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May 17, 1996 - Image 68

Resource type:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1996-05-17

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Michigan State University

is s rtsorin a

d their Famili

• MSU Jewish Appeal
• Reform Chavurah
Reform Judaism
• Koach MSU
Conservative Judaism
• Tikva
Israel Group

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learn to prioritize. I had three dai-
ly planners and notes posted all
around the room just to keep me
organized. Organization is a key
to success in college. The first cou-
ple of months was a time of ad-
justment. I felt very disorganized.
Once I got into a daily routine,
however, organization became
my top priority. Without it, I
knew I would fall behind in my
school work and would not obtain
the grades that I so desperately
It is also difficult to balance
one's social life. Pledging a soror-
ity took up vast amounts of time.
Although being active in Greek
life is my favorite aspect of col-
lege, my first semester in a soror-
ity definitely hindered me in my
Money also becomes a topic of
concern; there are expenses left
and right. Eating normal food
(which means off campus), tak-
ing taxis and sorority dues are all
examples of extra expenses. For
some reason, money seemed to
disappear into thin air.
This was my problem to deal
with. I knew that if I ran out of
money, I could not beg my par-
ents for more because sooner or
later I would be completely on my
own. I had to learn how to take
care of myself.
Lesson No. 3 — Losing
touch with some of your high-
school friends is a natural
part of life.
I consider myself lucky. I still
keep in touch with most of my
high-school friends. But for the
majority of freshman., this is not
the case. Most of them only talk
to two or three on a regular ba-
Sooner or later, a college stu-
dent breaks away from home.
Each day, my life becomes more
focused in Atlanta. Although I
will always have good friends for
life at home, my best friends are
at college with me. I ha:ye ac-
cepted that this is just the nat-
ural course of events.
As the months go by, I find my-
self becoming more and more de-
tached from the idea of Detroit as
"home." It is different for those
who choose to stay in state for col-
lege. They have the opportunity
to go home whenever they please
— for the holidays, parties or just
to see their families.
In my case, I cannot come back
to West Bloomfield whenever I
feel like it. I cannot run to my
parents if I get in trouble because
I am 750 miles away. Conse-
quently, the phone bills are high.

My heart is divided between
two completely different places.
Living in the South is radically
different from going to school in
the North. But I am glad that I
chose to go out of state. Now I
have two places to call home. I
fear that if I had stayed in Michi-
gan, I would have resented De-
troit and those around me. I was
ready for a change, and I needed
the break.
Also, I know I never would
have established the wonderful
relationship that I now have
with my parents. They are my
true best friends. If I was going
to school in state, they probably
would have impeded my free-
dom, and we would not be as
Lesson No. 4 — The "Fresh-
man 15" is not a myth.
This is one of the scariest parts
of college. I, along with the rest
of my friends, discovered that go-
ing to college means coming
home with "extra baggage." A
student does not have time to ex-
ercise like he or she did in high
school — unless taking the stairs
instead of the elevator counts as
With all the studying we have
to do in college to stay on top, stu-
dents are awake and restless all
hours of the night. This means
ordering pizza at midnight and
making trips to the snack ma-
chine at 2 a.m. on a regular ba-
Of course, there is a slight pos-
sibility that I could have pre-
vented some of my weight gain,
but I put on those pounds way too
fast to figure out a way to control
Lesson No. 5 — Caffeine is
a necessity.
The workload in college is not
only double the size but twice as
hard. I hardly opened a book in
high school, but now I practical-
ly live in the library. With all that
work, it is hard to stay awake.
I never drank an ounce of cof-
fee before freshman year, but
now I find coffee (or three Diet
Cokes) necessary to keep up with
my work. Pulling all-nighters be-
comes common in college, espe-
cially during big exams.
Sometimes I find myself try-
ing to read, understand and ab-
sorb 700 pages of material all at
once (usually around 3 a.m.). I
have found this an impossible
task to accomplish without the
help of caffeine.
Lesson No. 6 — Do not get
sick in college.
When I was sick freshman

year, I had to deal with a lot of
red tape and long lines. In the
spring, I pulled a ligament in my
foot and was on crutches for a
couple of weeks. At first, I did not
understand health insurance, but
I soon became an expert.
With the amazing facilities
present on campus, such as the
Centers for Disease Control, one
would think the medical atten-
tion given to students would be
satisfactory. I beg to differ.
Recently I had a steep test, and
I had to deliver my own specimen
to the lab. To make matters
worse, next year Emory is abol-
ishing 24-hour health care at Stu-
dent Health Services. These
kinds of things make a college
student really frustrated.
Lesson No. 7 — Grab ahold
of every opportunity that
comes your way.
I cannot believe how many
wonderful experiences I have en-
joyed in such a short time. Last
year I met Jimmy Carter, saw
President Clinton speak and at-
tended various lectures by many
other famous and well-respected
members of our society.
I explored my college town
thoroughly, from occasionally din-
ing in its upscale restaurants to
helping the Olympic Committee
and painting the housing projects
This year I saw the Dalai
Lama and Newt Gingrich (an
Emory alumni), volunteered for
the food bank and listened to
many bands playing on campus.
In college, the possibilities are
endless. There is always a mul-
titude of places to go and things
to see. It is no wonder that bal-
ancing one's schedule is so diffi-
cult. I saw and did more in the
past two years than I had in my
whole life.
It is impossible to name all the
other important lessons I've
learned — some revolving around
my social life, others around is-
sues of racism in college — but
I've listed the most significant.
Colleges are not only institu-
tions of higher education. They
are a place of freedom. The col-
lege experience enhances the in-
dividuality of and, at the same
time, molds students into ideal
citizens for society. Again, I would
not change one thing.
My final advice to entering
freshmen is make the most of
your college experience. At no
other time of your life will you get
a top-notch education and at the
same time have the time of your
life. II

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