"Buy the ticket, take the ride"
Year five. Week one. The sun is set to broil. Yet another year of school awaits.
After a full four years, the shock and awe of college begins to wear. I've begun to settle on school as more of a lifestyle than a quick sprint to a degree. The UA has become a comfortable nest where the troubles of a real life and a career are far, far away.
With the economy the way it is, I figure, what's the rush? Unemployment can wait.
During my extended stay I have collected a vast amount of information I feel could be helpful to others just beginning their first spin around the carousel.
So, for my first column of the year, here is a bit of advice for you newcomers that might help you get through the school year.
Or it might not. It may just get you into trouble. Who knows? Try it.
First and foremost, chill out.
Over the years, I've found stressing over classes to be a waste of energy. Instead, I've learned to simply manage my classes, perhaps at the risk of not actually learning. It's all about prioritizing. Figure out what things actually need to be done and which might not be as important and act accordingly.
Not many and don't make it a habit, but, once again, prioritize. Sometimes a mental health day is just what the doctor ordered. Or, if you have to choose between studying for a test and sitting in stadium seating for a lecture, study for the test.
When looking for a computer in the Manuel T. Pacheco Intergrated Learning Center, never sit at a computer that faces a corner.
This is where people watch porn. Other than that, the ILC is a great resource for students and the multimedia section is top notch for putting movies and presentations together.
Get a bike.
It's impossible to drive around campus. It's even harder to stop driving around on campus. Parking is absurd. Second Street Parking Garage is virtually always full. I've rarely had the luxury of stowing a car in that parking palace. There are also several construction projects that are making it even more difficult to find a spot. And, hey, bike riding is good for you and good for the environment. It will earn you points among liberals and give you the satisfaction of knowing you're doing your part to save the planet.
BICAS, 44 W. 6th St., is a great place to get a used bicycle or to build your own out of recycled parts with the help of mechanics.
Lock your bike with a sturdy U-Lock around the frame. Otherwise it will be stolen. I promise.
Read the Arizona Daily Wildcat.
Keep yourself informed with what's happening in the community you live in.
Don't buy books.
Wait a couple days. See if someone you know already has the book and check online. Sometimes you can find the book online for cheaper than the bookstore. Also, in some cases, you'll find you may be able to get by without every book that is required for a class.
Renounce your childhood religion and join another.
See what you think. If you're all about singing and dancing give the Hare Krishnas a whirl. They can be seen roaming through campus on occasion and they also have a great temple/vegan restaurant just a couple miles from campus called Govinda's. If you're looking for something a little more mainstream check out the campus' Catholic Church — the St. Thomas More Catholic Newman Center at the University of Arizona. They always have a variety of events going on throughout the year. There are all kinds of religious options to test out. If things don't work out you could always go back to whatever you were doing before or even nothing at all.
Get away from campus.
There is so much to see in the nearby Fourth Avenue area and downtown. With the modern streetcar being introduced and the underpass recently opened it's easier than ever to see the non-academic places around the UA. Fourth Avenue and downtown have a wealth of eclectic coffee shops, bars and art galleries as well as artsy concert venues and restaurants.
Get a t-shirt one size too big and wear it like a dress.
This is a popular fashion trend among the sororities and is a great way to stay cool and conserve clothing. Who needs pants when you've got a big shirt?
Realize you live in a hellishly hot place.
Drink water. Get out of the sun. Check out some of the restaurants on University Boulevard or hang out in the Student Union Memorial Center. Make sure you dress for the heat (see t-shirt dresses.)
Don't wear long jeans. It's too hot. You could end up chafing your legs and developing a bright red wicked rash that is too close to the business. You'll then think you may have contracted some kind of disease but will be relieved when you find out it is only a heat rash. Carry some Gold Bond around for a few days. You'll be good as new.
Most importantly, take some risks.
Put yourself out there. Meet people who are unlike yourself and experience things you might be afraid of. College is a great time to try new things and learn what you are all about. So go for it. Go a little crazy. Buy the ticket. Take the ride.
—Otto Ross is a journalism senior and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.