COLUMN: An address to freshmen: Bring a coat
You incoming freshmen are headed into what has been repeatedly described as the best years of your life, so I will try to keep my remarks short and not give them a bad start.
Forgive me if I ramble, it’s my way of coping with the looming end to four years of more learning and growing than I ever expected. I also went to class.
Bring a coat.
You probably think you will head home and refresh your wardrobe in a few weeks after the fall semester starts, but you will quickly find that plans and class schedules are much more amorphous now that the only person you are beholden to is yourself.
Don’t let this get you down, but don’t let it excite you too much, either. Solitude is a gift best returned.
Take part in all the student groups you can, but don’t let them become your life. Your parents, your part-time job or most likely your future credit rating are not paying thousands of dollars a year so you can pull your hair out resolving drama in the herpetological society or pacifying snakes in the grass in the theatre club.
If you’re doing something so you can put it on your resume, stop.
Ride a bike whenever possible — it’s decent exercise and more fun than walking, but don’t expect distracted students to get out of your way.
You’ll both be disappointed.
At the start of the semester it will be very warm and you will think you have months before any article of clothing will have to descend below your knee caps.
You will be wrong. You still live in Michigan, even if you no longer have a driveway to shovel.
Bring a coat.
You should not be desperate for love, but neither should you fear it. There will never be a better or worse time to begin a relationship.
That will always be true.
If it does not work out, always part on the best terms you can.
Burning bridges is bad for the environment and will always, always burn you back.
You don’t need to be your roommate’s friend, but you should be friendly with your roommates.
Experience freely. Commit selectively, especially to things you don’t think you’re committing to.
Don’t go to the same bar every night. Don’t hang out with the same people every night. Don’t drink just to drink, but don’t not drink just to not drink. You can have fun if you know your limits.
Know your limits. You are not here to study, and you are not here to party. You are here to grow, in the hopes that you will be a better person to have around by the time you leave.
Take courses outside your degree. Argue with a philosophy professor at least once, especially if you are a philosophy major.
Sit in the student section at a sports game if you ever feel your school pride dipping too low, and sit in the public seats at a board of trustees meeting if you ever feel too content with your university.
And please, if by some act of God or Goldschlager you come to disregard the contents of this address, do remember one thing, because I really would hate to see another generation of Chippewas trudging through foot-deep snow in hoodies:
You will grow cold before you know it.
Bring a coat.
Editor’s note: You might also consider wearing sunscreen.
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