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September 07, 1978 - Image 20

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1978-09-07

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Great expectations

Speculation on the future naturally
sparks insecurity in any college-bound,
high school graduate. Expectations of
life as a first-year University of
Michigan student for example, can
launch feelings of anxiety and turmoil
in even the least neurotic member of
the future class of '82, myself included.
These feelings are certainly not un-
founded, considering new students base
their impression of university living on
"personal" letters from faculty ad-
dressed "Dear Student," signed with a
rubber stamp and dreary, out-of-date
photos of dorms amidst freezing slush
and overcast skies published in Univer-
sity brochures.
WE ALSO HEAR opinions of
vacationing upperclassmen or, even
worse, rumors spread by acquaintan-
ces of vacationing upperclassmen. And
on top Qf all this, we're subjected to
tales, told by older generation
graduates, of self-made peanut butter
and jelly sandwiches, not to mention $3
per month room and board in
hospitable off campus housing run by a
motherly archetype.
After' assessing the information
gleaned from these sources (University
form letters, photos, acquaintances,
relatives, rumors, et al), an entering
freshperson can form an image of what
campus life will be like. One must
remember, however, that every sour-
ce is biased and one really can't picture
the University experience until one has
been through it himself.
I expect to learn the truth this fall.
One of my sources, for example, a
former University student planning to
return after a year's absence, revealed
that the food isn't too bad for cafeteria
cooking. However, the novice is only
impressed by the variety and the word
is that the quality of the food worsens in
the gourmet's mind as time passes. One
can at least survive those bleak Sun-
days, when only a "noon dinner" is ser-
ved, at the local McDonald's.
ALTHOUGH dorm living may at first
be quite a novelty, I have received
Paul Engstrom won first prize in
the 1978 Detroit Press Club high
school journalism contest, and will
join the ranks of University stu-
dents in September.
Subscribe to The Daily-
Call 764-0558'

reports that the novelty wears off
quickly. After revealing the computer's
dormitory choice for me - Bursley
Hall - to knowledgeable University
students, the typical response is
laughter, followed by, "You've been
screwed." Understandably, one would
feel slightly apprehensive about one's
living quarters after hearing such a
-response over and over. But after the
initial reaction, the University expert
explains his response with a description
of the campus-to-campus transpor-
tation ordeal - the drudgery of living
from one University bus to another,
while traveling between the North
Campus abode and central campus
If I hadn't already seen Bursley Hall
among the trees and the Schools of
Music and Architecture, I would have
had a mental picture of it amidst
barren wasteland somewhere above
Mackinac Island. In the end though, I
guess I should just be thankful I'm not

in the infamous South Quad. Rumors.
All rumors.
only one of the recurring complaints
which surface while speaking of this in-
stitution of higher learning in Ann Ar-
bor. Other gripes include: the at-
mosphere is cold, everyone's a num-
ber; students hardly see
professors ... 600 at a lecture. . . the
personal warmth is gone.. . loneliness
sets in; bureaucracy abounds - find
out where Form A is, fill out Form A,
turn in Form A - frustration.
But, from time to time, one also hears
of what a great learning experience it
truly is. The University's facilities are
fantastic and the recreation superior.
In fact, not enough people utilize the
facilities to their fullest extent, or so
I've been told.
Another unfortunate rumor involves
the University's female population.
Gloria Steinem followers, or even

women with the slightest positive self-
image will be quite offended, and
rightly so, when I reveal that male
University experts have informed, if
not warned, me of the University
female's lack of physical beauty.
AN ENTERING student can only
wonder whether the rumor is true-if
the female intellectual stereotype (the
librarian with glasses and hair tied in a
bun), does, in fact, make up the bulk of
the female population. But it is highly
possible, and probable, that these
seemingly male connoisseurs were
rejected at some point on the Univer-
sity female spectrum and have resorted
to slander for revenge.
Whether these rumors of University
life are true can only be speculated
upon at this point. If they are true, I am
sure the campus will
be. . . stimulating, to say the least.
Whatever the actual conditions, I'm
sure we will all survive.

Grads are old hands

at learning


Daily Photo by JOHN KNOX
Incoming students get a taste of University life during orientation.

H ave' You
Heard the
and You'll Always Be
in the Know!
For Delivery to Your Doorstep
PHONE: 764-0558

As far back as I can remember, my
dad used to take me to Michigan foot-
ball games. Dad was an "M" alumnus,
and he instilled in me a high sense of
pride and respect for his alma mater.
And rightly so. The Wolverines had the
best-looking helmets in the nation.
Their colors were the brightest, their
stadium, the biggest. I remember at
half-time "Whiskey" would push a ball
the length of the football field, and at
the end of the game the all-male
Michigan marching band would strike
up "Temptation" - win or lose.
Now any school with an excellent
athletic program like that of Michigan
must have an excellent academic
program. It follows logically.
AS A HIGH school senior, I applied to
only one university. I expected from it
glory and prestige unmatched by any
college in the land. So it was in the fall
of 1974 when I. commenced my
collegiate career, accompanied by an
inflated image of what to expect.
I had a particularly interesting con-
cept of the "academic type" I would
find at Michigan. There were, I
thought, two types of women at the
University: smart ones and pretty
ones. God gave gifts of intellect to half
the females and gifts of pulchritude to
the other half. Unfortunately, Univer-
sity women probably fell into the for-
mer category, Michigan State received
the latter group, and God's screwups -
those who receive both gifts - attended
U.S.C. But I am happy to say that my
expectations were mythical, and there
are many intelligent, beautiful women
attending the University.
I also expected the University to
be inundated with the type of male who
feels the normal wristwatch is not
enough. These gentlemen sport a watch
that gives not only the time, but a
barometer reading, temperature, com-
pass reading, the sea level and "pi"
worked out to 12 places. This, it turned
out, is a vastly-generalized and inac-
curate description of the male
population in Ann Arbor; it describes
only engineers.
I ALSO expected to receive the finest
education available. Michigan's
Medical School is excellent, as is its
Law and Business Schools. Thus, its
undergrad program was bound to be
equally impressive. But when I began
my educational career at Michigan, I
saw certain flaws in this "superior
educational institution"-lectures
with a faculty-student ratio of one
to 380; courses, in which at the end
of the semester you realize, by no fault
of your own, that you haven't learned
anything; a tenure system that forces

students to sit through rambling, in-
coherent lectures by senile professors.
Yet below this layer of flaws and
ineptness, there is a core of outstanding
and brilliant faculty and students.
- The University's academic environ-
ment is nurtured by the diversity and
the brilliance of its student body.
However, all too often the only diversity
among students is the northern-Detroit
suburb from which they come.
ONFE OF THE most frightening
preconceptions I had of the. University
was its impersonality, and my tran-
sition from a multi-faceted individual to
a ten-digit number was almost
inevitable. With over 40,000 students
and faculty, I soon realized my in-
significance in all the University's
complexity. Therefore, I concentrated
on making my dormitory (I was an
R.A.) my own little "University."
Others do the same with their co-ops,
fraternities, sororities and apartments.
You must have a home-base, or the
University will seem endlessly like a
foreign land. But it wasn't long before
the forbiddance of the University's size
first wanes, then disappears.
An omnipresent thought haunted me
in high school: would my professors
ever know me by name? I never
thought they would. Some never did.
Some did, but for the wrong reasons.
Although professors are usually busier
than high school instructors, they do
occupy offices and answer phones.

And lines. I never expected to queue
up as often as I had to. You stand in line
for football tickets and CRISP appoin-
tments. And at the dorm cafeteria. I
even remember after an early morning
false alarm at my-dorm, there was an
incredible line-up to go to the bathroom.
And if you think when you're ready to
graduate the lines disappear, forget it.
The last week of my senior year I lined
up to get my cap and gown, then moved
to the next line to get guest passes for
commencement. On Graduation Day,I
stood in a line that took 40 minutes to
proceed through Crisler Arena. I even
stood in line to kiss my grandmother af-
ter the ceremony.
I always heard that my college years
would be the best years of my life. And
amidst back-to-back all-nighters
almost impossible workloads and
looking in January for September apar-
tments, these years have been the best:.
I've made life-long friends and have
had experiences that have been
enriching and memorable. And I've
learned some things.
But the greatestssurprise of my"
college experience has been that after.;
all, those football ganres, from
childhood to my senior year, at th _
University, I still don'ti k the words-:
to the Michigan alma mater. Hail.
Nick Katsarelas is a 1978 Univery'
sity graduate and will attend laws
school in thefall.

Daily Photo by JOHN KNOX
Wise and worldly University graduates line up one more time.
I 1
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