Fifteen years ago, I was a freshman in college at Central Missouri State University, now named University of Central Missouri. Like many college freshman, I was excited about leaving home and having that much needed parental freedom, plus the ability to prove that I could totally live on my own. I was far enough away from home (about an hour and half) that I felt like I could experience all those things I needed to. Moreover, in Warrensburg, I was able to get into the bars before everyone else because you only had to be 19 to get in, versus 18 back home in Columbia.

Now it’s 2013, and my oldest niece is a freshman at Mizzou. I should start by saying that my niece is not your typical kid, and no, I’m not just saying that because I’m related to her. She’s incredible! I am so proud of her and admire her so much. I want my daughter to grow up just like her. Did I mention that she’s gorgeous? Again, I’m not just bragging her because I’m her aunt. For her 18th birthday, I didn’t buy her a typical “you’re 18 and going off to college gift”. This is generally something for her dorm room, or money and maybe even a journal for her to keep track of her journey. Nope, not this aunt. If you’re following Aunt Bubba from Sass, Brass & Bullets, one might only assume that I purchased her a pistol to tote along with her. Negative, Ghost Rider, that’s illegal since she’s not old enough to carry a gun, AND because she can’t have one on campus. I did buy her enough personal protection product to make up the ultimate gift basket though. Don’t mess with her, ‘cause you might get burned, by pepper spray, that is.

Unfortunately for my niece, she’s already experiencing the ups and down’s associated with college life, including no time to eat, no time to sleep, having to pay extra because she’s not “pomping” and roommate issues. Been there, done that. My roommate in college would always wear my clothes without asking. Let’s just say we were not the same size. She never cleaned up after herself and maybe washed her bedding once the entire four months we lived together. That’s right…I moved out at the end of the semester and got my own dorm room. Bailey’s getting ready to do the exact same thing.

What’s the worst thing your college roommate did? How many of your college roommates kept a container of urine in your dorm fridge? Who does that? My niece’s roommate does/did. She knew she would not be able to pass a drug test, so she had her friend pee in a cup for her. GROSS!! Sounds like something you might read out of Jenny Lawson book, Let’s Pretend This Never Happened: (A Mostly True Memoir). If you haven’t read it and you need a good book to laugh at, this one definitely will make you laugh out loud, shake your head and make you appreciate your family who’s not as messed up as you thought they were.

By the end of my freshman year, I had been placed on academic probation, as a result from partying way too hard (remember earlier when I said I could get into the bars). Thankfully for my niece, she’s a whole lot smarter than I was at that age, plus, she’s got an aunt like me who will kick her butt if she does what I did.

Hopefully, the rest of her freshman year will be better than the first few months! She is also celebrating her 19th birthday this weekend!! Happy birthday!!

Aunt Bubba

P.S. Pomping, for those of you who don’t know, pomping refers to the process of sticking paper mache (small pieces of colored tissue paper ) to some sort of frame made from wooden boards or chicken wire by using glue. It is basically long nights and days build a display or float to show school spirit and to represent your fraternity and bond as a member (source: Yahoo answers). Her sorority was tasked with building a float for homecoming.