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Friday, October 16, 2015

How to Prepare for Your College Homecoming

Homecoming is generally associated with High School divas in tiaras waving endlessly in the back of a rented convertible driving up and down some middle-of-nowhere town's (one and only) Main St.
(Obviously, I am no longer bitter that I was never nominated for Homecoming Court...)

However, in my young adulthood -- I realized that Homecoming was not just another 10 letter word. There was nothing to fear. Because in your adult years -- at least at MY COLLEGE-- Homecoming is the best weekend of the year. 

Like Christmas. The Super Bowl. a Family Reunion. and St. Patrick's Day. All Rolled into one.
One big happy, huggy, drunk weekend.

So, as I make my final preparations for this weekend and go down my extensive check list of TO DOs, and TO BUYs, and TO MAKEs...
I've decided to pass on my wisdom to young students, young alumni, old alumni and just plain ol' randoms -- on how to prepare for a successful Homecoming Weekend.

This is in fact my 10th year in attendance. So that makes me an expert. Obviously.

1) Go To College. 

     Simple. Yet, if you don't go to a college then you will always feel like an awkward outsider at everyone else's College Homecoming celebrations. (unless you're at E&H -- 'cause we love errybody)
Plus, College is fun and cool-- you learn a bunch of stuff-- and you make lots of friends. Just do it.

2) Preparation is Key.

     This type of event is NOT something people begin packing for the morning-of, or night-before.
This kind of event takes planning. Logistics.  
Who has the tailgating spot this year?
Who is bringing the snacks? the beer? the beer bong?
Who has an extra cooler?
Do we need a tent? a grill? a fire extinguisher?...
Does Danielle have a safe, comfortable place to pass out?
In all honesty, it takes a much more organized person than myself to wrangle all these hoodlums into a parking lot. And by the end of the day-- forget about it! You won't see HALF of those people again after 10:00 am. (until of course they SOMEHOW appear at the bar that night... I will never figure out how they get there or where they disappeared to for 10 hours) 
But I digress-- Planning. Key.
Weeks before Homecoming you must: secure a tailgating spot, hotel room (or local brothel-- whatever floats your boat), drink water and start saving $$
 The Week OF Homecoming: clean out your car, buy a new outfit (or two), clean out cooler, confirm hotel, confirm tailgate, tell organizers your tailgating contribution (you MUST bring something. even if its just the left-over Solo Cups you bought last year), oh... and drink water
The Day Before Homecoming: Buy another new outfit, new boots, new sunglasses, pick up tailgating snacks and drinks (that's code for alcohol. not soda. If I see your ass on the Tailgating field w/ something non-alcoholic, you BETTER BE PREGNANT!), clean out car again,  start packing bag-- pack 6 different outfits for 24 hours, pack shoes (you need boots. and back up boots. and back ups for the back up), drink more water
The Night Before Homecoming: time to cook (or reheat for some), drink water
HOMECOMING DAY: Wake up at an ungodly hour, shower, shave, blow dry, straighten, attempt to look at cute as possible at 6/7/8am ... then start drinking (not water this time). (*if you're driving however I do not recommend drinking BEFORE your travels. DUIs aren't cool kids.)

3) Practical Fall Fashion.

Homecoming is generally where I stare at random girls outfits all day and wish I owned them. Hats, and Boots, and Scarves... OH MY!
For many schools, Football games are a "dressy" affair-- with khakis and bow ties. 
Well, not at Emory & Henry College. Any normal football Saturday is full of jeans, College t-shirts and comfy shoes... EXCEPT ON HOMECOMING DAY! 
now THOSE are some sensible fall boots... 
and a very attractive group of ladies... am I right?

Be warned: this is not your average Saturday football game. There are lots of people around and you need to look presentable (at least while sober). There are alumni, there are politicians, there's your ex-boyfriend(s), there are local tv-news celebrities... and you need to put your best foot forward. Also, this is not a time to look like a full-blown SKANK ( WOMEN)... If I can see your butt cheeks and your "lady parts" when you walk-- then I think we need to re-visit some pants. Keep it covered. This is family event.
ALSO-- Ladies, this is not the event to be wearing ridiculous shoes (Stephanie, I'm talking to YOU!) I don't want to watch you break your ankles all day stomping around in the gravel lot in 5 inch heels. I don't care how cute they are! Flats, or boots, or wedges-- these are not ugly shoes... and your feet will THANK YOU after 8 hours of drinking and walking (or stumbling) around.

4) This is a Family Event.

An idea that I will admit I did not grasp until I became a mom. Back in my prime (aka my college days) --- Homecoming was a time for me to look super cute, and get drunk with all my old friends and sorority sisters. Good Times. but... I can admit that it wasn't always "cute" to the family with kids that were set up next to my tailgate when I was... say, Shotgunning a Beer, or Screaming Spice Girls lyrics, or cursing .. louder than usual...
I'm just saying. Keep it classy. Know your surroundings and keep the full-fledged ridiculousness for the after-dark celebrations. Way less people around to judge you then (... DK).
 Homecoming 2014: Charlotte's first :)
She's not coming this year because I wouldnt be able to enjoy a MINUTE 
chasing around a toddler who hates to sit still. Mom & Auntie can have her for the day!

5) Pace Yourself. 

This is marathon. Not a sprint:
Just because some old Football players are offering you Jello Shots at 9am does NOT mean you should take 5 of them (I'm talking to YOU-- 19 year old Joanna) 
You should ALWAYS ask what is in the Jungle Juice ( barely 18-year-old Joanna) or the Jello Shots (26 year old Joanna? not my fault... DK!
And just because you can now enter the tailgating field legally does NOT mean you should immediately Shotgun 3 beers. (I'm talking to YOU-- barely 21 year old Joanna)
or 24 year old Joanna...
At least we kept it classy that year.
 Tailgating usually begins before 10:00am... and the game doesn't even start until 1:00pm, people... no WONDER I never get to watch actual Football being played.
Then you have to make it to the END of the game where we celebrate ...  WIN, LOSE or DRAW. And're expected to look bright eyed a bushy tailed at the festivities that evening.
Nope. Mama needs a nap. 

6) Nap. Like. A. Boss. 

I have always said people who pass out early from alcohol consumption are actually just bullshitting everyone and have actually hatched a brilliant plan to take a middle-of-the-day NAP.... where everyone leaves them alone because they feel bad that they're "sick". GENUIS!
However, if you have drank all day-- in the sunshine-- and walked the equivalent of 15 miles around the tailgating areas (and to and from the bathroom)-- and want to take a nap... that's when people make fun of you. They call you grandma and want to make fun of you for being old. Not cool, kids. Naps are awesome.

7) Take Friday Off. And Sunday. And Monday for that matter.

Friday is for pre-gaming. Saturday is for gaming. Sunday morning is for pedialyte, and re-evaluating your life choices... and Monday is to celebrate that you actually feel human again.
I'm not kidding, kids. Take Friday off. Otherwise, you're sitting at work reminiscing about how wonderful it would be if you weren't working and were, instead, enjoying cold beers at Macados with friends talking about the "good ol' days". 
Just take the damn day off (27-year-old Joanna....)
Just a little #throwback 
Some of my favorite ladies staying warm (and drunk) in the truck post-game. 

8) Hydrate.

If I didn't make it clear during my "Preparation is Key" entry-- drink lots of water. Drink it weeks before, the day before, on your way to and during all Homecoming festivities. Its a lifesaver. Both on Sunday morning when you only feel like 1/2 of a dead asshole... and on Saturday afternoon when you've had too much jungle juice and continue to ask your friend why your dorm room is spinning if you're sitting still ... (Lessons learned, 19 year old Joanna

9) Wear SPF.

 I don't care if the weather man says its going to be 40 degrees and cloudy. Put on some Sunscreen because when the Sun does come out... and your drunk ass is passed out in a lawn chair... you will THANK ME that you don't look like a drunk lobster and have college kids laughing at you (and your life choices)
Also, you really should wear SPF every single day. Its pretty important for skin care and cancer prevention, you know? So just put it on every day. 

Basically... your body is about to embark on a 24-hour celebration of all things fall--- tailgating, cold mornings, sunny afternoons, football, grilled food, beer from a can, liquor from a bottle and boots galore.
Enjoy, my friends. (and Stay Thirsty)

See you all at Exit 26 tomorrow morning 
(because I didn't take Friday off. Dammit. 
I can never remember #7) 
With Love, 

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