For Mary Anne

(…and Emily, Connor, Lindsay, Courtney, Melina and Ellie)

It’s been many years (no snickering) since I was in college, but I wanted to share some thoughts before you head off to school. Given that this is the Digital Age, it seems more likely that you will read them if they are online, rather than on paper. So, here goes:

– Study. And, get good grades. But realize that your education is broader than what you are being taught in class.

– In this regard, your “world” has just grown beyond your home and high school and it’s important that you understand your place in it. So, even if you’re busy, attend those guest lectures about the presidential elections in Egypt, the economics of the European Union or the impact of limited access to clean water in Africa.

– Find out what your roommate paid for school books. Go spend the same amount on iTunes, that nice summer dress or tickets to Gotye. Switch receipts and give your roommate’s to your parents for reimbursement.

– Road trip to L.A.!

– Handed down from generation to generation like a Freemason handshake, master the ancient craft of building dorm room shelves using only cinder blocks, a can of spray paint and 1×10  pine boards.

– Discover that shampoo and toothpaste are not spontaneously created. You now actually need to go to the store and purchase them yourself.

– Learn to surf. It’s an activity that you can do throughout your life.

– Road trip to San Diego!

– Teach yourself how to play “My Body“. Whip out your tuba at a frat party and rip it up! (Query: Can one “whip out” a tuba?)

– Do your laundry with shavings from a bar of soap when you run out of laundry detergent and don’t have any quarters.

-Those things you shouldn’t be doing? (And you will know what they are.) Just be smart and safe about them.

-Sign up for a few classes that are far outside your major.  For example, that class on Sub-Mycenaean pottery – take it. Better yet, come home at break and freak out your father by excitedly telling him that you want to make it your career.

– Road trip to Vegas!

– Fall in love. Fall out of love. Realize that you will be okay.

– Get an on-campus job. Nothing sharpens the scholastic focus like emptying the cafeteria trash several times a day.

– Find that special place to study – an empty classroom; the top floor of the library near the stacks dedicated to ancient Greek literature; or on the roof of your dorm. Also, discover your preferred pre-exam night “cramming” foods. (I highly recommend a six-pack of Mountain Dew and a large bag of Cheetos.)

– Identify a professor you like and get to know him or her. It’s the first step in building your network.

– Text or call your family every few days, but  try to do it at times when you aren’t asking for money.  They may not be worried, but they will certainly miss you.

– Explore.

And, remember: “Semper  a Limax”.




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4 responses to “For Mary Anne

  1. Mike, Glad to see you are writing again. I think I will use this list for my soon to be first born son when he finds his place in the world. Thanks for sharing. Ray

  2. Johnny "Drama"

    And, above all, don’t forget your sunscreen.

  3. Kris Rapazzini

    Thank you Mike! I like all your advice and I plan to try everything (well…almost everything…)
    ~Melina Rapazzini

  4. Great list Mike. I love guest lectures too. I remember enjoying the scheduled department guest seminars and colloquia a lot. They were free, often with interesting sounding topics, and I soon discovered my own professors also attended these events. It opened up my mind a bit once I realized my teachers were not “all knowing” and have their questions too.

    Have fu, good luck, and all the best Mary Anne.

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