To: The Class of 2020
Love(?): The Seniors
It’s finally bearable weather-wise at the U of R. People have been seen outdoors, there is at least one or two students smiling while walking in the Tunnels, and a couple of people have brought out the shorts. With the nice weather here we all know that the end of the year is fast approaching, turning out the Class of 2016 and welcoming the Class of 2020, which if I may say sounds like a year that doesn’t exist. In fact, this group of students is very real and will be coming to campus in the fall ready to take on the school that some of us are forced to say goodbye to mid-May.
Just the other day I was sitting in Wilson Commons pretending to do work outside Starbucks when I saw a nice family of four looking for a place to sit. Because I was taking up three and a half chairs with my backpack; various food items; a jacket that I needed in the morning when it was 30 degrees but then realized due to the erratic weather I no longer did; and a newspaper I was using to make me look ~educated~ I thought, what the hell, maybe I’ll be nice and let this kid and his family take a seat. Disheveled, sweating, and probably unsure of where to go to next to not do homework, I walked away from Starbucks, catching a glimpse of hope in the eye of the child that would be coming to Rochester next year, and I thought: “wow, okay. Sh*t, if I were in his place there would be so much I would’ve loved to know as a freshman that would’ve helped to exude a little less fear and a little more fake confidence and assurance of what the hell I was doing back in 2012.”
And from that, this letter was born. To caution you as a reader: you really should take what I’m saying with a grain of salt, because until late into my junior year, I really didn’t have anything figured out. And to be honest, I still really don’t now. But it’s not about knowing what the f**k you’re doing, it’s about knowing how to fake it at Rochester so that you can size up to the people who actually know what they’re doing so you don’t look bad. Below there are four tips that I have come up with to help you get by.
First tip: get your drunkest night out of the way early on in your college career because the only direction you’ll be able to go is up. Seriously, I encourage you to drink that questionable shot of Everclear or smoke for the first time after going to that random frat party off campus. Live it up early on—have a friend coach you through throwing up in a Sue B. bathroom, and then make that same friend get you Gatorade and a bagel and consume said food items over the course of six hours on a Saturday until you can stand without assistance. I’m telling you, if you do it early enough, you’ll learn from this mistake and know your limits. You really don’t want to be that first semester junior who can’t hold it together. It just looks sad, and no one likes a 21-year-old train wreck who can’t handle his or her alcohol.
Second tip: pick a major that you like but also one that you understand. We get it, you go to Rochester and yes, you’re so smart, but Engineering (or something that’s difficult, whatever, what do I know?) isn’t for everyone. If you’re one of those kids that can do well in a pretty challenging major, all the power to you, and I ask you to stop reading this article because the first tip probably won’t apply. Doing well at Rochester is entirely underrated. Everyone loves to complain and post Snapchats of their all-nighter or the Ritalin they just bought, but you’re just going to be miserable if you have to stay up all night and forgo having fun on the weekend to do a mediocre job in some obscure major. Trust me, you can still achieve your goals and make your parents oh-so-happy by doing something that comes a tad easier to you.
Third tip: explore Rochester. It’s a pretty f**king cool place, and yes, it’s not New York City but it definitely has some features that make it unique, and not just because of it’s unbelievably high crime rate. Rochester is very student friendly, and will satiate all of your food, drink, nature, and other needs. Get out and see all that this frozen hell has to offer when it’s not freezing cold. You may even surprise yourself and find something that could hold a candle to all of your high school friends who post about the various places they go to school (which in all likelihood are in a livelier place than Rochester, New York).
Fourth tip: stop complaining about the school. Dude, you had a choice to go anywhere and you chose here. If you’re not transferring, buck up and find the good in this place. There’s a decent amount if you look past the bad. And by bad, I mean the cold, the subpar food on campus, and the personal vendetta Parking has on each and every student who owns a vehicle. The U of R is a place where the high school nerd can be a f**king superstar, and where no one cares if you have an internship this summer because everyone here is amazing. Yes, you all are fantastic! (I’m unsure if that was sarcastic, but take it as you will). Enjoy this place because when you are forcibly asked to leave post-graduation, you’ll be able to reflect on some great times you had in this bizarre microcosm of life we have created for ourselves. And if you don’t, I’m sorry (this was sincere this time).
So, yeah, you probably don’t give a sh*t what some senior has to say about his time here at Rochester. You’re probably going to *hair flip* and bask in your newfound freedom in college and create an entirely different experience than mine at this school. I just want you all to know that it’s important to say “yes” to as much as you can—join that club, drink on a Wednesday, study abroad in Botswana, spend those extra few minutes sitting on the Quad, and even try to make the best of your options at the Pit. Because before you know it, you’re graduating and who knows where the hell you’ll be. And yes, we’ll probably never meet, but remember that there are many who’ve come before you who’ve grown to love this place (and there will be many in the future), so take care of Rochester for the time you get to call yourself an undergrad here because it’s a pretty damn good time.