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Charting The Unknown: What Back To School Means For the College Freshman

POW Back to School

Back to school used to be so easy: Convince mom to buy that new lunchbox and a fresh pair of kicks, and you’re in – you’ve scored yourself a spot at the cool kids’ table. Those were simpler times. Now that the college years are here, it’s time to put away childish things (except for Xbox…OK, maybe we’ll hold onto that, too) and start considering what is, for many, the last step before adulthood. But what does that mean, exactly? What are the great unknowns pondered by those who are setting out, for the first time, on the path toward matriculation?

Curfew: No more stern warnings. No more finger-wagging lectures. No more rules. It’s enough to make a college freshman slather on facepaint, grab their best tunic and ride horseback through the Quad screaming, “FREEDOM!” Still two months away from learning about the concepts of too much of a good thing and sleep deprivation, you should enjoy it while it lasts. Because before you know it, you’ll be on that Nextflix-and-chill regimen, followed by a silk sleep mask and lights out by 10pm. (Sorry, kid: We all kinda turn into our parents.)

Laundry day: With great power comes great responsibility, and many new college students simply aren’t prepared to wield the twin forces of detergent and fabric softener. Folding? Forget it. If a crumpled pair of jeans makes its way to a dresser drawer or a T-shirt appears in a closet – whether hung or tossed in a corner – this must be considered progress. If either has actually been through the wash, a doctorate is all but assured.

Getting around: If Brittany thought it was tough locating third-period Geometry in the east wing of Podunk High, she’s gonna lose her mind trying to track down her college chemistry lab across campus. Orientation days and university maps are helpful in theory, but we’re adults now and we live in the real world: If Nic Cage doesn’t arrive directly off the set from the latest National Treasure sequel to help navigate through the maze, our Brittany may not be found before second semester of senior year.

An empty refrigerator: For years, that glorious icebox at home just kept refilling itself with Go-Gurts and Hot Pockets, like manna from heaven. So how can anyone be expected to grow into Big Man on Campus when the contents of a defective dorm-room mini fridge keep disappearing? Although it turns out humans can live on pizza delivery alone, there’s a distinction between survival and really living. Without the appropriate caloric input, the Freshman 15 is nothing more than an impossible dream.

A fresh start: Look, being a kid is hard. Four years of high school can knock the wind out of a teenager, so college represents an opportunity for reinvention. For growth. For strangers who never saw your acne or unfortunate fashion choices. But the best part of higher education? It’s the realization that even the best and brightest are a bunch of dingus-brained weirdos. College is where all the freak flags come out to fly. Pick any one – or all of them. You’re among friends. Welcome home. 


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