Opinion

Take it from a former freshman

Dear freshmen,

Judging by the 50+ posts a day going up on the Facebook Class of 2017 group, I’d like to think that you’re very excited to arrive on campus. You could also be very bored during the summer, but I’m going with the first one.

In that case, let me assure you that the campus is likewise very excited to see you. We do appreciate your color-coordinated school swag, and if you come to our club meetings once, we’d happily give you a T-shirt.

I just finished my freshman year, making me assumedly much more knowledgeable about being a freshman than I am about say, my field of study. Reminiscing about the doubts and uncertainties I once held, I felt obliged to pass on some nuggets I realized later than sooner, in the hopes that they’re actually helpful to you.

Putting on my dad hat, remember that you experience $40,000 worth of school. Repeating that, forty thousand dollars. You could buy an Audi for that price (many of your classmates probably have). Without forcing conclusions upon you, I’d point out some facts: you attend one of the finest universities in the nation; at the end of this school year you will have completed a sizeable fraction of undergraduate education; there will be a life to live after college, one which cares more about your skills and grades than liver or lungs; tuition is expensive, whereas parties are not, because the value of tuition is ultimately much greater than that of parties.

Try to know more about campus than the tour guides who showed you around during your high school, or any of your hundreds of new orientation best friends. If you aren’t an expert in knowing about, and taking advantage of, everything you’re paying for, then you are wasting your money. There’s an entire world outside of Chartwells and the gym, and knowing where the Academic Resource Center, Counseling Center or office hours are may save you. As an important corollary, know whom to ask for help when your expertise fails you.

Most importantly, don’t hold on to your initial expectations about anything. One of the great things about college is how it tears away at your preconceived notions to help you better understand yourself and your world. You should expect moments of uncertainty and doubt, when you question professors, your goals, your character, your friends, and your surroundings. If so, good. Only by trying to embrace and resolve these questions will you actually benefit and grow and know why you’re here.

Obviously you don’t have to take the advice of a newspaper hack. But my freshman year wasn’t that long ago, and if I knew then what I know now, I can only imagine how much more I would’ve gotten out of it. These words are my hope that you can, too.

Patrick Quinlan is a sophomore majoring in international studies and political science.

August 27, 2013

Reporters

Patrick Quinlan


Around the Web
  • Miami Herald
  • UM News
  • HurricaneSports

Miami Hurricanes fans might recall their favorite college football players in past years dreaming of ...

The new quarterback is usually the ones fans gush over. For the University of Miami, last season it ...

Debate all you want, but University of Miami football coach Mark Richt made it clearer than ever Wed ...

Last year, when University of Miami tailback Mark Walton attended the Atlantic Coast Conference Foot ...

The Miami Hurricanes will have plenty of talent on both sides of the ball this season, and four play ...

Following the summit between Trump and Putin, reaction from politicians, pundits and former intellig ...

A School of Communication associate professor played an important hand—an artistic one!—in World Cup ...

University of Miami law and political science professors weigh in on Trump’s SCOTUS nominee. ...

Research bioclimatologists with the UM Synoptic Climatology Lab counsel cities on how to manage risi ...

A UM-led study is examining how children’s play behavior at beaches could impact their health. ...

University of Miami junior running back Travis Homer was named a preseason candidate for the Doak Wa ...

Six former Canes competed on NBA Summer League teams, with three averaging at least 10 points per ga ...

Quick Hits gives University of Miami volleyball fans an opportunity to get to know the new student-a ...

The University of Miami's volleyball team earned the American Volleyball Coaches Association (A ...

University of Miami head golf coach Patti Rizzo announced the 2018-19 schedule, featuring nine tourn ...

TMH Twitter
About TMH

The Miami Hurricane is the student newspaper of the University of Miami in Coral Gables, Fla. The newspaper is edited and produced by undergraduate students at UM and is published weekly in print on Tuesdays during the regular academic year.