With performing artists, frat stars, engineers and more, you’re sure to come across a colorful array of people during your four years at college. Not surprisingly, some of these individuals will strike you more than others. Their idiosyncratic identities and pronounced points of view will cause them to stick out like sore thumbs in a crowd of young adults. If you think you’re alone in encountering these characters, you’re surely mistaken. We’re all bound to cross paths with the following funky folks at some point or another.
1. The overachieving IM player
Although you admire his extreme dedication to basketball, this kid’s commitment to reaching the hoop on solo missions — and knocking down innocent females in his way — is somewhat off-putting. He will certainly lead your team to the IM Co-Rec Championship game, but be prepared to never see this teammate outside the school gym. If for some unearthly reason you make your way to the court at 6 a.m. on a Wednesday morning, you’ll find him ruthlessly working on one-handed three-pointers and his staple fade-away shot for the game later that afternoon.
2. The functioning alcoholic
The only time you’ve ever spent time with this guy is in the darkness of a crowded bar, and you notice he’s usually more than happy to take on the wildest dare his buddies throw at him. Then, one day, your whole notion of him changes as you come to find out he’s the most naturally brilliant person you’ve ever had the twisted pleasure of meeting. He can drown his soul in liquor for six days straight, cram for a huge exam the night before and still mercilessly outdo you. Everything you thought you knew about this world? Shattered.
3. The unapproachable dining hall cutie
You know his breakfast order by heart — scrambled eggs and sausage doused in salsa — but you never work up the courage to introduce yourself or to slip in a totally non-creepy comment about his predictable eating habits. Instead, you two awkwardly share space and glances across tables for a whole year, and then never cross paths again. Alas, it was not love at first Cinnamon Toast Crunch.
4. The free spirit
This girl consistently shows interest in traditional college experiences such as soccer games and pop concerts, but something about these events always feels just slightly off to her. After three years of failing to fit into specific categories, she has come to realize she doesn’t need titles like “marching band member” or “future doctor” to define her — she’s a mold all her own. She casts aside worries about traditional employment and monetary accumulation and acknowledges her deep desire to roam, travel, explore and experience. Keep this girl around if ever you need a breath of fresh air and a reminder of what it means to feel free.
5. The devoutly religious guy
The definition of a leader by example, he never preaches into your ear, but will instead catch your attention with his earnest goodness. Although you may not identify with his deep-seated religious beliefs, you can’t deny his faith rubs off on you in the best way possible. In his presence, matters like which sorority you’re going to get a bid from and which apartment is hosting the next Facebook-scheduled pregame fall by the wayside. You notice the consistent and admirable schedule by which he lives, including weekly calls home and completion of all schoolwork in a timely manner. The quietly devout energy he maintains helps you practice focus in your own life. Heck, if he can attend Bible Study every Sunday morning, then you can surely do the laundry that’s been piling up in the corner of your room for the past eight weeks.
6. The “let’s definitely get lunch and catch up, it’s been way too long!” friend
At some point or another, you were probably genuinely friends with this chick, but time has managed to push you two further and further apart. When you see her on the street, it’s hard not to reminisce on your once-special friendship, so you engage in the predictable ritual of intending to grab lunch and get up to speed on each other’s lives. But, you know this two-person tango will never be danced. Both of you will continue on with your lives as if nothing happened, knowing all too well the abysmal fate of the promise to which you enthusiastically committed.
7. The quiet, brilliant girl down the hall
She hides away in her room, except on the frequent occasion that her parents come to town to check up on her. Her parents’ micromanagement of her life makes you worry about her sanity — that is, until you notice the clean clothes and warm meals they bring with them every visit. While other first-year students are stuck resorting to sodium-rich Ramen noodles and agonizing over failed tests due to mismanaged priorities, she is in the top of her class in her Neurobiology major and seems to know exactly the direction her life is headed.
8. The Gym Douche
Unlike the handsome stranger in the dining hall, this guy’s presence is less than welcome. He wears a cut up muscle shirt with the words ‘Get Hard’ on it, and goes out of his way to shoot you looks between sets. Even if you don’t look up to acknowledge him, you can feel his eyes up-and-down-ing you from across the carpeted gym floor. My advice to you is this: Keep your head down, never make direct eye contact and pretend to be genuinely focused on the workout at hand. After weeks of failing to catch your eye, he will abandon all hope and set his sights on the girl feverishly working the elliptical next to you.
9. The Try-Hard in Gen Ed Spanish
Even though his Hispanic pronunciation is sub-par to say the least, he’s undeniably the most intelligent kid in your class. He’s more than willing to take on the role of team leader as well as the brunt of the work for the project assignment. After all, his grade — and, thus, his bright future — lie in your inferior hands, and that’s just not a risk he’s willing to take at this point in his life.
Maybe it’s incredibly cliché, but you’re going to meet yourself at one point or another in college. By meeting people of an assortment of different backgrounds, cultures, sexualities and perspectives, you’ll come to acknowledge your own unique identity and the value you bring to the world.