Lessons for Freshmen as Told by ‘Breaking Bad’

Sept. 18, 2012, 12:50 a.m.
Lessons for Freshmen as Told by 'Breaking Bad'
Courtesy of AMC

So you got into Stanford—think you’re hot shit, right? Well, with Tuco breathing down your neck, a pregnant wife nagging you and a narc in the family, think you’ll still make it to office hours? Okay, yeah so this is a metaphor, but we’ve all got skeletons in the basement!


In four and a half seasons of some of the best meth drama we’ve ever seen, Intermission has collected five ripe tips for navigating freshman year, as told by “Breaking Bad.” And remember, Rome wasn’t built in a day, but that shouldn’t keep you from the empire business!


If you haven’t jumped on the AMC train, spoilers follow. Also, go buy a Netflix account—it’s going to be a long four years.


Don’t buy everything from the same place!

Walt and Jesse know better than to buy all their sudo, tubes and beakers at the same hardware store, and so should you! After several over-scheduled days of NSO and the madness of finally enrolling in classes, you may be itching to hit the bookstore and stock up on expensive college-y lookin’ text books. Alternatively, you may have realized all the essential things you forgot, and desperately need to buy socks. Sweet as those Stanford socks are, think twice before adding them to your already-overflowing basket during your two-hour shopping spree at the campus bookstore. Buying everything at the bookstore doesn’t make you look sketchy or guilty of cooking meth, but it does make you look like a wide-eyed freshman. We hear Amazon has free shipping.


It’s a very, very small world (at Stanford).

You know how every time something suspicious is in sight, Hank is in the room and on his A-game for spotting trouble? Stanford feels big and sprawling at first, but you’ll soon find that you see a lot of the same people…all of the time. No biggie, until you alienate or antagonize people in your dorm, classes, etc. Because PWR girl has a way of showing up in all your future sections. Or worse—rush! Seek Amish hat as disguise?


Don’t be afraid to do things a little differently than whatever’s in vogue.

When Walt realized that gathering sudo was the bottleneck slowing down the entire operation, what’d he do? He switched to a sudo-free cook and created the infamous blue meth! Can you say game changer? So take that philosophy seminar that you’re nerding out over or dabble in programming if computers scare you…it could be the beginning of your very own empire!


Don’t change something about yourself just for the sake of change.

You’re starting college, which IS a big life change, and doesn’t need an extra dramatic change to mark the occasion. In short, don’t ask people to call you Flynn if your name is Walter Jr. And the high-school-to-college drink exchange rate is the same, so know your limit! Don’t go puking in anybody’s pool just to prove yourself to your bros. Related side note: tattoo removal exists but is still super painful.


Learn from your experiences, especially with people.

Learn to trust new people and be open to really getting to know them, á la Walter and former-hoodrat-turned-surrogate-son Jesse. On the other hand, learn from your mistakes…you should only have to deal with one Tuco to determine that crazies are not your scene!



Alex is an avid watcher of “Breaking Bad,” “The Wire” and “True Blood” but has never done “V.”

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