Don't forget to yawp


Arizona Daily Wildcat

Zach Thomas

By Zach Thomas
Arizona Daily Wildcat
August 28, 1997
On occasion, the Muses pat me on the back and sing praises.

Sometimes they just sing hip-hop and dance.

This week they slapped me upside the head with a blunt wooden cane.

"Back in school, sucka!" they crowed, gallivanting off to Gentle Ben's for a stout brew, leaving my apparently doomed soul to brood over black coffee, Rudyard Kipling, and the Russian language, which I've successfully forgotten.

I suspect many freshmen (and perhaps a slew of older-types too) share my catatonic state, as they too are suddenly sucked in seventeen schizophrenic directions after a one-track summer. Thing is, the young'uns can hardly find Arizona Stadium yet, let alone their classes.

So freshmen and the dazed-and-confused types: Here's to you...

I hate to cruelly shatter protective bubbles, but if realization has not yet dawned high school ended last May. Yet fear not... in many ways, college is high school taken to a new level that is: The LEVEL OF MORE.

We drink more, study more, hear more music, swallow more coffee and sometimes even use more drugs. There are more buildings to remember, more people to know, more places to explore, and more life to live.

I heard some college students even have more sex, though don't try holding your breath for that one.

While MORE morphs into a positive thing for most, I remember intimidation, frustration and general alienation in my first months here.

Sophomore Rob Burton, whose wide-brimmed khaki hat cries out for fishing lures and tackle, imparts these wise words to the newbies.

"Get involved with clubs or the Greeks anything you can do to avoid just drinkin' beer, smokin' weed, and skippin' class," he said, looking a bit sullen as he recalled his own free-wheeling freshman year.

Yes, MORE can be a relentless multi-faceted monster, a sort of "Star Wars" Sarlacc Pit for the unsuspecting. Yet there's an upside if you prop your mind in the open position and take mistakes in stride. To go through college with a perfect record (academic... or criminal for that matter) is a rarity.

To escape the tentacles of failure, try tolerance and communication... and I don't mean this in the cheesy, politically correct way. Chill with your professors one-on-one, and you'll soon learn they are real people too, no matter how hard some grizzled Ivory Tower dwellers try to hide it.

Talk with new pals. If you're a New Yorker and your roommate grew up on a farm in Nebraska, there's a schism to bridge through discourse. Share parts of your life, and maybe they'll impart theirs. I know it may sound weird, but keep clear of stereotypes. Yes, I know they're there for a reason, but they serve more to alienate than help.

"We always have to check our perceptions," said freshman counselor Socorro Vasquez, as she recalled one of last year's freshmen who walked into her office sporting spiked multi-colored hair and tough-guy combat boots.

"He sat down right there and told me, 'I'm so scared,'" she said. "We're so quick to stereotype and we need to check that."

There's more to everyone than greets the eyes and ears.

So to bottom line it, teachers and texts have summed less than half of my time in this LAND OF MORE it's gone beyond than that entirely. College is more about unearthing life and figuring out what to do during your time around.Voltaire

said, "Cultivate your garden," and even with fruitless efforts to pin down that all-encompassing phrase, it tends to fuel my existence. Find something to fuel yours.

Maybe you exceed everyone's expectations; perhaps you fall out for awhile; could be that you keep a straight edge and a narrow mind; you might even give up college and go home to the folks. Yet whether your barbaric yawp is a chirp or a shriek, be sure to yawp. And try not to forget how to speak Russian. It, like life's pageant, is tough to bring back after it's gone.

Zach Thomas is a journalism junior. His email is zthomas@u.arizona.edu.

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