The dust has finally begun to settle. “Jersey Shore” is out of our lives.

It seems like only yesterday those eight excessively tanned 20-somethings entered our Tivo schedules, and voila, they’re gone ? and in their wake they left nothing more than the “GTL” mantra and a bad aftertaste.

So for now, that means no more talk of “juiceheads,” “guidos” and “guidettes.” It means the end of beating up the beat and the tests of true friendship ? like handling a “grenade” so your best friend can get some.

I’m just left with one burning question. If everything happens for a reason (and I’d like to think it does), how the hell did we end up with “The Jersey Shore”?

Maybe we should put it differently: If we’re supposed to take a lesson from life’s experiences, then what the hell did we learn from “Jersey Shore”?

It’s applying a philosophical thought to a superficial issue just for a moment (even if the process is more like Megan Fox trying to figure out the meaning of life) to see what we can find. To help out in this process, this question was put to the test with the help of several Herald editors to create this list of life lessons learned from “Jersey Shore”:

Whatever higher power there is hates us.

Only a vengeful god who hates us would will upon society a television show with a vapid cast, Jersey accents and men who spend more time on their hair than their female counterparts. I don’t know what we did to deserve this ? although anyone featured on “My Super Sweet 16″ didn’t help the cause ? but seriously, people, lets do better so this doesn’t ever happen again.

The bigger the hair, the closer to God.

Case in point: Snookie. (Pauly D. also counts.) It may be nothing more than an aftereffect of the ’80s glam metal hairdos translated into modern day New Jersey, but it’s spreading like wildfire ? proof once again that God hates us.

There are still plenty of people to marginalize for the sake of reality TV.

With “The Real World” franchise running on empty, it was more than time for MTV to pull a Madonna and reinvent itself a little. Its brilliant idea? Because “True Life: I’m a Jersey Shore Girl” apparently wasn’t enough tanning and clubbing for MTV, and also because the whole “diverse cast thrown into a house as a social experiment” premise was tired, producers decided to focus on one group of people: Italian Americans; throw them in a crappy house and see what happens.

That’s the root of the controversy right there ? the Italian American angle. After the show aired for the first time, groups like the National Italian American Foundation came out in droves against the show and everything it stands for (that being the aforementioned GTL, drinking and partying), saying the show does nothing more than promote stereotypes.

And for a group of people who have been slighted with comparisons to Mario and Luigi since “Donkey Kong” hit arcades, “Jersey Shore” isn’t much of an improvement.

But given the success of “Jersey Shore,” it won’t be long until MTV finds another niche of people to exploit. Maybe offended Italian Americans can take comfort in knowing that no matter who you are, be you American Indian, actual Indian, Caucasian, blind, disabled and so on, MTV will find a way to turn you into a stereotype.

You should never fall in love at the Jersey shore.

Or, you know, you can say you should never fall in love at the Jersey Shore and then immediately do the opposite. It’s like Miley Cyrus and abstinence.

Never, ever, ever punch a woman.

You’d think that lesson would be more obvious than “that guy” who remarked how cold it was last week. Then again, a lesson is something you learn, and the whole “not punching a woman” thing is a societal standard. In that respect, “Jersey Shore” once again proved America wrong ? there really are people who are just that stupid.

It’s not cheating if it’s house music.

I don’t get it either. But if you’re caught grinding on another man, telling him it was nothing more than house music works as a get out of jail free card.

Just don’t go to the Jersey Shore. Period.

If there’s one thing “Jersey Shore” taught us, it’s that unless we’re prepared for excessively primped men, house music, beatings (be they of “the beat,” women or people in general) Jersey accents and possible STIs, we should stay the hell away from the Jersey Shore, if not New Jersey as a whole.

We’re all going to fall for it again.

That’s right, those guidos and guidettes are coming back for more, this time on a different shore. And, as is the case for the majority of trashy reality television, we’ll be watching.

Cailley Hammel is a junior majoring in journalism and communication arts. Can you explain what house music is? E-mail her at [email protected]