Kristin McGrath

Monica O’Malley:

So you’re going to Wash. U. You’ve got four years of freedom and fun ahead of you. Life is good, and it’s just getting started.

So what? Do you think you’re Elvis or something?

If your admission to this fine establishment is any indication of your smarts, you’ll answer, “Yes, yes I do. I’m THAT cool.”

You know what? You are…in your own way. Just like everyone at Wash. U., I don’t mean that in the fuzzy-feeling, Mr. Rogers kind of way.

But then again, I do.

Every high school had its scholars and winners. Therefore, everyone at Wash. U. is going to be as good as you, or better. Shocking, I know. Everyone here is special, gifted, amazing. And that is the hardest thing in the world to deal with.

You’ll have to come to grips with the fact that you are no longer the best. There will always be the girl whose ample bosom will draw all the guys at parties while you wait invisibly or the guy who scores every goal in the game while you just wait to kick the ball.

Someone will always set the curve and someone will always be the professor’s favorite. And there is always that someone who will never spend the night alone, ever.

The thing is that you have to figure out where you excel. Everyone here is good at everything, but everyone is great at something, too. You have to find your niche.

The only way to do that, despite what other people might say, is to be yourself.

You have to be the person you really are in order to live the college life you really want to be leading.

Remember high school? The far-off land where you couldn’t escape your label? Some of you may have loved it. I know I did. Some of you may have hated it. I know I did. But the truth of the matter is that you are grown up and past that now.

Get yourself into the rut of acting like somebody else and you will end up right back there. Believe me, being a freshman is tough enough without being “so high school,” too.

So be yourself and show your incredible peers just how special you are. Who knows? You might just get lucky, too.

– – –

Joshua Trein:

There is one thing that each and every freshman absolutely needs to know upon entering this storied institution of higher learning: I am the coolest person here. I feel like you freshman deserve to know where you stand in terms of your awesome-ness. Fear not, for I have teamed up with the lovely Ms. O’Malley and together we shall work to instill in you some hope for your future.

Before starting college (read: prior to heavy drinking) you should seek advice from someone that understands your plight, someone like me. I understand the freshman mindset. In fact, I was asked to be an RA on the first all-female freshman floor Wash. U. had seen in decades. Although I would not have undergone this trial alone [my co-RA would have been a bottle of Remy (e with an accent) Martin Cognac], I eventually had to turn down the position due to sexual conflict of interest. But I digress. Here I am telling you all the cool things going on in my life while I’m supposed to be helping you.

There are changes you can make to become more socially palatable. Hang around people cooler than yourself. This will no doubt be difficult, as I am already overloaded with hangers-on and the other two or three cool people at Wash U are desperately trying to keep their names on the DL to avoid being deluged by thefacebook.com friend requests. But I know you can do it! You have to, because I know how awful it can feel to not be cool. Or I can pretend to, for your sake.

So what does my advice come down to? Collegiate bliss can be summed up in five words: never try to be yourself. All free-wheeling and individualistic tendencies should be expunged from your character for the sake of your reputation. Basically, if you want to enjoy your time at school, fall in line as soon as humanly possible.

Allow me one final tip to smooth your transition into anonymity: buy a nice pair of sneakers. That way you’ll have something to look at while avoiding eye contact with your classmates.

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