For many boys out there, college is the time of their lives. It is when youths exit the shell of high school and have more fun. A typical male high school applicant to University would have many things at the back of his mind when he passes that application form: parties, alcohol, lots and lots of women and this piques his enthusiasm for college more than ever, partly because of the movies that showcase a stereotyped ‘debauchery’ (in Filipino, gudtaym) in college life.
More than a few college boys may have experienced this already, and for this lucky handful, they may be getting a taste of this week in and week out. They are pretty much living an image of college life which they can tell to their future grandchildren, of adventurous exploits, and how they might have toyed with their livers and lungs in college, and how many women they have fooled around with, along with how many subjects they might failed because of this lifestyle. This isn’t exactly an inspirational story to tell, however comical it might sound in retrospect. A perfectly stricken balance between fun and learning must be attained for storytelling to grandchildren to be not only funny and colorful but also a basis for their own lives.
The hard truth is that college is when boys become the boys they dreamed to be, with only a limited count actually emerging out of this sieve as men. These are those who have the stories that they can proudly tell; these are the men who were willing to sacrifice, and who were willing to grow up. These are the men women dream of marrying. These are the men that become successful. As early as now, boys must prepare for the future, ergo become men while the time is perfect and ripe and apt. Here are some resolutions college boys might want to do to become their own Barney Stinson (sans the philandering).
1. Stop wasting money on video games and invest
We all undeniably got hooked on Pokemon during our fledgling grade school years. In high school, we probably earned a lot through bets while playing DOTA. Now in college, we have HoN, LoL and also the PS3 to get hooked on, even if the PS3 was already around in high school. Think of how much you’ve spent on these enterprises. Was there really a return of investment?
Probably now you’ve realized how much you’ve spent, and would want to recoup the lost money somehow. Don’t fret, it’s never too late to save, save and save. Once you’ve saved up a substantial amount, you can ask your parents for support in investing them. For all you know, they might add more money to your investment (savings) because they are overjoyed that their boy is now a man who can think of the future. You can buy stocks through investment companies and brokerages and make others manage your saved PC game wealth for you; that way, you don’t have to read the papers in the morning and get all nervy with those tumultuous price movements. They will take care of your money and you can monitor how much you’ve earned through the years.
This will give you extra income that you can use for dates, for adding to your car mortgage (yes you will want a car), or even for buying real property. Warren Buffett bought stock at 12 years old, mind you. But at our age, take heart: it’s never too late to start.
2. Learn how to cook
Boys love to eat a lot (don’t forget the extra rice). Sooner or later, a boy may want to live that bachelor’s life, with their own loft, proudly called their bachelor’s pad. They will live alone, unless they want to live with their parents until the marrying age (if ever) and beyond: that is, with a fixed meal cooked breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Imagine the same adobo every night: it’s not a question of having food, but a question of when it comes.
Regardless, as early as now, it is imperative learn how to cook meals for yourself. Stop depending on your mother or father or kasambahay to cook your lunch. Go to the kitchen, see the action unfold before you in novice fires, and practice making your burnt omelette and your saing. You will need it, for it is an invaluable life skill.
Okay, fine, the real incentive: you could also learn through your girlfriend, who might have explored the subject far before you, and will be the ultimate judge of your culinary prowess. Learn to cook from her. It is also a good date idea, too.
3. Learn how to fix broken stuff
Men are rough, rash and impulsive so they say. Men are good at destroying stuff they use without fixing or cleaning up after. This may be partly true, because men supposedly have this higher ideal always in mind.
But what’s important is making up for these dumb, lazy mistakes. Tell your parents not to depend on a handyman once something gets broken. Take the risk: do it yourself.
Broken sinks, broken toilets, a wobbly chair, destroyed lamps, a flat tire, whatever is broken and doable: FIX IT YOURSELF. Ask guidance from your father first, consult a basic mechanics book, then learn to do it on your own the next time. It’s a basic thrust for men to repair what they’ve wrecked, and to create where they’ve destroyed. Might as well apply that to furniture, or the bulb that won’t light up.
4. Dress the part, act the part
You have Chris Brown, Bow Wow and Lil Wayne as your fashion icons? Better make sure it’s just a phase, for having that kind of swag might get you ‘street cred’ but none of the ‘office cred’ you might find yourself stuck in as soon as you graduate.
They say the dress makes the person, as the general feel and mood of your clothes rubs off on you in a sort of Pygmalion effect. Dress like Snoop Lion and you’ll find yourself doing what they do best: artistic expression, sans the star income.
Look at your wardrobe and see if this is the wardrobe of an accomplished man. If you think it’s too college-y, you had better do something, at least before you march in PICC. Invest on good polo shirts, pants and shoes some time, and make these things of lasting quality. Dressing like that will make you matinik in a FlipTop battle, yes. Dress like Barney Stinson or those other icons of respectable, smart casual men’s style however, and that is a statement. Don’t be afraid to dress this way even if in school. Dress classy even if in the mall or hanging out with your bros. Dress the part, act the part.
5. Mind your manners, be courteous
Are you a living proof that chivalry is dead?
Start shaping up. A dude’s manners are a reflection of his upbringing. If you think you haven’t lived up to whatever virtues and values your parents taught you, then start doing it now, in college. Start with the smallest things – say please whenever you want anything, and say thank you whenever you get it. This of course, starts at home.
After that, go open doors for people even if they are strangers, and don’t forget that gentlemanly smile. Start saying sorry when you’re wrong, offer a firm handshake when you meet people, remember to bring your food to your mouth and not your head to your soup.
No matter how small the courteous deed, and how cliché it is, it’s the thought that counts, and makes people remember you as a man of character.
6. Don’t hit on women, interest them
Meeting members of the opposite gender in college is easy. It can be generalized that some boys text them for the purpose of just getting trophy girlfriends, or just making these people hope. These are… not your ideal boys.
Gentlemen, women are not to be treated like this. They are to be taken out in fun, entertaining dates, they are supposed to be made happy, and a real man, more than anyone would interest them by merit of his character and courtesy and respect, and not look like a doofus just hitting on them for other purposes. Have a good laugh and a real conversation.
Stop just texting for other agendas that disregard the girl’s trusting regard for you as a friend and good company. Treat her like how you would want your mother or sister to be treated. Bring them to a nice movie and have an affordable but decent restaurant meal after. Earn her trust and this way, you will have made your mark as the man in her life: a man who can be committed, a man who can respect, and a man who can provide.
College students have a tendency of calling in late no matter where they come from. It is a distinctly Filipino attitude. This shows that you are just not trying hard. Start being punctual. Start to love learning not just for passing’s sake but for its own merit. Start becoming the man you ought to be in an office, or the man whose word can be trusted.
Study hard everyday, not just during exams, and make the studying a sacrifice. Don’t settle for a 1.0 and be delighted with it. Go for a 4.0, and stay humble if you do get it, without posting your straight 4.0’s in Facebook.
Do your org work with conviction and determination. If you are an athlete, train hard and don’t mind your critics. If you are a gym-goer, lift hard, work out hard and have a good diet and rest. It’s time you achieve that six-pack. Get off that couch and hit the gym, it’s 9 am already.
8. Read. Read. Read
You might have bookshelves at home, probably with some good classics in it which are accumulating dust. Instead of going on a night out and spending money, once in a while, stay at home, set everything aside, and just read a good book.
Try to wake up early in the morning and read the newspaper. Spend some of your breaks in the library by yourself, and read, and don’t mind those who would criticize you for being a ‘loner’. There is nothing wrong with a trip to the library for the sole purpose of reading and not dozing off.
This of course entails knowing what good books there are. Don’t always read those questionable magazines that we boys (and our moms) know about. Read brilliant novels and interesting, fact-based articles. Know what issues are occurring and start getting involved with the affairs of the world. Sure, a well-read man is not always the wisest, but definitely knows how to appreciate the finer sensibilities of the world.
9. Strengthen your faith
We all have weekends we look forward to: weekends for partying the night away to remixes and beats, just enjoying our blissful, tax-free youth. This is of course during the evening, and is completely normal for a college go-getting guy like yourself.
In the morning however, you may want to attend some recollection or do work for your church, regardless of your religion. Get involved in your local religious community, be it a parish, your church group, your temple, your mosque, your synagogue, or wherever. If this is too much for you, at least pray when you wake up and thank the Sacred for another shot at life. Be grateful and thank the Sacred before meals, meditate before you sleep, and whenever you feel like you need to hear the Other voice in your life.
10. Do volunteer work
Is your life full of fun boys’ escapades and road trips, but seldom full of a deeper meaning?
There may be times you may be looking for this kind of altruistic fulfillment. We all do. A suggestion for a boy wanting to be a man is to find yourself through others. Giving five pesos to the kids bugging you on your way to McDonald’s is never enough. It never stays in their pockets, anyways.
Get right in the thick of things, and actually change society, not just ranting about it on Facebook and pretending to be a different man. Volunteer in an NGO as a student partner, or the Center of Social Concern and Action (COSCA) as a more feasible option. Give your time and effort for the needy, and you will see that the smiles on their faces are all you need to keep you going in what seems to be too intimidating a task. This will remove the hopelessness you might have once had towards the delinquent and less fortunate. Volunteer now, too, and not just during calamities. A man who lives for others is a man who lives life fully, and I just made that up.