Aug 222010

As I sat down to brainstorm the subject of this week’s column I was torn between a few ideas. There was the chaos caused by Nebraska leaving the Big 12 for the Big Ten, followed by our own in-state-but-significantly-inferior-rival’s defection for the Pacific 10, which set off a chain of conference-hopping by Western Athletic Conference and Mountain West Conference schools.

Then we have this weekend’s events in Old Town. Welcome to Fort Collins: enjoy the riot. And of course the obvious, we all return to school –– or in the case of the class of 2014 –– arrive for the first time.

Well, after carefully considering all of the options I settled on a class-by-class guide on how to make the best of the 2010-2011 school year at our wonderful institution.

Starting with the graduating seniors. Good news, after a year of claiming the economic recovery has started, we still have no economic recovery.

I’m not sure why it would surprise anyone that elected officials are spewing bold-faced lies at roughly the same rate New Belgium produces Fat Tire, but you folks have a tough road ahead.

After toiling for between four and six years to achieve your degree, you’ll now enter the workforce with dismal-at-best job prospects, plenty of student debt and, thanks to the Fort Collins brew-community, a $200-a-week beer addiction. Welcome to real life. Grad-school application anyone?

To the juniors, well, I suggest you start trying to cut back on pleasure spending. Instead of trying to enjoy the finer things in life like cable, micro-brews and medicinal-grade pot, instead go for: the dollar theater, PBR in the can and whichever branch-laden variety you can find on the cheap.

The economic recovery that’s about to bite the seniors in the butt? Yeah, not going to be over by the time you graduate. In fact, it will probably be worse.

Sophomores, well, the bad news is you’re sophomores. You can’t legally drink yet, you aren’t quite to the point where you can look forward to graduation, your debt is increasing and you probably are just experiencing your first STD.

What’s the good news? Well, you have plenty of time to drag out your graduation as long as possible. Trust me on this, I’m in my third decade of life and I’m in no hurry to get back to the work force. Those people, they expect results. Ask yourself why all of your professors are here in academia instead of making a fortune in the private sector.

And to the Freshmen class. Oh you poor, poor souls. For the next several years your only responsibility is to perform in school and maybe work a part-time job. Only problem is most of the part-time jobs are taken by out-of-work adults trying to feed families so you’ll probably graduate with even more debt than today’s senior class.

My suggestions for this upcoming school year are pretty simple. Enjoy yourself. There’s no telling when it could all end.

When you start classes this week I want you to really consider asking any question of your professors that comes to mind. The reality is, the professors are here for the same reason the guy with the neck-beard is working the drive-through window at Good Times. They want to get paid.

So have a little fun. If a professor says something in class that you either didn’t understand or disagree with, say something. They are unlikely to punish you, particularly if it’s a class in Clark 101, where odds are the professor won’t even remember your name at the end of the term.

You are not in college to simply absorb whatever gibberish they churn out only to regurgitate it on a paper or test, you are here to learn and if you fail to take advantage of that opportunity, you have only yourself to blame.

Last but not least, don’t be a jerk. To anyone. You don’t need to make enemies in college. That nerdy engineer may take out his frustration on you by intentionally designing a bridge to collapse while you’re driving over it.

Enjoy the year, CSU. You have only real life waiting after your time here.

Seth Stern is a senior journalism major. His column appears on Mondays in the Collegian. Letters and feedback can be sent to

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