. Those of you who study nursing and engineering might still know what we’re talking about, but it’s a jungle out there for everyone else. According to something we might have seen on the Internet, there’s a job opening somewhere in Kansas. Even if you don’t know much about Kansas, you might consider checking it out. Fun fact about Kansas: Pizza Hut was founded there.

Growth spurts. Think your only growth spurt occurs in high school? Wrong times infinity, friends! Owing to the miracle of elastic waistband technology and the widespread availability of $5 pizza, you’ll spend the next five years expanding horizontally. Luckily, the lax dress code that prevails here at college will enable you to cloak that new adipose under a soft coating of hoodies and loose T-shirts.

No matter how you cut it, college will be one of the most important periods in the life of anyone who goes to college. You will undergo many fabulous changes while making thousands of Facebook friends and possibly even a few real ones. The stories you will be able tell your children are priceless — because, when you think about it, how could you possibly put a price on the unfolding saga of Pitt football?

Oliver Bateman is the junior admissions officer at the Moustache College of America. Apply for one of our best-selling correspondence courses at