To the Class of 2014

To the Class of 2014, let me be among the first to welcome you to Miami. As you look around and quickly realize you’re in way over your head I know it’s easy to become overwhelmed by it all. So as a seasoned veteran of this school (two years and $30,000 dollars in debt under my belt), I’d like to offer a few tips to our newest schoolmates so that they don’t make some of the same mistakes I made. The many, many mistakes I made.

First off, everyone on campus has their drug of choice. Be it over-the-counter, prescription, illegal or of the variety sold at Starbucks; always assume that no more than 15 percent of the campus is sober at any given point.

We attend the most beautiful campus in the country when it comes to both plants and people, so enjoy it. Leave the iPod in your room and the BlackBerry in your pocket on your way to class so you can enjoy the tropical weather in the middle of February. Remember winters in Connecticut? They’re basically the same here, just replace the soul-crushing sleet with sunshine and scattered rain showers. Don’t worry, you’ll adjust.

While this next tip is mostly for the male audience, it’s good advice for both genders: look, but never stare. Whether you’re at the gym, in class or walking past the IM fields, seven of the most attractive people you’ve ever seen are likely to be there. It’ll never be the same person more than three times, but that doesn’t give you the right to ogle. Show a little class, a little respect, and you won’t be labeled as Creepy McStarestoolong.

Now, you obviously didn’t come here just because we’ve got a sweet Marine Biology school (which we do). Sports, specifically football, had something to do with you coming here, whether you want to admit it or not. So while you’re attending games at Whatever-They’re-Calling-The-Place-Where-The-Dolphins-Play Stadium, a few things need to be kept in mind.

Show your school spirit, but be creative with it. We’ve all seen It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, so ditch the green-man suit. It’s lazy, it’s been cliché for a while, and you’re going to smell like something unholy after marinating in the sun for three hours in spandex. If you want to standout, pick an obscure player to follow throughout the season and rep him at games like he’s your first cousin. It’s easier if he starts, but seeing a bench player succeed will be more satisfying.

Finally, buses usually start going back to campus during halftime, but if you ride them before the fourth quarter, you’re a quitter and you make Sebastian the Ibis cry.

This is obviously far from a comprehensive list: shower shoes (wear them), fedoras (don’t, unless you’re Dean Martin or a douche bag) and skateboarding (can’t ollie? ride a bike) are just a few of the other decisions by which the rest of us will judge you. But finding your own path is part of the reason you’re at college, so enjoy it. Make mistakes, learn from them, move on.

But please don’t play acoustic guitar in front of the dorms. I’ll have no other choice but to snap it in half, if only for your own good.

Austen Gregerson is a junior majoring in print journalism and political science. He may be contacted at