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Friday, August 22, 2014

The Freshman's Guide to College Life: The Daddy Issues Edition

By now, your Facebook newsfeed is brimming with photos from proud parents of their smiling, happy children packing up and moving into their college freshmen dorms. And while my freshman year is many years behind me, I still remember that odd mixture of fear and excitement, of wariness in leaving my childhood home and my mother's arms and the joy of having a space of my own in a world about which my parents knew nothing. 

But, the only person who knew less than my parents was me, and so I want to talk directly to you, college freshman. While you may have impressive technological sophistication, and while you may think that you know everything (or, a bit more than your parents), everyone has a blind spot, especially the average college freshman, and, more specifically, a freshman woman with daddy issues. Maybe your parents had a bad marriage, maybe your father was emotionally withholding, mentally abusive, or simply not around. Maybe your daddy loves his second family better, or maybe he loves his job better. It doesn't matter, because young lady, you're arriving on campus on a mission, and that mission is to be loved AT ANY COST!! If you are this woman, or if you know this woman, here are simple tips to get you safely started at college and safely out the other side.

There's nothing wrong with dating, but if you've got daddy issues you should avoid the urge to merge at least during the first half of your freshman year. Why? You'll want to focus all of your attention on your new love, even if it interferes with your studies and with your ability to make and develop friendships. Soon you'll be scheduling your meals, laundry, and classes around your 'boo as your insecurities lead you to believe that any time apart means an imminent break-up. You'll sport his fraternity sweatshirt in the dining hall and be his own personal cheerleader during intramural basketball games. Slow down, girl! Get to know yourself and enjoy your independence. And when you do start dating on campus, don't date someone who lives in your dorm as you might be too tempted to casually "bump into" them in a manner that law enforcement calls "stalking." Remember, smothering your boyfriend doesn't make your daddy love you.

Yep, he's an authority figure, and, sure, he looks devastating in front of the chalk board in your freshmen English seminar class, but he's too old for you and, oh, and he's your professor. It's tempting, though, to seek out the affections of an older man, a man who might be old enough to the father who didn't love you enough/at all, but he's not interested, so stop before you make a fool of yourself. So don't wear that low-cut, semi-sheer tank top to his class. Don't lean seductively over his desk in said top to ask him a burning question you have about "Beowulf" before that class starts. And don't go to his office during office hours in that tank top to get his profound thoughts on Olde English vs. modern English. At best, he'll laugh at you and send you on your way, at worst, he'll hook up with you and now both of your academic careers are in jeopardy. So, keep things professional, and maybe check and see if a female professor teaches that same class. And if that female professor has a male teaching assistant, then re-read this paragraph from the top. Remember, seducing a male authority figure doesn't make your daddy love you.

This is a particularly dicey subject. Unless you're at a dry campus, most socializing on a typical college campus involves a red Solo cup and a keg. I'm not naive enough to tell you to "just say no" and harp on the countless stories on binge-drinking and excessive partying on college campuses, it's just that I never really figured out why the drinking culture was so pervasive on campus. Most college kids don't get drunk because they like the taste of beer and liquor (although, Moscato wine is like liquid candy), do they? From what I've seen, it seems as if they get drunk so they can tell tall tales of their tipsy shenanigans. It's like their intoxication becomes the cover for bad behavior, and for a girl with daddy issues, booze becomes a part of her male-attention seeking arsenal. Look at me, I just pounded 8 beers in a row! Look at me, I just downed 4 vodka shots!! Look at me, I just hooked up with 3 random dudes but I'm too drunk to remember their names!!! Don't be that girl. Listen, the boys who cheered you on while you downed a fifth of rum are not your friends. If they were, they wouldn't let you do something that could cause you injury or death. And their attention doesn't make your daddy love you.

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