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Tuesday, February 27, 2024
The independent student publication of The University at Buffalo, since 1950

Letter from the Editor

Dear incoming freshmen,

So you've successfully enrolled in college. Now what?

As freshmen, you probably have no idea what to expect for the next four (and as I always say, maybe five) years. Sure, college is what you make of it and everyone's experiences vary, but regardless of who you are or where you're from, most of you – including your friends who will be attending different schools – will go through very similar things.

Here's a brief four phase rundown of what to expect during your years in college coupled with some advice so you can be a little more prepared when you cross certain figurative, yet inevitable, bridges.

Phase 1: Freedom

After you move into your dorm room in the Fall, you'll say good bye to whoever helped move you in, and see them off as they get into whatever mode of transportation they used to help ship you off to Buffalo. You'll take one deep breath and realize that there is no one around to tell you what to do. Ah, the taste of freedom.

Will you instantly inhale a pack of cigarettes or smoke a joint and not have to worry about smelling when you come home? Will you see if your fake ID can get you beer at the nearest gas station or liquor store? Will you eat gross snacks at unheard of times and skip class just because? Will you party on a school night and regret it the next morning?

Do you hear that? That's a resounding yes, and that's freedom. Welcome to college class of 2014.

Phase 2: Mistakes and Responsibility

After realizing that no one can really tell you what to do anymore (you will, however, encounter a stuck up RA, unfair professor, or bored cop at least once), you'll slowly realize why certain rules were put in place to begin with.
Believe it or not, sometimes the opposite sex is turned off by the smell/taste of cigarettes. That cute girl you were talking to – or more likely slurring your words at –may reevaluate going back to your dorm when she sees you puffing away on a cancer stick. Are black lungs really worth $8 a pack? You may wisely reconsider smoking throughout your tenure (especially thanks to our smoke-free campus and freezing winters), or may realize you can't live without cigs. Either way, it will ultimately be your choice.
You won't remember to finish your laundry if you smoke too much weed. You'll get that dreadful feeling that you're forgetting something, but you'll have no clue what it is. Two days later, you'll run out of underwear and find your tighty whities scattered across the laundry room floor. Lesson learned: either watch your laundry, or set an alarm for when it's done.
You're going to get rejected from the bar at least once, because let's face it, that's either clearly a fake ID (if it bends and snaps, you're not getting in), or it looks nothing like you. The bouncer doesn't really care what your zodiac sign is, or when you graduated from high school (hint, start learning those things), but instead just doesn't want to let you into the bar because, regardless of how much makeup you have on, you still look like you're 16. At some point, you'll understand the word liability (probably after you get community service for throwing a party when you move off campus) and will forgive the bouncer.
You'll fart up a storm in class and regret that trip to the Eli for a late night pint of ice cream. Most times, you'll regret skipping class, because with your luck, the professor will have gone over the midterm assignment or distributed a pop quiz worth 20 percent of your grade. Lesson two: make friends in your classes.
Yes, you're going to screw up. But a big part of college is learning from your mistakes, both in and out of the classroom. It's not about what you did to make the mistake, but more so about what you do to fix it.

Phase 3: Relationships

After partying like the world is about to explode and meeting new people left and right, you'll want to settle down. That doesn't necessarily mean taking on a boyfriend or girlfriend – although many of you will devote yourselves to one person for an extended amount of time, realize it's not for you, swear off relationships forever and then eventually meet someone you're more compatible with – but more so a core group of friends.

Don't expect to keep in touch with everyone from freshman year. In fact, your friends will likely change as you discover who it is you really are. The important thing to remember is to surround yourself with people who look exactly like you, share the same religious beliefs and hold the same stereotypes that your family taught you while you were growing up.

Just kidding.
Don't be afraid to branch out. You're attending a public university with all different walks of life. Meet new people, learn about new cultures and give everyone a chance. As sad as it sounds, it'll be tough to keep in touch with your friends from home (which I strongly encourage trying to do) and your friends from college will most likely be there for the long run. Lesson three: choose wisely.

Phase 4: Education

Sadly, this is the fourth and final stage. It's the last of the phases because you're not going to learn anything here if you don't want to. At some point, learning has to become important to you. After sophomore year, I wanted to be more knowledgeable and I wanted to do well in class so I'd be able to get into a good graduate school and eventually get a good job.

At some point, if it hasn't already, it's going to click. The freedom is great, the partying is fun, the mistakes are inevitable and the relationships are important, but your education is key. It's your ticket to the real world and the ball is completely in your court. College is expensive, but (lesson four) you can make it worth it.

UB is a great place to figure out who you are, but never forget, this is where the rest of your life begins. The choices you make here will stay with you forever. Don't be afraid to mess up, but don't forget to learn from your mistakes. I wish you all the best of luck.

Oh yeah, and read The Spectrum Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays and tell all of your friends about this great newspaper with the cool crossword puzzle in the back. We're a tri-weekly newspaper and we appreciate any contributions you may want to make. Whether you love finding typos in our publication, like to take pictures, are good at drawing cartoons, want to write stories or have an idea for a segment; don't be shy and let us know. This is your university as much as it is ours!


Andrew Wiktor



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