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Thursday, September 28, 2023
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Feet First

Doors Too Narrow to Fit the Past

"Where would you rather be than right here, right now?"
Marv Levy

Hi, my name is Michael Lucinski. You might remember me from such films as "The President's Neck is Missing" and "The Erotic Adventures of Hercules." Since drawing the short straw among the editors, I've been allowed the honor of walking the newest additions to the UB family, freshmen, through dorm life.

Freshmen commuters that are tempted to turn to the sports section should read this, too. You might learn something important. Odds are you won't, but stranger things have happened - cheese in a can, for example.

"But wait," I can hear freshmen say to themselves while reading this in World Civ (Good choice, by the way. I'm much more interesting than a bunch of dead Greeks), "I've lived here for almost one week. What more do I need to know?"

Kids. Aren't they cute?

You're living on your own for the first time with almost no boundaries, which can be very overwhelming. It's the details of life, both big and small, that you may have missed as you adjust to your new paradigm. Everyone goes through the same thing after life-altering changes. I'm sure someone at the White House has had to say, "I'm sorry, Mr. President, we don't have spittoons."

Try to benefit from the experience of those who came before you, okay?

By now it's obvious that both Governors and Ellicott (there's no such thing as South Campus) can be quite confusing when attempting to move from one building in the complex to another. In fact, a friend told me of an encounter in the bowels of Red Jacket with a frustrated old man asking how to find his way out and if we had "whupped the Krauts yet."

Governors (or Gover-Nerds. Ha, ha, ha. Bite me): smaller than Tetrisville but no less flummoxing. One can wander around the squared circles for hours, accomplishing nothing but inducing dizziness. A small group of students from Ellicott visiting a friend in Governors kept going in circles so fast they reversed time like Clark Kent did in "Superman: The Movie."

Instead of doing something worthwhile like saving Lois Lane or keeping Hillary out of office, they tried to prevent Rage Against the Machine's breakup. To each his own, I suppose.

Perhaps the most important concern facing students is whether or not they'll get along with their roommate(s). That's understandable, considering you'll spend at the very least one semester in close quarters. "Hi, the name's Hatfield. What's yours?" "McCoy. Pleased to meet you."

By now you have a pretty good sense whether or you'll be bosom buddies or bitter enemies. With a little luck, you and your roommate(s) will become the best of friends and have four fun years together. If not, well, remember, no firearms are allowed in university residence halls. Use the old hand-in-the-pan-of-water trick instead. Fire is effective as well.

If you live in a double as I do, by now you've decided whether to bunk the beds or not. I think it's smart to do so because it maximizes space, allowing more area to live in. Watch out for the low ceilings if you're on the top bunk, especially if you have nightmares that jolt you awake. "The monster is chasing me! Ahhh - WHACK! Oh great, blood."

Due to the smallness of a dorm room and lack of uniformity in students lives, courtesy towards your roommate(s) is vital. Common sense details: don't eat someone else's food, don't tug on Superman's cape, don't pull the mask off the Lone Ranger, don't mess around with Jim, don't bogart all the weed, don't bang their boyfriends and/or girlfriends. Common sense. If you must have sex, try to do it when the room is empty. If that proves impossible, be kind enough to share. Common courtesy is the hallmark of a civilized people.

Additionally, instead of viewing the RAs as a bunch of joy-killing authoritarians, use them as vehicles to meet others in your hall. Have them organize a Jew/Palestinian touch football game, or a Right to Life/NARAL paintball outing. That's what college is all about - meeting those with different opinions and crushing them on the field of battle.

I want to indulge in a personal plea to all the residents of Governors. God, and to a much lesser extent UB authorities, put locks on doors for a reason. They want to keep the bad people out, and rightly so. Don't prop the doors open so your loser friends from Buff State and NU can come visit. Tell them to use the phones and be sure to kick any doors shut that are open. The only sociopaths allowed in should be the ones who pay the $1800.

One final lesson. Although this has nothing to do with dorming, its important, so pay attention. Picture a shot glass. Picture a regular glass. Put them side by side. Fill the shot glass with the appropriate liquor of your choice. DO NOT fill the regular glass with the proportional amount of the same liquor - studies show it increases the likelihood of raging headaches, uncontrollable vomiting and visits from Dr. Stomach Pump.

If you must though, save it for the weekends.

I told the commuters to stick around for the end of the column. Why? Because I was one of them once, what seems like a lifetime ago. Last semester I moved into Lehman Hall and it was the smartest decision I've made so far in my relatively short life. Now is the time when you're allowed a maximum amount of freedom with almost no corresponding responsibility. I enjoyed myself more last semester than I did the two and a half years prior. Moving on campus is worth every penny and I highly recommend it.

You'll notice the doors, in Governors at any rate, are incredibly narrow. Two people cannot pass through a door abreast each other. The practical effect, I assume, is to prevent students from bringing in large foreign objects - couches, entertainment units, Gerad Depardieu, etc.

An unintended consequence is space is just wide enough for you - nothing else. Imagine a man carrying two suitcases full of his past - old friends, loves, insecurities, beliefs. To walk through that door, to fit into his new life, he must drop those suitcases, he must leave his past behind.

The doors are too narrow for others, for your past, forcing you to change, to become a different and hopefully better person. From personal experience, I know this is true.

Welcome to UB. Hope you enjoy the experience.



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