Aug 262009
Authors: Alex Stevens

Chances are, much of the student body won’t be interested in the Collegian this early on, or ever. But for those who manage to find a copy of our fantastic student newspaper in their hands this very instant, I’d like to start the semester off lightly. So my frequently offensive, politically fallacious rants will have to wait for a later column.

Now, as a super-senior (which I highly recommend becoming), and with this being my last semester, I feel it proper to pause and reflect on my previous four years of CSU student life in order to offer you, most precious reader, some humble scraps of advice that just might make your student life this semester easier-especially if you’re a freshman.

I don’t mean to come off conceited or condescending, but this really is the kind of stuff I wish someone had told me early on in my college career. I recall the tips from orientation being disappointingly worthless.

First of all, freshmen, though it’s illegal, some of you are going to be drinking in the dorms. I know it, you know it, your parents are in denial about it, but most importantly your Resident Assistants (the Gestapo) know it too.

Do you really want to be the first jackass in your hall to get busted? Don’t be foolish. Keep the party quiet.

For instance, avoid unhinging your bathroom door to make a beer pong table (cough) . actually, just shy away from beer completely, the aluminum evidence clutters up quickly. Being loud, obnoxious and drunkenly retarded are guaranteed methods of assuring that an RA, or even CSUPD, comes knocking on your door.

Honestly, your RA despises writing you up and desperately hopes that you don’t give them a reason to. If you’re smart, it’s win-win for everyone.

Skipping class is sexy, seductive and trendy. Unfortunately, these very sirens will also be the fastest way to screw yourself (academically, you pervert). Believe me, a lousy GPA your freshman and sophomore years has a way of haunting you.

Most of the kids I’ve known who’ve dropped out had shameful records of course attendance. Cutting class becomes addictive – the more you do it the more of a destructive habit it becomes.

Professors notice absence. Good ones can even smell your soon-to-be failure (never to be confused with Captain Morgan breath — that’s the smell of success) and will thus grade your papers like hard asses. A surprising number of entry survey courses can be passed by doing little or none of the “required” reading, but very few can be passed without your physical presence.

It might be too late by now, but resist buying your textbooks from the student center. I’ve personally had like-new textbooks shipped from the UK that cost less than heavily used ones from Lory. Even Big Dog is overpriced compared to Amazon.

Likewise, come the end of the semester you can nab much more on the return by selling them back online if you have the patience.

As much as you might not believe me now, the library will become your best friend. Once upon a time I thought I could study in my dorm, then at my house and later in my apartment. Turns out, not so much. Some people will claim to do it successfully, but they’re likely leaving out the bit about living alone.

Many hours were whittled away in fits of unproductive frustration until my chance meeting, and subsequent affair, with that shining beacon of scholarly salvation – the Morgan Library.

Be astounded! It contains dozens of nooks to hide away in, private group project rooms, laptops to be checked out, even decent coffee to be had. Every senior I know wishes they had discovered it sooner. Allow their pitiful regret to become your cherished fortune.

Obviously I’m now out of room – and advice (how coincidental!) – so have a marvelous weekend, CSU.

Alex Stephens is a senior political science major. His column appears Thursdays in the Collegian. Letters and feedback can be sent to

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