Maybe I am a little too optimistically attached to my childhood favorites, but I like to think that "Rugrats" is one of those shows that has a timeless quality that will far outlive its very 90s-esque animation style. Why? Because it's simply far too relatable—at any age.
Another thing that is far too relatable at any age is the onslaught of emotions that arise when back to school commercials start to play at regular intervals, Target begins to set up its Back to School Shop, and public school starts calling with reminders of the dreaded day.
That's right, even during your first weeks of college, the adorable children of "Rugrats" have their two cents on the matter. Heck, they might even be the most relatable during this time if you're doing college right.
Denying the fact that it is back to school season
At this point, I have come to realize that the first step of any painful process is denial.
In this case, denying the fact that school is starting can be easy for a while. Companies begin advertising back to school items as early as mid-July, although most colleges don't start classes until late August. That's plenty of time to quickly change the channel once the dreaded commercials begin. Upperclassmen have little to worry about at this point because we know the lay of the land on campus and we have established the fact that the first week will be a little rough. No need in worrying about that in July though! There's still plenty of summer left, it's nowhere near time to start thinking about hitting the books again.
Once August rolls around, however, you might want to start planning your dorm before all of the good decorations, kitchen supplies, and ramen noodles are taken up by neurotic first-year students and their anxious mothers.
Worrying about classes
Once you have finally realized that denial is only a state of mind and not a magical tool that can change reality, most students begin to worry.
The new school year can bring lots of variables for anyone starting a new semester of college: new classes, new professors, new roommates, new routines, new anxieties. Even to the seasoned seniors, the new semester can bring your mind to a very dark place of "what if I make a fool of myself?"
At this stage, it's easiest to get a little too inside your head as you begin to pack up boxes with every item you own and load up the car. By the time you arrive you're a hot, sweaty mess—but thankfully the exercise of unloading, unpacking, and getting settled will ease some of the tension, mental and physical.
Comforting yourself with a visit to the dining hall
Once the initial nerves have worn off, it's time to hit up your friends to play a little catch-up.
After a long summer of being apart, you will likely want to meet up at the first possible instance. What better way to work out a common meeting time than to arrange a group dinner in the dining hall? Everyone has to eat, everyone has a meal plan, and nobody is sick of campus food yet!
Don't worry too much about over-indulging at this first meal. It's a good time to catch up with your friends and enjoy some of the select favorites you may only get to have when you're at school! Just go ahead and enjoy a couple more cookies for tonight, you can always hit up the campus rec center once the dust settles.
Getting up for the first day of classes
Once you're settled and have had some time to hang out with your pals, another stressor looms over the horizon: classes.
What? You mean we have to move out on our own and go to class!?
I know, I don't exactly love it either but they say it's good for getting a job.
Dragging yourself out of bed is never easy, but it seems a thousand times harder on the first day because you truly realize that your summer of sleeping in to your heart's desire has officially ended. Wake up sunshine, it's time to get back to the real world!
Staying up past midnight for the first time in the semester
Hopefully, it won't occur during the first week of classes, but you will ultimately have to stay up way past your bed-time to finish an assignment before class the next day.
For those of us that prefer to sleep as long as possible, this is a nightmare. When you would rather be sleeping, your brain is telling you to stay awake and finish that last chapter of reading to avoid looking like a fool in class the next morning. As the clock pushes later and later, you're still grinding away and trying to keep the sandman far from your desk.
The best advice is to make sure you get at least a little sleep before class. You will still look like a fool if you drool on your textbook in front of the entire class.
Feeling overwhelmed by stress
After a summer of unwinding, you are highly susceptible to stress and, although syllabus week is notoriously simple, the first week contains a lot of stress.
From club meetings to class deadlines to new workloads, the first week can be quite the burden on a student that is fresh off of summer vacation. We just came back from the beach, for crying out loud! Don't give us a full list of assignments for the semester all at once!
Take a deep breath. They aren't all due right now. Syllabi are just a precaution to the semester ahead and the meetings you have to attend should be worth your time, even if it just gives you an excuse to chat with friends.
Attempting to "adult" for the first time
College is all about finding who you are in the adult world and that means learning how to do "responsible" things such as making your own doctors appointments, cooking your own food, and doing your own laundry.
If only it were that simple.
"Adulting" is not something that they teach you in high school and, for first-year students in particular, this means you are in for quite the shock when you venture off on your own. However, the stress of trying to be an established adult can also hit upperclassmen as well. Who knows, you may find yourself in your senior year when you are faced with only one available parking spot before you realize that you need to learn to parallel park and drive away.
Successfully "adulting" for the first time
The upside of entering college as a young adult is that you have plenty of time to learn.
With that being said, there's no need to stress about failing at "adulting" the first few times. Everyone messes up and you're pretty much required to screw up before you get it right. The worst that could happen is you miss an appointment or turn your underwear pink.
When you do finally succeed, however, don't expect a full show of fireworks. "Adulting" is not as complicated as it's made out to be, it's just really not fun.
Accepting the fact that school has, in fact, started
After all of the stress of preparation for and execution of the first week or so has passed, you will start to realize that you are now in it for the long haul.
Whether you like it or not, you have decided to get a college education and that means you have to go to class and do the assigned work. But it also means you get to meet new people, try new things, and make memories that will last a lifetime.
They say all work and no play makes Jack a dull boy.
Although our friends on the "Rugrats" may disagree that balancing work and play is a life necessity, everyone has to grow up sometime, even if it's only a little bit.