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August 13, 2007 - Image 25

Resource type:
Michigan Daily Summer Weekly, 2007-08-13

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The Michigan Daily - Orientation Edition 2007

Make the most of this time

ver the weekend, I did my
best to sell my friend's
little sister on the joys of
a Michigan if only the
After two real world
visits, she had a tour.
to come to
campus one more time for less
than 24 hours, as if wandering the
Diag one last time would clarify
the agonizing decision.
She asked all the typical fresh-
man-to-be questions: "How hard
are your classes?" "How many
activities are people involved in?"
and, of course, "How easy is it to
make friends?" I did my best to
answer, coloring each response a
bright shade of maize and blue.
After she left, my nostalgia
kicked in full-force. It seemed,
like just yesterday that I came to
campus a wide-eyed freshman-
to-be, thinking life was over just
because high school was. Now
with graduation looming two

weeks away, the same foreboding
sense of the unknown is starting
to sink in. I began to feel like I'd
done my friend's little sister a dis-
service. What good did it do her to
visit the basement of the Union, as
if seeing Magic Wok and Wendy's
would somehow illuminate her
life plan?
I should have told her about
aspects of college life that really
matter, like Stockwell having the
best food on the Hill, Espresso
Royale selling $2 lattes every
Wednesday .and Stats 350 knock-
ing out your entire quantitative
reasoning requirement and giving
you four natural science credits.
But aside from the little tidbits I've
discovered over the years, I've also
picked up some modest insights
on college life. Passing along these
little pieces of wisdom would
probably have been more valuable
touring Angell Hall.
So, for this my last column, I've
complied a brief list of things I
wish I knew before I came to the
University. It is a college tour of

sorts, only without the smiling,
back-peddling tour guide:
* Don't try to do everything.
Even as a person who thrives on
being busy, I was at my happi-
est when I had one extracurricu-
lar to focus on. Instead of being a
worker-bee in 10 organizations,
be the president of one. Of course,
take freshman year to survey your
options (I think I'm still on the
ski team mailing list from Festi-
fall), and after something strikes a
chord with you, make a choice and
shed the excess.
* Take great classes. This
might seem obvious (particularly
to those of us who are paying out-
of-state tuition), but signing up
for blow-off classes at the Univer-
sity is just a waste. Registration
is annoyingly stressful and often
it's easy to just sign up for a ran-
dom class because it fits into that
Tuesday/Thursday 1-2:30 p.m. slot
you've been trying to fill. It's not
worth it. There is nothing worse
than being stuck in a class you
hate for 15 weeks.

* Go abroad. As I embark on the
real world without a dependable
bank account or health insurance,
I am eternally grateful I traveled
when I had the chance. Signing up
for an abroad program is another
process that takes effort, but see-
ing the Eiffel Tower or hiking
Machu Picchu doesn't disappoint.
" Push yourself to hang out
with different types of people.
The University might have a
"blueprint for diversity," but
until we actually reach outside
our comfort zones,. diversity will
remain strictly academic. While
it might be easy to travel en mass
to the same bar every Friday night
because that's where your group
goes, nobody ever grew as a per-
son by flocking with birds of the
same feather.
" Get close to your professors.
If you find professors you really
click with, stick with them. Take
more classes with them or go to
their office and just talk about
life. College is all about gaining
insight, and professors are a great

place to start.
0 If you don't like your situation,
change it. So many times I've heard
friends say "If I could do it again,
I would have been a ___ major."
It's never too late to change your
mind, although administrative red
tape can make it seem that way. For
example, I spent two years in the
University's acting program before
switching to LSA. Those Theatre
and Drama credits are only ink on
my transcript now, but its better to
change your mind rather than stay
in a place that doesn't quite fit.
I don't know if this advice
would have quelled the fears of my
friend's little sister, but it's defi-
nitely more valuable than tour-
ing an academic building. After
four years, the only real truth I
can come up with is that college
is what you make of it. I hear the
same is true for the real world. I
just wish there was a tour.
Apr. 17, 2007
Whitney Dibo can be reached
at wdibo@umich.edu.

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