4B - The Michigan Daily - Wednesday, September 3, 1997
"Excuse me?" Search for hidden
meanings behind what you're told
hen it comes to college,
AIeveryone seems to have
T advice. In case you haven't
noticed, this period of your life is
called a "crucial turning point," and
gives family members, authority fig-
ures and distant relatives an excuse to
tell you all of their old college stories,
followed by concise tidbits of advice.
You may be thinking, "Gee, I
haven't gotten this much attention
since I fell off the stage during the
Very Young Democrats Award
Ceremony in fifth grade."
But as the urgent one-line reminders
pile up, you will most likely begin to
feel like those around you think you
are going off to live in seclusion in a
Buddhist temple for four years.
In order to help
you survive the<
first few precari-
ous weeks, it's
helpful to know
what people actu-
ally mean when
they say certain
things to you. This ALICE
includes not only ROBINSON
family members, ALICE'S
but a myriad of WONDERLAND
ters who are sure
to enter your life soon, whether you
like it or not.
For example, when your mother
says, "You're going to have so much
fun," she really means, "Please don't
got any body parts pierced like that
girl we just passed on State Street."
When your father says, "Call me if
you need any money," he really means,
"Call me if you need any money for
the first week"
When your younger sister says, "I'll
write to you!" she really means, "Yes!
Now I get your room!"
When your brother says during your
first phone call home, "Uh, do you
guys like study there and stuff?" he
really means, "Uh, do you guys like
study there and stuff?"
Of course, you may also be puzzled
by the things many people say to you
while you're at the University. Allow
me to be of assistance.
When your graduate student instruc-
tor says, "I expect you to analyze all
facets of the issue and flush out your
reasoning with various examples to
strengthen your paper,"he really means,
"I don't expect you to skip any fraternity
parties Friday night to work on this, but
if you use lots of big words and bullshit
well you might still get a B."
When your bubbly new resident advi-
sor says, "Feel free to come to me if you
need anything at all,"she really means,
"You'll probably see me two days out of
the next eight months, but that's why I
have this cute dry-erase board with
cows on it on my door, right?"
When your academic advisor looks at
your high school transcript and says,
"Well, you did good in French, have you
considered studying abroad?" he really
means, "The French department told me
they would have to shut down if they
didn't get more students -whaddya
say I sign you up as a concentrator?"
When your first-year seminar on
plant life professor says, "This course
was designed to have sort of a less bur-
dening work load, which is essential so
that we can explore the topic deeply and
thoroughly and immerse ourselves in
the central theme," she really is saying,
"This class is a piece of cake!"
When the Rho Chi in charge of your
rush group gushes, "I like, love your
sweater"she really means, "I would
never be caught dead wearing that
hideous piece of argyle, but I, like, total-
ly have to say something to go with the
permanent smile plastered on my face!"
When the ATM machine asks,
"Would you like to make another
transaction?" it really means, "I know
you're in a big rush and you have class
in two minutes, but I really enjoy ask-
ing you incredibly useless questions
just to aggravate you."
When the nurse at University Health
Services says, "If you have any prob-
lems with the medication, let me
know" he really means, "I hope you
don't react to this stuff like the last guy
who vomited all night."
When the surly staffer at your resi-
dence hall's front desk says,"Sorry, the
vacuum is on loan right now,"she actu-
ally means, "I'm only making $5.25 at
this measly job, and in the last 2 min-
utes - while I have been wasting my
time with you - I could have read three
more paragraphs of Danielle Steele."
When the CRISP lady says over the
phone, "Please enter the credit hours,"
don't be fooled. What the familiar
electronic voice really means is, "You
have half a millisecond to press the
damn number, kid, or I will lead you
into voice-mail hell!"
When the computer screen says, "An
unexpected error has occurred," it really
means, "I like this little icon of a bomb
about to explode, so I made up a reason
to put it on your screen, and by the way,
I haven't saved any of your work!"
In case any of these scenarios have
left you a little bit disillusioned about
coming to college, one last piece of
advice: relax and have fun!
-Alice Robinson is a Daily staff
reporter She can be reached over
e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
From disgusting to
good times reside i
alking away from orientation
two summers ago, I remem-
ber feeling a sense of enlight-
enment that makes me laugh today.
Little did I know that what was made to
seem like the meat and potatoes of col-
lege life in the preachings of spunky ori-
entation leaders was not what I would
need to make it through the next four
years. The choice between Pattern I and
Pattern II credit distributions once was a
daunting task, but the decision was
magically made for me after four
semesters. Safewalk was a phone call
away when traveling alone at night; now
shelling out a few bucks for a Blue Cab
is the preferred alternative to schlepping
it through the snow.
The MCard was in
a category with the
Visa Gold card, but
now is only good
for a Coke from an
Angell Hall vend-
The University JANET
from pamphlets to ADAMY
the painfully JANET'S
attended orienta- PLANET
tion dance to accli-
mate students to
college life, but there's only one thing
that can give freshmen the real 'U'
experience: a few days in the dorms.
College isn't about what takes place in
the Chem Building, and it's much more
than what goes on inside Yost Arena. It's
about the day-to-day activities that occur
in Markley, South Quad, Stockwell and
all the other places that become tempo-
rary homes to incoming students.
What's so unique about your fresh-
man year in the dorms is that it is the
best opportunity that you'll ever get dur-
ing your four years at school to make
new friends. Before students have the
chance to limit their relationships to
hand-pick peer groups like The Star
Trek Club and Beta Eta Thi, freshmen
must first spend a few days in the
dorms. Eager to find someone to share
freshman ererience with (like gettino
n college dorns
many students keep a safe enough dis-
tance from the opposite sex not to know
some of the other gender's more inti-
mate behavior patterns. Although I saw
"Animal House" before coming to
school, I believed guys didn't really act
so gross in college - until I caught one
of the males living upstairs relieving
himself out his window.
Despite the turn-offs that can result
from the proximity of the sexes, coed
living can actually foster romantic rela-
tionships. Living in the same dorm as
someone you're dating, or, as is more
common in college, just fooling around
with, has pluses and minuses. Bonuses
include the power that proximity has to
bring people together quickly and the
increased feasibility of the late-night
booty call. A major drawback is
Sunday's inconvenient cafeteria hours
(most close around 1 p.m.) which force
students to roll out of bed, neglect
grooming and scramble just to make it
inside dining hall doors. Seeing your
bed-headed beau munching on an Eggs
McMichigan is an easy way to kill your
budding feelings of interest.
Regardless of how well the notorious-
ly homogenous dorm stereotypes fit
(East Coasters in Markley and Lloyd,
meat heads in South Quad and tortured
souls in East Quad) you're guaranteed to
meet people in your hall who are differ-
ent from you and the people who
attended your high school. Coming
from a Midwestern town that is predom-
inantly white, I received an entirely new
experience living in a hall where the
demographics were roughly one-third
white, one-third black and one-third
Asian, with the hometowns of my hall-
mates ranging from as far west as
California to as far east as Singapore.
Sharing bathrooms and eating meals
with this diverse group of people
showed me more about different cul-
tures than any anthropology class or
University-sponsored multicultural sem-
inar has ever taught me.
Being run by the University, the
dorms hold all kinds of introduce-you-
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