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Thursday, Feb. 22, 2024
The Observer

Frosh-O for Dummies

Cut the next 500 words out and hang it right by your desk. Despite the insufferable horde of brochures, speeches, lectures and pamphlets you'll receive this weekend, this is your definitive guide to life at Notre Dame and Saint Mary's.First, right now, before you do anything else, find an adhesive piece of paper. On it, please inscribe your name, hometown and dorm, then affix the paper to your shirt. Putting the name of your intended major (also known as the academic discipline from which you intend to change) is optional. See how well you can interact with your fellow freshmen without having to ask for the answers to those four questions. Second, who do you think probably enjoyed their college experience - someone who spent hours in the library studying minutiae to get a 4.0, or someone who took time to talk with professors to actually learn the material? You're here to get an education, not to get good grades. There's a big difference. Third, by going to school in South Bend, you unintentionally became a member of the illustrious Midwest. In this land of rolling hills and lovely winters, you'll quickly discover that we play card games called "euchre" and drink fluids called "pop." If you don't like it, get used to it.Fourth, figure out what you like to do, and then join the organization for that activity. Getting involved with a group outside your dorm is the best way to meet people. And it gives you something to do besides playing solitaire on your computer.Fifth, if you haven't already, download AOL's Instant Messenger. There's nothing quite like sending messages to your roommate who is sitting four feet away from you - it preserves the vocal cords for Notre Dame football games.Sixth, congratulations on being valedictorian/class president/National Merit Finalist in high school. Just remember that yours is the most selective class in school history, and the person you're tooting your horn to is probably just as qualified to be here as you are.Seventh, please vacuum your room once in a blue moon, please take your laundry out of the machine within a minute after it's done and for the love of God, please flush the toilet. Your dorm mates (and the janitorial staff) will thank you.Eighth, you're a freshman. That means you're entitled to make all sorts of silly mistakes, not know where buildings are and preach from your soapbox. Don't worry about us upperclassmen silently chuckling in your direction; you'll be joining us in a few years.Ninth, you're on your own here. Your parents might want you to spend lots of time studying, but you don't have to. Your friends might want you to party eight nights a week, but you don't have to. You're in college now, which means you're supposed to be independent and responsible. Finally, make your own friends, and don't seek out the cliques that you loved as a high school student. Learn how to do things on your own, not have Mom do them for you. Pick a major you like, not one you think you need in order to make a six-figure salary. And if you don't know something, feel free to ask any question of anyone.Just don't ask why we call it pop.