Friday, April 19, 2024

Columnist gives advice to younger Spartans

September 5, 2001

Freshmen... you’re finally here.

After the horrors of moving in have subsided, the parental good-byes said, and the experience of buying books for the first time in a three-mile line conquered, you start to believe that you can handle anything. It’s fun to pretend... isn’t it?

Initially, these first rigors of the college experience will latch onto your soul, and will try to squeeze all that is vital to existence out of you. It does get better, I promise. As an incoming freshman, you learn to put up with a lot of crap, and then as you become older and wiser and as the credits accumulate, you learn to give the crap right back.

When you set foot on campus for the first time as a student, you have no real idea as to what you are doing here. Sure, there is a vague premonition that you are supposed to attend those things called “classes,” write thoughts down on paper for “grades,” and eventually attain something vaguely known as a “degree,” but as of now, this is all Greek to you. It is to most freshmen, and in some cases, to sixth-year seniors.

A few indispensable lessons of life are not truly learned until you become a college student. Of these lessons, the most important one is tolerance, for it can mean so many things. Ah yes, tolerance - the wonderful ability to deal with most anything that occurs around you, whether you like it or not.

Whether it be the matters of whom you are living with, or associated with, toleration and understanding are key. Females, if you happen to be the straight-laced type of person who still has a pristine collection of Precious Moments and My Little Pony collectibles arranged nicely on your bedroom shelf at home, you are certainly going to flip out when housing decides to randomly place you into a triple with Queen Vixentramp and the Goddess Freak of the Underworld. The only options for you are to learn to negotiate or sleep with one eye open at all times... you decide.

Likewise males, you could theoretically live with a Vixentramp, but for a majority of you, I’m sure you wouldn’t mind - but don’t quote me. However, if you magically find yourself in a situation involving yourself, a tech-geek who adores Rob Zombie and your roomie turns out to live entirely for Harlequin romance novels and the lovely ballads composed by 1980’s supergroups Journey and Foreigner, you will succumb to a daily brain hemorrhage. That is, if you do not attempt to find a common ground that you both share.

Acceptance also has a bit to do with those experiences where you find yourself drinking a lot of beer at a keg party that just happens to be occurring next door. That sort of tolerance, however, you tend to learn the hard way. I, therefore, can only let you make your own mistakes on this one, if you feel so inclined. If you can’t be good, you might as well be good at it.

Sure, the college experience isn’t always a bundle of fun. If it were, we would never graduate. Classes are going to be challenging, time spent on work or school projects will eat away your will to live, and living situations will be hostile and tense. We have all been through it, and you will too. Consider it a form of initiation, per se.

One of my old teachers once told me after you graduate from college, you will know two things: 1. that you have never worked so hard in your life, and 2., you have never played so hard in your life. Coming from the mouth of an MSU alumnus, I think it sounds quite accurate. As an incoming freshman, your attitude toward your surroundings are definitely going to reflect upon you as a person. With that said, make your choices wisely, but also make plenty of room for fun as well.

If there is any advice that I can give to the newcomers, all I can say is this - give everything your best effort, 100 percent. Whether that means actually breaking down and being nice to your roommate or suitemates or finally giving in to your professor’s insane demands, it usually has a good payoff in the end. Also, listen to advice people give you. The first bit of advice I learned this year has definitely been infallible to me, so I will share it here with you: Don’t be naughty. Yeah, that should cover all of the bases.

Sarah Emery, a sophomore State News freelancer, is trying to wield the power of coolness through the wonder of journalism. Give her feedback, and tell her it isn’t working at


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