Under the Raydar — 4/28/11

By Middlebury Campus

Each time I have tried to start this column, I have begun with generalizations, enigmatic attempts at profundity, and lines that I am pretty sure have been said before, perhaps by Hallmark or maybe Thoreau.
After four years, we’ve learned a lot of facts, a thousand names, how to pump a keg properly, how to avoid lines in the gym, how to get over a cold, a funk, a person. And we have learned a lot together. So, instead of trying to piece together my own understandings, I’ve asked my friends and fellow seniors for their thoughts. Here it is — all of the things we wish we had known sooner:

• The most important education happens outside of the classroom.
• Cook meals with friends — they will always taste better and be more memorable than those nights of chicken parm in the dining hall.
• Stop putting things off until “next semester.” It never gets “easier.”
• College is a time as well as a place.
• It doesn’t really matter what you did in high school, or what you are doing after, really — what matters is that you feel like your time here was well spent.
• When looking up classes to register for DURING the registration period, you can just check that little box next to the class you want and then scroll down and click “register.” And then boom! You’re done!
• Study abroad isn’t filled entirely with fun, and it isn’t always easy — but that’s what makes it so much more valuable.
• Take the professor, not the course.
• Go to lectures and talks! They are worth an all-nighter or even the reading you will not finish for class.
• The drama department shows are amazing — really amazing. Go to as many shows as possible.
•  Use go/papercut. You can print things FROM YOUR LAPTOP.
•  Study more during the daytime — between classes, right before class, at six in the morning. When you look back, you don’t reminisce about all those nights burning the midnight oil in the library; you think about the times you got dominated by science majors at trivia night at The Grille or stayed up all night with your buddies.
• In Ross, almond milk is in the fridge in the back.
• You don’t have to spend hundreds of dollars on books every semester  —you can check them all out on ILL and renew them for the entire semester!
• Get outside your comfort zone. Challenge. Question. Fight for what matters to you.
• Armstrong library closes at 6 p.m. — but Public Safety will come to help you get your backpack out.
• Write for yourself. Find meaning in the routine.
• Move forward with confidence. Walk with confidence — literally.
•  It is so important to just stay positive — enthusiasm is infectious. Even if what you care about most is organic chemistry, your passion will engage the people around you.
• Don’t take yourself too seriously.

On a Monday night, as I let my five-hour-energy drink settle, staring into a poetry project and a research paper-in-the-works, I get a text from my friend asking me if I want to meet up at Two Brothers for beers and an appetizer. I almost respond that I am going to be at the library all night, but I catch myself. I decide to go join her.

Though I have learned immense and powerful things from books, I’ve learned the most from people, not pages. Listen to each other, lay down your book, learn more, love well, leap higher, use alliteration when possible and never give up on anything that is worth it to you.