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Recent alumnus imparts provoking pearls of wisdom

By Evan Mintz     8/21/08 7:00pm

Graduation is a lot like death. Students run around the material world of college, preparing for the inescapable end that awaits among the relentless march of time, spew-ing forth souls into an afterlife based on one's actions in the first. Do well in college, and you may find yourself in an Elysian Field of high-paying jobs. Do poorly, and suffer in the Tartarus Pit of the public sec-tor. Of course, there are those who refuse to leave - ghosts, if you will - who continue to haunt the land of the living. Beware, Valhalla is the most haunted place on campus.I find myself in the purgatory that is a New York City law school, attempting to atone for my previ-ous sins of putting way too much time into the Thresher. So expect my surprise when the current edi-tors held a s_ance, or just sent an e-mail, to hear some ghostly advice from beyond the grave. Just remem-ber, don't cross the streams.

First, screw the college system: It may seem like a surprise to fresh-men whose only interaction so far is with Rice students whose enthusi-asm for the college system borders on aneurism and/or orgasm, but the summer camp atmosphere can wear thin. With the forced friend-ships, limited housing options and pep-rally attitude, the college sys-tem not only babies students well into years when they should act like adults, but also discourages students from branching out into more important fields. Rather than help flesh out those institutions of a modern university - campus tele-vision station, student newspaper, political organizations - or take part in worthy academic pursuits, the college system leeches away potential student leaders. Rather than investigate campus corrup-tion or work towards scientific discoveries, students occupy their time with such important issues as buying beer, attempting to pay for beer and throwing parties for the beer. And honestly, the beer is not even that good.

Second, screw coeds: Every once in a while, professors will attempt to hand down advice from their years of experience. One common piece, heard from many a professor, was to take advantage of the four years of debauchery, close quarters and easy alcohol - after all, this is the only time you will have. There are always a few freshmen who think that their high school relationship is special and will last through the trials and tribulations of college. It's not and it won't. So don't let yourself be that guy, or girl, who wastes the first few semesters holed away in a dorm room, serving as all-time designated driver or simply missing out on the best part of public parties.

Third, screw grade grubbers: Those summa cum laudes are an impressive lot. Of course unless they were one of those petty grade grub-bers who complained to professors about an A-, signed up for classes based on the average grade and saw the goal of Rice as a 4.0 rather than an education. Screw them for sell-ing out what a college education is supposed to be. And screw them for throwing off the curve. If you even encounter one of these schmucks - often a fluent speaker in a 101 language class - make sure to give them the business.

Fourth, screw whiners: It is not that Rice does not have any activ-ism, but most of this activism is concentrated amongst groups of students who only care about petty issues about which they are severe-ly misinformed. So any time you encounter a student whining about construction, shove a copy of the 50-year plan down their throat.

Fifth, forget about ambition: In your first few weeks of college, people will tell you that you will be able to accomplish anything as long as you put your mind to it. Well, you probably won't. Things are hard and college is distracting. Honestly, peo-ple rise to the highest echelons of so-ciety and power not because of their abilities or stick-to-itiveness, but because of who they know. So try to become roommates with someone whose father will fund her Senate campaign; maybe then you'll have what it takes to become the next Sec-retary of Transportation or Supreme Court Justice.

Sixth, screw you: Shut up; sit down; no one cares. You may have been hot shit back in high school but now you're just another idiot lost on the way to class or getting drunk on Natty Lite. What have you done for Rice lately? Seriously, Rice should bring back hazing.

Seventh, do drugs: Seriously, they're fun and decently easy to get on a college campus. Just don't overdo it. Too many kids have been brainwashed by anti-drug cam-paigns, all the while alcohol, a drug in itself, is made widely avail-able on campus. So do your own re-search, be happy and be healthy.

Evan Mintz graduated from Hanszen College in 2008 and is a former Thresher executive editor and Back-page editor.

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