Almost every year, there is an Arizona Daily Wildcat column welcoming freshmen and giving them tips on how to survive four or five or six years at the University of Arizona. In the past, some freshmen read the column and then left their Wildcats abandoned in the Fiddlee Fig. Some freshmen merely looked at the pretty pictures in the newspaper. But there were some who read the column and were amazed by the insightful tips. They got a couple copies of the newspaper and snipped out the columns. One copy went up on the dorm room wall. One copy went in the wallet. One copy went under the pillow. They lived according to the column and whenever they were in high-pressure situations they would pull it out and consult it. Well, I’d like to make a confession. We made up those tips. They were lies. Sorry for screwing up your lives.
You have to understand that at the beginning of the school year, the Wildcat editors are usually a busy bunch. So we used to make up the Welcoming Column. Editors would sit around a computer and rear their heads back in nefarious laughter as they tossed around ideas for potential tips. But this year, the Wildcat is a kinder and gentler newspaper. Plus we feel guilty about the Freshmen injured by following last year’s Tip #12 (“You don’t need an ID to get into Tucson bars. Just go up to the doorman and say,‘I may be underage, but I’m a player, baby.’ If that doesn’t work, beat up the doorman and waltz right in.”). So rather than mislead freshmen, I decided to research the college experience. Where do you go to do research? The library, of course.
With help from my friend Joe, I found the definitive guide to the freshmen experience – You Can Always Tell A Freshman by Elisabeth Ann Hudnut. Even though it was published in 1949, its gems of wisdom are timeless. So Freshmen, read this column and ponder the implications:
HOMESICKNESS – Hudnut writes “You may be forty or four thousand miles from home; the difference is negligible. The fact remains that someday, usually at the beginning, when you are washing out your stockings, or trying to go to sleep at night, it will happen. You may be eating a perfectly adequate luncheon, surrounded by chatter, when you suddenly choke on your lettuce...At home people know that you don’t like onions in your potato salad and how talented you really are. Homesickness is a compliment to the life you have led before college, but it is the sort of compliment that makes no one happier.”
By the way, if you are homesick, do not cry. If you’re caught crying, upperclassmen will call you such names as “Cry-Baby” or “Weepy” or “The Freshmen That Cries When We Don’t Know If He Wants Onions In His Potato Salad.” Upperclassmen feel big by making freshmen feel small.
RAISING YOUR GRADES – “One gal called upon her Mathematics professor and discovered that the prof collected brass objects. Indeed, she would have had to be blind to miss them. In an effort to be pleasant, she mentioned the brass collection and so it was discovered that the professor would love to pay somebody to shine up the collection each week. Which is how our girl began polishing brass every Saturday morning and raising her Math grade in the bargain!”
Take the initiative when kissing butt. Remember you must be the one offering to polish your professor’s candlestick.
DATING – Hudnut advises,“Dating on coeducational campuses is characterized by simplicity. Between-class Coke dates. After-study Pepsi dates. Mid-library hour 7-Up dates. To say nothing of ginger ale at the campus hangout after the Wednesday-night movies.”
Since 1952, medical experts have recommended not relying so heavily on carbonated beverage in social situations. This announcement followed an incident in which a co-ed spontaneously combusted after three dates in one week. Doctors now recommend drinking O.J.. Oh no, I mentioned O.J.! He’s everywhere! Everywhere, I say! At least the column will get a boost in readership because of the gratuitous reference. It’s not like I mentioned John Wayne Bobbit or Michael Jackson. There I go again. Let’s move on.
SEX – Hudnut writes,“If your education in sex matters has been neglected at home you should maybe Read a Book. Everyone who has attained college age deserves a wholesome and realistic knowledge of the Birds and the Bees Department.”
But you should be careful what book you read. Someone I know once took such advice and read the novelization of The Crying Game. He is now a very confused man. Some say he is not the professor he once was.
– I hope you pored over these tips carefully. Learn them. Live them. Love them. One day you can be a well-adjusted upperclassmen. One day you could really be a player.
Jon Burstein is journalism and political science senior. His columns appear weekly. He once called 1-800-PSYCHIC to learn his future. When the psychic asked for his credit card number, he said,“You’re the psychic, tell me.” The psychic hung up. Jon predicted she would do that.. By the way, Freshmen, this is a joke.
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