How to make new friends without regretting it later
The UVU Review gives you a crash course in whom to avoid during your higher education
If you’re reading this, then you’re already aware of the grim inevitable. The summer of 2011, previously believed to be wide open with possibilities and virtually endless, is coming to a close. Fall semester is looming over all of us, like the shadow of some insatiable leviathan beast ready devour all of our free time. This year’s seasoned collegiate will no doubt greet the transition from August’s liberty to September’s liability with a sort of blasé resignation, the way a man in front of a firing squad calmly smokes his last cigarette and accepts his fate without a lot of weepy hullabaloo.
But for the bright-eyed, fresh-faced and totally confused novice, that first semester at Utah Valley University is not a time of dread and doom. It is a social and academic joy ride, rife with new experience and exciting opportunity. You will be exposed to ideas and philosophies that will make your tiny little brain ache with growing pains. You will probably go through three to five really obnoxious phases, depending on how much shame you harbor. Most importantly, you will meet tons of new and interesting people – people who, for better or worse, will alter your life in some way.
And, that, my darling Wolverine pups, is exactly why you need to very quickly hone the ability to discern between a person who is worth your time and a person who should go play in traffic. You don’t want to be donning your cap and gown at the finale of your college career and in that moment realize for the first time that your friends are awful. And yet, identifying jerks and morons can be difficult amidst so many new faces. Which is why, for this issue of orientation, your friendly neighborhood opinions editor has thrown together a little guide, detailing the types of people to avoid. Pay attention and take heart, rookies.
Joining every club and participating in every conceivable campus activity was charming when Jason Schwartzman did it in Rushmore. But he also made friends with Bill Murray and wore that school blazer like a champion. You won’t look nearly as good being Joe College and neither will anyone you know. On the contrary, Joe College looks absolutely haggard. He’s spent the week running around from club meeting to team fundraiser to campus dance like a chicken with his head cut off. He basically lives on campus. He has no life and no lasting relationships, as most of his club acquaintances eventually move on to bigger and better things. Not knowing any other way to meet people, Joe College buries himself deeper into campus fun time, neglecting his studies and staying in school a lot longer than he should. Ever see an idiot man-child in his thirties trying to make friends with kids half his age? It’s heartbreaking, and it’s happening on every college campus in America. Look for the balding guy by the punch bowl, the one too poorly dressed to be a faculty chaperone. But don’t make eye contact.
Captain Planet is a lot like Joe College, except with causes of all shapes and sizes. Basically, Captain Planet took an ethics course, watched An Inconvenient Truth, read The Feminine Mystique and saw how factory farms slaughter cattle all in the same month. All of those experience all at once can really rattle a person’s brain and drive them on a quixotic mission to save the entire world all by themselves. Which is fine. A person should fight for the principles they believe in. Otherwise, they’re not principles, they’re conversation starters. But Captain Planet is that special breed of college-age activist who tries to make you feel like the most self-absorbed cockroach on earth because you want to go to the movies instead of the Earth Day Rally. Every conversation is a lecture about the impending doom of the world and its inhabitants. Nothing is allowed to simply be pleasurable or fun anymore. You can’t buy toothpaste, drive to work or even swat a spider crawling up your forearm without someone shaking their head at you in reproach and dismay. And if you want to constantly feel horrible about yourself and count the days until this planet curls up and dies, you are more than welcome. But maybe you should consider attending some hardcore doomsday cult instead of college, because tithing is a lot cheaper than tuition. Your weekends will be just as lame and you’ll feel just as guilty, but you’ll have an easier time making rent.
Smokey The Bore
Smokey The Bore is a more insidious foe than Captain or Joe College, because he’s all about having a guilt-free good time and only goes to school activities when there is free pizza to be had. But ol’ Smokey spends the majority of his higher education in a marijuana-induced haze. For him, the substance abuse commonly experienced by almost every twenty-something in school isn’t an occasional weekend treat – it’s a way of life. Smokey the Bore spends all of his time in his room doing gravity hits and watching Cheers reruns.. He spends most of his money on blacklight posters of wizards, so it’s difficult to get him out of the house for pretty much anything that doesn’t involve being wasted. Even if he had the funds, he’s content to stay inside all day. Associating with Smokey The Bore is can be a lot of fun in small doses, but if you’re not careful, you’ll arrive at his pad on Monday afternoon and leave on Wednesday morning, wondering where all the time went. It is not in the interest of this particular opinions editor to take a hardline stance on the abuse of certain substances. But if you fall too deeply into Smokey’s world, the only thing you’ll have to show for all your time at university will be a C average, a pile of empty Funyuns bags and the unshakeable conviction that everyone on television is as high as you. If you feel the need to experiment, this is the time in your life when you can afford it. But, remember, kids: it’s called dope for a reason.
As you participate in higher education, you will meet so many more types of fools, freakazoids and misanthropes. You’ll meet people who spend so much time studying that they can’t converse about anything except their class schedule. You’ll encounter that special lady who’s doing everything she can to get back at her dad and has the diseases to prove it. You’ll meet the guy who reads one poem by Lord Byron and spends the next year brooding and stinking. Hopefully, your first semester will be an eye-opener in more ways than one. Hopefully, you will join a club or two, speak out against a few injustices and lose track of a whole weekend once or twice. Hopefully, you will quickly learn that while everybody has an intrinsic value and deserves kindness and consideration, some people should be avoided like the Black Plague. Because if you don’t, you’re probably one of the misguided, obnoxious souls I’ve been talking about. In that case, good luck with your studies. I hope you get everything you want out of your college experience – as long as what you want doesn’t involve engaging me in conversation. Have a nice life. Go you Wolverines.