The end of an era: Tales of a 6th year college student

It’s here people! I’m FINALLY graduating!!  After SIX years of exams, quizzes, papers, finals, midterms, AMAZING professors, bullshit professors, best friends, frienemies, brown-nosers, stoners, scholastic nerds, kids who show up to one class, ladies who go to school to get their MRS degree, philanthropists, the straights and the queers, I am ready to leave this beautiful disaster that we call college.

My collegiate career has been quite the ride.  Three years at the University of Cincinnati, three years at the Berklee College of Music  and countless memories have gotten me to the place I am today.

And where exactly is the “place” I am today?  Well just take a look at my previous posts.  I am a fucked-up, crazy, no-shame, in-your-face, no-nonsense bitch, who is completely and 100% myself ALL the time, whether or not anybody (including myself) likes it.

So if I had it to do all over again, what would I say to my 18-year-old self??

Here is the Shannon Allen Guide to a Kick-Ass Collegiate Experience:

1.  College is what you make of it.  If you stay in your dorm room/apartment/house all day and night studying and worrying about grades, you are probably guaranteed a great GPA, but do you really want to look back on your college years and say, “Man, I got really good grades!” or would you rather look back and say, “Those were some of the best times of my life!”?

Don’t get me wrong, my friends will tell you that I am one of the most anal-retentive people when it comes to my grades and GPA, but when I take a walk down memory lane from fall 2006 to present day, I don’t ever think about the grade I got on that one quiz, or what a teacher thought of my 10-page Econ paper.  The memories I remember are:

A. Watching a bunch of guys on my freshman year dorm room floor try on my bras when they were drunk.

B. Having my entire campus laced with ice my freshman year.  They cancelled class and I went around and took pictures of all the beautiful icicles while trying to to break my neck on black ice.

C.  Joining my sorority Kappa Alpha Theta: Greek Week, sisterhoods, staying up all night watching crap TV with my sisters, living next door to my FAVORITE fraternity SAE, spontaneous dance parties, laughs, tears, and everything that goes along with my wonderful sisters who will FOREVER be in my heart.

D. Leaving Cincinnati with ONE year left and following my heart and dreams to go to Berklee College of Music and making a whole MESS of new friends who are now my family

E.  Never letting any test, paper, class get in the way of me exploring the city of Boston with my best Boston girls: Christina, Aimee, Jen, Jade… the list goes on 🙂

2. Drinking on weekdays is okay… just make sure you are a scholastic champion, not only a champion drinker…

I remember the first time I actually was willing to leave my Latin homework (which usually took 3 hours) to go to a bar.  I was a freshman and I still believed that getting straight As was my ultimate college goal.  I went to Latin the next day and guess what?? I knew the answer to EVERY question!

Sometimes it’s okay to give youself a break, but not TOO much of a break.  I’ve know people who have partied so much, that they almost failed out of college, and I know people who NEVER EVER went out and looked back and thought, “What if?”

Note: If you are not a drinker, that doesn’t necessarily mean this tip is not for you.  Drinking is simply my social activity of choice.  However, getting out of your house is healthy and necessary for a happy life.  In the end, your friends, family and the love you have for them are what matters.  Do you think your employer after college is going to ask you if your GPA was 4.0 or 2.0? Most likely not.  Like they say,  C students run the world.  Although I am an A student (pats self on the back and then rolls eyes at herself), it’s OKAY to have fun.

3. Group projects suck balls if you’re a hard worker.  Hello 18-year-old Shan. Get used to doing most group project by yourself with minimal help.  NEVER expect to do anything but pick up everyone’s slack. Harsh, I know, but it’s the truth.  But guess what Baby Shan… you are going to get opportunities, praise from your superiors, and a bad-ass group of mentors who know your true worth and say a big “fuck you” to all those losers who held you back.

Your proverbial cookie at the end of every shitty group project is the fact that you and YOU ALONE could do the work that five individuals should have done together.  Baby Shan… you are upper management material…


4. Being involved in everything, although tiring, is awesome. At Cincinnati I was in a sorority where I held position of social chair and editor. I raised money for Relay for Life and CASA.  I volunteered at Over-the-Rhine Community Housing, Cross-Town Helpout, Kenzie’s Closet.  I was a writer for the school newspaper The News Record.  I was on the Relay For Life planning committee.  I played intramural sports.  I tried out for Cincinnati Cheerleading. I worked out 3 times a week.

When I got to Berklee I was involved in the Music Business Club. I worked at the Berklee Bookstore AND Cafe 939 Red Room 30-40 hours a week.  I started the group Berklee Spirits with two of my best friends.  I volunteered at the Rethink Music Conference.

I did so much shit that I can’t even recollect it all.  PLUS I had a bomb-titis social life and still kept up with school.  Sure… I didn’t sleep too much, but today as a 24-year-old, I think back on all this shit that I did and go… “Wow, what an awesome college career I had.”

Get involved. Work hard. Volunteer.  Don’t sleep. Love what you do.

5. Some friends are everlasting, some friends are good people to know just in college, and some friends are just plain shitty.

At Cincinnati I was the Queen of toxic friends.  And by toxic I mean the people who would claim to be your best friends, but criticized your livelihood, broke you down mentally, and used you up as a friend.

But I don’t want to focus on those crappy people.

At both Cincinnati and Berklee… I found what I call…. my people.  My people are those girls and guys who have always been there for me.  Those people who receive love and give love equally.  Those people who have watched me cry on the floor when I went through the toughest time of my life and held my hand.  Those people who laugh at my dumb jokes.  Those people who don’t care that I’m a loud, obnoxious, dirty little freak!

Raise your glass is you are WRONG in all the WRONG ways.

I raise a glass to my people. You know who you are. You make me who I am and who I will become.

6. Some romantic relationships are everlasting, some a good for college and some are just plain shitty.

Oh boy.

Or should I say… Oh boys…

I don’t have the greatest track record with this one.

I will tell you that I have been in relationships where I was emotionally abused, mistreated, called names that a significant other should NEVER say to the person they supposedly love.  And I have watched friends go through worse.  WAY WORSE.  So bad that I could punch the people that made them hurt so bad.

However, I have had relationships that are good… for a while.  I have loved. I have been loved.  In college it was so important for me to figure out who I was… and these relationships (good, bad or okay) helped me figure these things out.

I will tell you one thing.  I will never date anyone who makes me feel less than myself.  And if you’re reading this… neither should you.

7. When people tell you they’re busy, they are most likely just telling you that they don’t want to make time for you. 

As I said earlier, I had two jobs totally 30-40 hours a week plus a full-time class schedule my last year at Berklee. And GUESS WHAT?!?! I still had the most awesome social life and kept bomb-ass grades.

How did I do this??? I MADE TIME for the people who were important to me. Sure, it was a balancing act, and sure I would run myself ragged sometimes trying to do it all, but I’m never going to look back and regret not hanging out with my friends.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again… my people are my livelihood.  I don’t fuck with that.

8.  Trying everything once is okay.

I am a firm believer in trying new things.  I think new experiences are what helps us grow as human beings.

In college I went to my first gay bar, lesbian night, strip club, rave, pub crawl, ritzy party, silent disco, stoner party, beer pong tournament, theme party, toga party, highlighter party, dubstep show, etc.  I have seen the craziest things and met the strangest of people.  But guess what?? I love all of them.  I think weird, crazy, interesting, strange people are some of the greatest human beings on earth.

JUST BE SAFE! (I had to say it)

9.  Dont expect to be handed a real career job after college if you didnt put any work into your collegiate career.

Listen up recent college grads. I am SICK AND FUCKING TIRED OF YOUR FUCKING BITCHING.

I have worked my ass off for everything I’ve ever been given.  Nothing has ever been handed to me career-wise.

If you don’t stop complaining, get off your fucking ass, and work harder…. I will hunt you down and personally punch you in your face… or ovaries… or penis…

10.  The more diverse and eclectic friends you have in college, the more significantly rich your life will be for it.

Oh man… I could preach about this one all day… and I kind of already have.  I think I can quote Queen Gaga on this one.

“No matter gay, straight or bi/lebian, transgendered life/I’m on the right track baby I was born to survive/No matter black, white or beige/Chola or Orient-made/I’m on the right track baby I was born to be brave.”


My people are from different cities, states, countries, backgrounds, races, religious, sexual orientations and I LOVE THEM.

11. Be a star student, but DO NOT be an obnoxious brown-noser.

Again… I will hunt you down and punch you in your face, ovaries or penis.   Just saying

12. If you put your significant other as the highest priority above your friends, you do not deserve to have friends when he or she dumps you.

BOOM. I said it!

This is probably my biggest pet peeve about people in college relationships.  Oh believe me… I’ve done it.  And I realized it was one of my fatal mistakes.  I learned that relationships and friendships are one big balancing act.

Do not expect me to be there when you break up with your boyfriend/girlfriend and ignored me for the past year. Sorry.


College is awesome.  I’m ready to be done.  But to be honest… I think I’m gonna miss it just a little bit.  I would never change any of my decisions, actions or things I’ve said over these past six years.

Yeah… I went to college for six years.

Get over it.

I’m better for it.

Time for the real world…..

Are they ready for my Lady Business??? Probably not.


2 thoughts on “The end of an era: Tales of a 6th year college student

  1. I wish I could’ve been with you longer on the rest of your ride through berklee, So proud of you, looks like you had the time of your life. Miss you Shan, always here for you near or far, keep kicking ass girl and wearing the highest heals known to man! xo

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