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College Guide

The archetypal students, and how to handle them

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The Bro-Dog

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The Enlightened One


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):

1. The Bro-Dog

Appearance
Polo shirt (often with the collar popped)
Athletic shorts or Lacoste Bermuda shorts
Sperry's footwear

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 metaphors.
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.

2. The Enlightened One

Appearance
Bed head
Tea breath
Glasses with non-prescription lenses
Notebook full of musings under arm

College Guide
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