6B - The Michigan Daily - New Student Edition - September 8, 1998
Ffrst day 10s always a
roller coaster of emotion
Legalized marijuana would solve issues.
must admit. T he day I moved
ito my college dorm room,d
Iwas a wreck.
I was sick. The humidity added a
thick, sticky fog to the air. Earlier
that morning, my boyfriend and I
had said our goodbyes to each other
before he left for school hundreds
of mriles away, and before I left for
To say the least, my first day as a
Michigan student was rough.
Over the summer, I had never
heard from my future roommate.
Although I had written to her once,
she never responded. What did she
think of' me? Was she trying to
change her room assignment at that
As optimistic as I was, I became
increasingly skeptical about what
college life at Michigan would have
in store for me.
But, of course, I was too stub-
to let it show.
So we arrived
in front of my
where a proces-
KATIE sion of my
PLONA brothers, cousins
Short and and aunts helped
Sweet me carry my
junk up to the
sixth floor the Penthouse it was
Still, no sign of my roommate,
althouLh one side of the room
already contained her belongings.
Finally she came, this unfamiliar
person with whom I was going to
share a 10- by 12-foot room for the
entire school year.
Eventually, my parents asked me
if 1 wanted them to stay for the
AS much as I had dreamed of the
day I would e on my own, tears
welled up in my eyes and choked
my words. But, "Go," I said. "You
know you don't have to worry about
So they left, and I was alone with
my new life.
I still remember waking up the
next morning in my new twin bed,
glancing out the window at a scene
I would eventually be able to
dekcribe in detail, and feeling so
strange that this small space was all
I had to occupy- and not even to
My roommate had arrived several
days earlier for fall orientation, so
she already had her friends.
I settled in with the thought that
we wouldn't become best friends.
Recalling some of the horror sto-
ries I had heard from other friends
and relatives about college room-
mates, 1 simply hoped.we could tol-
crate living together.
After having so many "What's-
your-name and where-you-from'?"
rqnversations, a huge pack of us
twe never traveled in groups of less
than 10 back then) went to the
k ihigan Union where we mingled
with half of the freshman class over
free sandwiches and drinks.
Well, one would think the night
progressed nicely, but fortunately it
I say fortunately because I'm
grateful for the first night I had. As
the evening progressed, I felt
Aicreasingly worse so unsettled
that I ended up walking back to
C'ouzens alone that night and sob-
bing on the phone to my mom and
my boyfriend. I'm fairly certain that
at that point my roommate thought
she had been handed a complete
loser, considering I had turned
down going to a party to walk back
to our room at 10:30 p.m.
But guess what? Having such an
emotionally intense experience was
probably one of the best things that
could have happened. It put all of
my experiences into perspective.
It made me appreciate what even-
tually went right.
The next morning I woke up, and
you know what, it was a completely
new day - a day that potentially
could have an entirely different end-
As it turns out, my roommate
from freshman year is one of my
closest friends. In fact, she's still
my roommate. Before classes even
started, home became the furthest
thought from my mind.
Just that one night was awful, but
the rest was anything but awful.
This is not to say there weren't any
down points during the year.
The boyfriend I thought I was
going to marry? Well, we broke up
before Christmas. And although I
absolutely hate to acknowledge this,
I earned my first C in a class. But I
wouldn't change a moment, not a
The big picture was far too grand.
I even lost my focus. I became
more confused about what to do
with myself than ever before in my
I was still the same old ambitious,
determined individual, but I didn't
know how to direct my newly devel-
oped passions and energies.
I met people that made me laugh
hysterically' People who placed the
utmost importance on embracing
everyminute of lif- from going
out and dancing until 3 a.m., to
pulling an all-nighter to earn that A,
to striking up the most stimulating
conversations built on tangent upon
I met people who made me re-
evaluate the way I thought about
life's most perplexing questions ad
egregious problems. People whose
backgrounds were nothing like
mine, yet we seemed to have count-
We felt that sense of undefinable,
shared uniqueness found only in the
friendships, loves, hardships, knowl-
edge and music of freshman year.
Sometimes - when I was truly
blessed - I met friends who did all
of those things.
'true, in print, my freshman year
may sound similar to the experi-
ences of nearly thousands of other
Michigan students as they reflect on
their first year in Ann Arbor.
The same adjustment, learning
But that is the beauty of the expe-
riences that lie directly in front of
you, for they cannot be rivaled.
Those experiences occur at a pivotal
point in your life.
Whether good or bad, they serve
as catalysts for greater fervor and
growth, for more laughs and tears,
for deeper love and loss. The expe-
riences will be there to challenge
Rise to meet them.
Katie Plona is a Daily news
reporter: She can be reached via
e-mai/ at Aplona@umniich.edu.
By WaJahat Syod
Daily [citorial Page Stsff
Ann Arbor's marijuana-possession
law is under fire. Sen. Mike Rogers (R-
Brighton) wants the city to repeal its
lenient marijuana-possession penalty or
else face state budget sanctions. Ann
Arbor's marijuana-possession law is the
only municipality statute in the state of'
Michigan that is lower than the state
standard in its penalty confines: This
amendment, while marring the city's
ability to make its own laws, is
unequivocally interdicting the posses-
sion of a substance that should be legal-
Making marijuana illegal is a hypo-
critical denunciation when alcohol and
nicotine are termed as legal. Marijuana
has not been confirmed to be physical-
ly addictive, unlike nicotine, alcohol
and even caffeine, nor has it been
proven to have any long-term harmful
The National Institute for Drug
Abuse released a circular in 1996
which states that "There is little evi-
dence that the drug (marijuana) is phys-
ically addicting ... There is nothing in
marijuana itself' that causes people to
use other drugs ... No definitive neuro-
logical study of humans has turned up
evidence of marijuana-related perma-
nent brain damage ... There is no direct
evidence that marijuana causes cancer
This government publication dis-
proves the multitude of misdirected
claims which term marijuana as a
"gateway drug," recruiting users to
harder drugs. hliere has never been a
reported case of a fatal marijuana over-
dose. In fact, the results of marijuana
use are often conmarable to those of
alcohol, though less harmful than inor-
dinate, long-term alcohol consumption.
Marijuana has even been ascertained
to provide medicinal benefits. It has
been used as a tranquilizer for cancer
and AIDS patients and to assuage
intraocular tei, nsIn i lucom"a paitients,
as well as for diagnosis of multiple scle-
rosis, epilepsy, paraiplegia, asthma and
quadriplegia. In a nationwide survey of/
cancer therapists in 1995, about 50 per-
cent reported they would prescribe mar- g
ijuana if it were legal, while 44 percent
admitted they had recommended mari-
juana to patients. Francis Young, the
administrative judge for the Drug
Enforcement Agency, said, "Marijuana,
in its natural f'orm, is one of the safest '4 '<'
therapeutically active substances known
to man." Sadly, state laws ignore this
advantageous element of the substance,
and the drug is even banned from use in
The marijuana legalization issue
comes with a few legislative and judi-
cial strings attached. The arrest count
for marijuana-related oflfnses in 1996
was an exorbitant 642,000. A majority
of these arrests are for mere possession.
Shockingly, marijuana-related offend-
ers, even first-time possession cases,
are subject to much harsher penalties
than those involved in violent crimes.
This is a gross contravention of the
rights of otherwise law-abiding citizens
who use marijuana, a misuse of taxpay-
er dollars and a misappropriation of the
law at the hands of its practitioners,
while criminals of violent conduct are
dealt with more leniently.
Legalization of marijuana would v
also invalidate the rules-are-made-to-
be-broken clause that is paired 'with
the marijuana trade. 'The illicit status
of the drug has caused its circulation
to be untrammeled and thus unregu-
lated, making it accessible for use by
It is easier for minors to get a gram
of weed than a pint of beer, for the
Similarly, a legalized status would
help eradicate the smuggling and vio-
lence-related drug trade that contin-
ues to claim many lives. Appropriate STEVEGERTZ/ aily
and safer use becomes inevitable with With gatherings like Hash Bash, the existence of marijuana on the Michigan cam-
the regulation of the drug. pus is hardly a secret. But attempts to legalize it are thus far only blowing smoke.
Daily continues to report campus news
By Laurie Mayk
Daily Editor In-Chief
For more than a century, the victories,
tragedies, surprises and most talked-about people
and events have found their way into '[he
Michigan Daily. Some of these personalities and
events have commanded bold headlines and large
photos, others saw only a few inches of fame.
Throughout the years, the Daily has existed
with the primary function of reflecting what is
happening to and around the people on the
University campus. It' what is on our pages is
what students and administrators are talking
about in the residence halls, in the bars and even
behind closed doors, then we have done our job.
We do our best to give our readers the informa-
tion necessary for them to form their own opin-
ions on events and issues on campus.
But even with our systems of fat-checking and
editing, occasionally., we get or give the wrong
information. If we make a mistake, let us know.
Call me, call the section editor, write a letter to
the editor. Keep in mind, though, that we do not
make these errors with any prior agenda or to
slight any campus group. We are students, just
like you, working hard to bring the news to your
doorstep every day.
The Daily's editorial staff consists of about 100
reporters, editors, photographers and artists.'They
are responsible for everything above the adlines
in the paper.
If you look in our staff box, you will see stu-
dents listed as staffers in: news, sports, arts, edi-
torial page, online, photo and graphics.
Most staffers work for one part of the paper,
although the only limitation is that staffers may
not write for the editorial page and the news sec-
The business side of the paper is lead by the
business manager and staffed by about 50 stu-
dents selling classified ads, display ads and deal-
ing with the financial and circulation aspects of
the paper. Just like staffers on the editorial side,
business staffers are getting incredible, hands-on
experience in their field.
While I like to think of The Michigan Daily as
an immortal part of the campus that changes with
the students that read it every year, it is also a
business, and a very complicated one.
Some of our staff members enter the Student
Publications Building with extensive knowledge
of journalism and the news business. Some walk
in after reading an occasional newspaper column
over the years.
But by the time they leave the building for the
last time, most have gained priceless experience
and insight in journalism, and the knowledge that
they have made important contributions to the
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V 0 9:30AM 11AM & 7:30PM
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The Michigan Daily business staffers Sonya Kleerekoper and Ryan Hopker spend their days recruiting advertis-
ers to fund the production and distribution of the paper.
Perhaps just as important as the job they do, is
the fact that staff member have found a niche on
this sprawling campus that they can call their
With a student body as large and diverse as ours
is, it is important to find a smaller unit on campus
where you feel comfortable and appreciated. For
Daily staffers, the Student Publications Building
provides just that.
Officially, the Daily is published Monday-
Friday, every day classes (but not exams) are in
session. But don't be alarmed if you see a copy of
the Daily lying around on a Saturday or around
the time of a major campus event.
A few years ago, we started putting out special
tabloid-sized editions of the paper for football
Saturdays and some special events and the tradi-
tion stuck. We have distributed special secto
marking such events as Michigan's trip to, the
Pasadena, last year's hockey tournament at Yost
Ice Arena and the tragic and shocking murder-of a
student on campus.
Some of these special sections are planned far
in advance, and others, such as the one annouixc-
ing the Tamara Williams tragedy, are put together
in a matter of hours.
These special sections have become an essen-
tial ingredient in our attempts to highlight issues
and events that are important to students on cam-
This September, The Michigan Daily celebrates
its 108th birthday. We look forward not ogly to
reporting, but to being a part, of the events- and
milestones of the next year.
All Bookstores are NOT created equal!!
In a recent U study, it was
found that not all of Ann
Arbor's textbook stores are
the same. Researchers found
Michian Rnk and Surniv
stocks all the school supplies staff at Michigan Book
you would need at Supply, to be above
unbelievable prices. standard of the book
Overwhelmed by the industry. And store h
additional services and The extended bookrush1
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