Do not get sucked in to the fifth year fraud

I’ve yet to meet a student who has successfully graduated in four years. What is the cause of this fifth year foible? Why is UM so plagued with a surplus of super-sophomores, borderline-juniors and perpetual-seniors? Does fault lie with the lackadaisical students who have fallen slave to the ever-strengthening pull of Thirsty Thursdays, so familiar to us all?

Or, is it possible that there are more sinister motives prowling just beneath the surface of our meticulously maintained landscape, crowned with infinite new structural developments and palm trees where parking spaces should be? How does UM fund those lovely campus condominiums? Well, we can thank our perpetual-seniors for that.

After all, with food stands, couches and internet cafes galore, why would we ever want to leave this luxurious tropical oasis, separating ourselves from this heavenly haven of higher learning. The reason no one graduates isn’t primarily due to faults of their own, rather, it’s due to the fact that it is much more beneficial to the university, for students to stay and fork over another year’s tuition. We’re better off right here, with monthly bills, parking tickets, book fees, and cancelled classes until “payment received.”

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been misadvised by advisors, or had a class pulled out from under me. We all face the anxiety of second semester senior year – will both of the only two classes I need to graduate be held only once – simultaneously? It’s not an uncommon practice.

Fear not! There are ways to safeguard against the onslaught of administrative mishaps, advisor miscommunications and credit deficiencies. We must take the initiative to ensure that we are not sucked in to this fifth year fraud.

Keep track of requirements listed in the undergraduate bulletin from your year. If you’ve lost it, the admissions office in the first floor of the Ashe building has copies of back issues.

Double-check your advisor’s “advice”; ask dean if you’re uncertain about courses and requirements.

Get everything in writing. Regardless of who tells you what, if you don’t have written proof, it may be nothing to someone else.

It’s time we take control of our education at UM – and to the administration – those wonderfully difficult and unyielding piranhas, I will be graduating this May, so you might want to hold off on your plans for more campus additions.

Whitney W. Friedrich is a senior majoring in Advertising and English.