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Buckle down and hit the books, Likins tells freshmen

By Sarah Guzzardo
Arizona Daily Wildcat
August 24, 1998
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Katherine K. Gardiner
Arizona Daily Wildcat

UA President Peter Likins watched himself "larger than life" in a video presentation during the Freshman Convocation of the Class of 2002 last night at Centennial Hall. Likins advised students to find a balance between school and extracurricular activities.

UA President Peter Likins admitted to the class of 2002 last night that he also had trouble juggling academics and social activities in college.

"I soon realized college success is hard earned," he said to a crowd of about 600 at a new student convocation in Centennial Hall. "I squeaked out an A on my first calculus quiz, but still felt uncomfortable with the material. On the second, I received a B. On the third and last - I got a big F."

At the same time, Likins said he was having problems with his girlfriend and was trying to land a spot on an athletic team. In the end, however, Likins said he passed the class, made the team and married the girl.

The key to surviving college is learning how to deal with freedom and responsibility and developing self-control and self-discipline, he said. The convocation was part of Wildcat Welcome, a program designed to make new UA students feel more at home.

"Something terribly important is about to begin," Likins said. "You may be wondering if you can make it here. If you survive the first six months you'll probably be OK."

But he did not sugarcoat the message of academic dedication.

"You will probably play harder now than any other time in your life," Likins said. "But you will also work harder or regret it."

Likins warned freshmen that there are consequences to their actions and advised new students to think their own thoughts and make their own decisions. He asked them to apply that advice specifically to alcohol and drugs.

"Losing control is never smart," Likins said. "Your future careers and lives are too precious to risk."

He also reassured students that being scared of college is normal.

"We've all been college freshmen and know the terrors and joys," Likins said. "You must expect the sky to fall at least once this year. Don't take it too seriously - disappointments are a normal part of life."

He urged students to acknowledge the humanity of others on campus.

"Treat your roommate like your brother or your sister and the rest of the UA like your extended family," Likins said.

The hour-long ceremony was sponsored by the Office of Undergraduate Education.

"I thought President Likins' speech was encouraging," said Jessica Patze, an accounting freshman. "I liked how he related a personal story to get on our level."

Whitney Love, a journalism freshman, said Likins made her feel welcome at UA.

"I thought it was more than a typical welcome message," she said. "He was trying to really say something to us."


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