Aug 252009
Authors: Johnathan Kastner

Greetings, new students! I know a big new school can be scary, but don’t worry. There’s a lot of potential and pitfalls out there, and I’m here to guide you into one and out of the other.

Now some people might assume that, as tight as the job market is, I would be tempted to preemptively sabotage my future competition with terrible advice that verges on criminal. To those people, I say, shh. You’ll spoil it. Some people just skim these things and we can still get them.

My first bit of advice is to attend as few classes as possible. Sure, you’re paying a lot to attend CSU — thousands and thousands of dollars — but you’re hungry and tired, and it sure is bright outside. Ditching is a time-honored tradition with no academic consequences.

Here’s a helpful metaphor to encourage you to ditch classes. Picture tuition like a movie ticket — you’ve already paid for it and are just about to go sit down. Suddenly, you see a butterfly, and your cartoon-and-junk-food-addled childhood kicks in. Chasing that insect may mean you wasted money on the ticket, but it’s your life, and gosh-darn … ooh, bubblewrap.

Secondly, I recommend you get a real major. None of this “engineering” or “veterinary medicine” nonsense. Pets and computers are both fads that are on their way out. What you want is something that never changes — like English, art or philosophy. Your ideal degree here will be as relevant in 30 years as it is today.

Once you’ve selected a major, you’ll need something to do when you’re not attending class. CSU has many interesting academic and social societies that are perfect for getting to know people and for networking later in life. Don’t bother. Technology does all this, only faster and with cartoon whales.

If you insist on connecting with real people, next Wednesday CSU is having its Student Involvement Expo. It will be out on the plaza, in the same area as the people who want your money and have free candy. Ideally, you should spend three minutes there, long enough to absorb fuel for a good scathing. Tweet so as to impress all the people that really matter.

There’s just one last aspect of college life we need to make sure we “destroy” (the air quotes means it’s friendly!) before I let you get back to having the class syllabus read at you. So, do you have a wallet? Does it have money in it? If the answer is yes, or no, there’s a great solution for you — credit cards.

Now that you’re away from home and managing your finances for the first time, you’re going to be tempted to spend on things you don’t need. Conserving your cash is a rock-solid plan, but as anyone will tell you, a credit card is not money. It’s invisible, guilt-free money! Plus your parents will bail you out if you overspend, because they are immune to financial catastrophe.

With this advice, and a tiny bit of know-how, you should soon be on your way to singular achievement and the end of the employment crisis. Also, gum on the sidewalk is free candy, gin is an energy drink and polio is a sport with horses.

Johnathan Kastner is a senior undeclared major with a physical and mathematical sciences interest. His column appears Wednesdays in the Collegian. Letters and feedback can be sent to

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