Honest Advice for College Students

teacher.jpgIt’s that time of year again. Time for a new crop of fresh-faced teenagers to show up on our doorstep to begin their education at Boston’s fine institutions of higher learning, and bother the rest of us. (Check out Joe Keohane’s piece on the subject in the September issue of Boston magazine.) In the interest of keeping the peace between college students and those of us who don’t summer in our parent’s basement, we’re offering some advice to you new arrivals. Settle in with that iPhone grandma bought you, young’uns—we’re going to give you an education you can’t get at Emerson.

Part One: Moving Day

Despite all the promises of state-of-the-art facilities your college viewbooks tossed at you, Boston is an old city with no grid system to help you navigate the city’s narrow streets. For those who are moving into a dorm, you might get lucky and have RA’s who are trained in the ninja-like art of unloading your parents’ car in under five minutes. If you’re moving into an apartment, you’re on your own.

Here’s what you need to know:

Your U-Haul will NOT FIT on Storrow Drive. No. No, it won’t. No, not even if you let a little air out of the tires. Many before you have tried and failed. Tying up traffic at rush hour does not endear college students to the locals. We see you thinking about it. Stop now.

Double-parking is acceptable within reason: Moving in Boston is tricky at any time of the year, especially in neighborhoods like Beacon Hill or the North End, so some bending of traffic laws is OK. If you must double-park, try to leave room for other cars to get by. If there’s a space anywhere near your apartment, take it and walk the extra 20 feet with your milk crate of printed t-shirts. Kindly be prepared to move if a large vehicle needs to get through. Remember, they’re not honking at you, they just want you to move the damn truck.

Don’t even bother with Ikea this week: Everybody loves cheap disposable furniture, and Ikea is the best place to get a $15 coffee table. Unfortunately, all the college students and locals who are also moving this week want cheap furnishings too, so the pickings will be slim. If you must have paper lanterns quickly, check Ikea’s website before driving to Stoughton to see if your item is available to avoid sitting in traffic for hours.

Ditto that for Target: It’s as if it has its own climate and a natural disasters within the huge cement walls.

Make friends with your neighbors: No, not the ones who make great fake IDs. If your neighbors remember you as a pleasant person when you’re sober, they’ll be less likely to call the cops. Which brings us to…

But don’t be a jackass: Listen, we were once in college too. We still like loud music and off-key Bon Jovi sing-alongs. But we don’t want to hear you in the wee hours of the morning when we have to work the next day. We know we sound lame, but paying off the student loans we incurred for the classes we went to between parties has turned us into corporate slaves, just as it will you someday.

Tomorrow: Navigating the T.