Sometimes you’re the superhero at college. But other times you’re the damsel — or man-damsel (mamsel?) — in distress. Here are the true heroes of college, the allies you’ll need most to save you when you’re hanging from a burning rope over a pit of mutant alligators. Metaphorically (usually).
The Red Pen
“Begone, ye cumbersome prose!”
Bio: Trained in the forgotten ancient art of literary alchemy, the Red Pen can perform arcane rituals upon a work of fiction or nonfiction, turning your turgid mass of text-vomit into writing whose beauty mortals weep before.
Signature moves: Comma Slice; Semicolonoscopy; Words of Power
How to team up: Sometimes the Red Pen is found at your campus writing center, sometimes in your very dorm. She, oddly, loves editing your essays. Find her. Ask for her help. Bake her cookies afterward.
“All the record of all you need to know — for a price”
Bio: His fingers zip over keyboard like angry wasps. He decodes undecipherable professor jargon. He’s a permanent gargoyle in the front row. Super Scribe’s inescapable birth curse is your greatest asset: He can’t ever miss a lecture. He snatches transcripts from mid-air, preserving them forever.
Signature Moves: Hyper-typing, Stenographic Sonic Boom, Psychic Pop-Quiz Prediction.
How to team up: Super Scribe is proud (and protective) of his fated inability to fall prey to college apathy. He has the upper hand when you’re in the weeds (and knows it). Bring him an him offering in return for his notes, like a Starbucks gift card.
The Cafeteria Contrabandit
“Eat THIS! No, seriously. It’s delicious.”
Bio: By day, he’s just a mild-mannered college cafeteria worker. But by night, he transforms into the Cafeteria Contrabandit, smuggling out the leftovers and forgotten foods from the dining hall, bestowing them on the hungry late-night masses.
Signature moves: The Chicken Strip Shuffle, 5,000 Loaves and FishSticks, Pudding Cup Procure.
How to team up: Befriend both the Contrabandit, and his mild-mannered daytime alter-ego. Gain his trust, and someday he may let you into his inner circle (and the free pizza slices that come with it).
Professor Xtra Credit
“Step into my office. Leave a better person.”
With his wisdom-coated voice and imposing tweed jacket, Professor Xtra may seem unapproachable. He’s not. Find him in his lair — follow the smell of old books — and he’ll not only give you tutoring and extra-credit opportunities, he’ll provide insight into life, philosophy, romance, and, occasionally, the more psychotropic aspects of the ‘60s.
Signature Moves: Cloud of Pipe Smoke, Conjure Book Recommendation, the Tweed Tornado
How to battle: Sometimes, college success is as simple as knocking on a professor’s door during office hours. Go further by taking him out to coffee. Let him play the sage guru role he’s dying to play.
“Come hither, scholar. Rejuvenate in my garden of nourishment.”
Bio: She’ll keep a vigilante eye on her baby as he goes to school close by — plus all the friends he brings home for dinner. This heroine of hospitality is unfailingly armed with secret caches of gourmet leftovers, revivifying snacks and crates of sacred Gatorade ambrosia (purchased wholesale from the temple of Costco).
Signature Moves: Hug Hurl, Smokescreen of Solace, MegaMuffin Melee
How to team up: See the kid getting out of his Subaru with that towering basket of freshly folded laundry? Socks that white don’t bleach themselves. Be his friend.
“With great power comes a great need for surge protectors.”
Bio: That technological monstrosity on his desk costs more than two years of your tuition — Gonzaga tuition. But for all his gadgets and gizmos, for all his geeky talk of fragging and defragging, DOS and CMOS, the man knows how to set up a printer. And when your laptop dies, only the Mac Daddy has the techno-necromancy skills to resurrect it.
Signature Moves: Single-Click Solution, P-p-p-powerbook PowerPunch, the Untangler.
How to team up: Tolerate his insults about your obsolete equipment and learn from his instructions. Mac Daddy hates fixing the same problem twice.
Left to right: Dean Schizoff, the Lich King, the Social Siren, the Other (Significant), Gluttonous Glob, the Lich King
Evil stalks the halls of academia. Here are just a few men, women and amorphous blob-things that can end your collegiate adventures with a splatter.
“Common sense is our only rule. Break that and I’ll kill you.”
Usually, Dean Schizhoff is the kindest, warmest, most wonderful administrator you’ve ever known. But cause a fuss — even without breaking a single rule — and out come the big guns. Sometimes. It’s his unpredictability — an ironclad adherence to a shifting invisible code — that makes him dangerous.
Signature moves: The Iron Fist, Secret Probation2, The Dean’s Death List
How to battle: Never confess to a prank. Avoid his gaze. Find allies in other administrators, professors and collegiate judicial bodies who’d be willing to stand up for you when it comes to a question of student rights.
The Lich King
“I will freeze you from within until all that remains is an icy husk!”
Bio: The Lich King rules high atop his frozen throne, corrupting the souls of the innocent, providing them with hunger for only one thing: Play more World of Warcraft. The academic graveyards are littered with undead students dropping classes, friends and mealtimes, to collect just one more boar pelt.
Signature Moves: Fury of Frostmourne, Life Siphon, Banish to Eternal Dorm-Room Prison.
How to Fight: Like global thermonuclear war, the only winning move against the Lich King is not to play. Time in college is too valuable. Avoid all video games that don’t contain the words “Super Smash” or “Kart.”
The Social Siren
“WRU@? Give in to my tweets … you’re getting distracted, very distracted….”
Bio: This business-majoring socialite lures fledging freshmen from the ship of scholarly studiousness with seductive songs of football pre-gaming and dormitory shenanigans. Turn a deaf ear to her chirping texts and she’ll drive you mad with persistent play-by-plays via Facebook of what you’re missing.
Signature Moves: Digital Omnipresence, Guilt-Trip Stun Glare, Superhuman Tracking
How to battle: “Just a few minutes!” in the time-sucking vortex of Social Siren’s solar system = four hours of responsible people time. Stick your cell in a drawer. Hide in the library. Log off of MySpace. Or she’ll find you.
The Other (Significant)
“No, you hang up first… no, YOU hang up first.”
Bio: Sultry, seductive, and all-consuming in your first semester, The Other (Significant) is capable of completely absorbing you right when you’re at your social infancy. By the time you’ve gone through the painful process of separation, you’ll find everyone else has already formed groups of friends. You have some pastel-colored teddy bears and a vague sense of having missed out.
Signature moves: Suffocating Smooch, Summon Tickle Monster, Ring by Fall, Kiss of Social Death
How to battle: Wait a semester to build allies until committing to anything romantic.
“I ate the other Six Deadly Sins for breakfast, kid.”
Bio: Beware the beast. It’s a sleeping monster, triggered from dormancy by infinite availability of cafeteria waffles, a nicotine whisper from a single cigarette, a mere mention of kegs or the lure of self-serve soft ice cream at midnight. The more you feed it, the more it craves.
Signature Moves: Clog Conscience, Spell of Indulgence, Temptation Aura, Drain Willpower
How to battle: The phrase “Freshman 15” is no myth. Neither
are DUIs. And 8 am lectures are a bitch when you’re hung-over. Glob
knocks on the door of impulse with his gloopy hands often. Keep that
newfound freedom in (relative) check.
“Hey, man, I’ll repay you next time. Promisssse.”
Bio: A shadow stalks communal areas. Beware Mooch, the slippery freeloading waif who grazes from your stash whenever it’s unguarded. Mooch is as two-faced as Gollum — and when it’s time to pay the bill, he disappears with your most preciousss possessions.
Signature Moves: Mini-Fridge Gravity Pull, Sticky Finger Swipe, Cross-Dimensional Dine ‘n’ Dash
How to battle: “No means no!” is useful for more than unwanted sexual encounters. Be firm and set some boundaries: Don’t foot the bill for groceries, ask for separate checks and label everything. Assert your ownership: “It’s my freaking box of Cheez-Its, Mooch. Go buy your own.”