Unsolicited advice for the masses

Wear sunscreen.

If I could offer you only one tip for the future, sunscreen would be it. No, seriously--the UV index has been 8 for the past three days, and it's only getting hotter. Slap on some Zinka and give your dermis a break--the South already has its fair share of rednecks.

Where was I going with this? Oh, yes, tips for the future, self-indulgent reminiscence and prima donna counsel from my wizened senior perspective. If you're skeptical about my expertise, then Mr. Christoph Guttentag and the admissions crew deserve a shout-out. Dukies ain't dummies, but four years in the Gothic Wonderland won't make you an oracle. Hell, it probably won't make you gainfully employed.

Anyhow, back to my point: I refuse to give advice. I also refuse to take it. That might make me a disaffected, elitist snot, but I'd prefer to think it makes me 22. After all, one of the perks of intellect is the ability to rationalize self-delusion. But who knows? Maybe advice isn't so bad: It's cheap and recyclable and sounds great with vodka.

As Ronald Reagan once said, "You can tell a lot about a fella's soul by his way of eating jelly beans." Wait, wrong president. As Harry Truman once said, "If you can't convince them, confuse them." So here I go, climbing out on a limb with my bold proclamation of trend: "Trite" is the new "innovative." You heard it here first, folks.

"Don't compromise yourself. You're all you've got."

Why compromise yourself when you can compromise others? That's the heart of the Duke experience: putting up with "the man" so you can become him. There's a reason there are over 500 economics majors.

"I hope you dance."

I hope you dance well, that is. Because the hip post-mosh pit bouncing and Lil' Kim grinds of our generation are gonna look really played out at alumni reunions. Anyone who stumbled past the fundraising extortion tents last weekend and caught a glimpse of drunken swaying knows what I'm talking about--past-prime posing ain't pretty.

"You can't make a silk purse out of a sow's ear."

Translation: Thank God you don't go to Chapel Hill.

"Don't count your chickens before they're hatched."

Hmm, we'll call this one the "millennial job-hunt proverb." How many future i-bankers have found their true calling and plan to "Teach for America?" If you've been Goldman-sacked, you're not alone. For the pre-professional Brooks Brothers of the Southeast, this is the winter (err, spring) of your discontent. Selling out sucks when no one's looking to buy.

"Practice makes perfect."

Yes, this applies to drinking, psychotropic experimentation, kama sutra and all other forms of debauchery. No, this does not apply to academics. See, "Procrastination makes perfect."

"Don't look a gift horse in the mouth."

First, some background for the uninitiated: When buying a horse, one inspects its teeth for health and evidence of good breeding. But when accepting a horse as a gift, one should never quibble over quality.

Now, that being said, stop bitching about college. Sure, you earned it, but odds are you're not paying for it. Throwing stones at ivory towers is just, well, a mixed metaphor.

"Rome wasn't built in a day."

Note to the administration: Despite the 10-year "Harvard conversion" plan the University has so diligently embarked upon, things can't change overnight, and not every smart-aleck teenager has "Ivy eyes."

"If you are going through Hell, keep going."

We can thank Winston Churchill for this one. The pot-bellied Brit had a point: Why stop now? In high school, we viewed college as a destination unto itself. Were we deluded or what? Now we know better--college is simply a means to an end. Graduate and professional schools are the important step. Whew, glad we figured that one out. $138,947 and counting....

"Make hay while the sun shines."

In other words, consider today the unofficial last day of classes and head to the Gardens. Do you really believe anyone reads those course evaluations you'll fill out next week?

"Don't judge a book by its cover."

Heck, don't even read a book's cover--unless that book is a copy of CliffsNotes. Many an errant academe has mistaken Don Juan for Don Quixote during the mad rush to the cash register.

"All is well that ends well."

This 16th century gem is apparently the motivation behind the University's last-ditch efforts at making social life bearable for graduating seniors with a series of half-baked bonding events that should occur regularly anyhow. (However, serving wine and cheese in the Sanford Institute is ingenious--Bordeaux and brie would make public policy studies so much more interesting.)

For further information regarding the "trite trend" explored herein, I direct you all to your computers, where Instant Messenger profiles and e-mail signatures everywhere feature a veritable bevy of profundities. After all, in the words of artist Samuel Palmer, "Wise men make proverbs, but fools repeat them."

Tim Perzyk is a Trinity senior and editor of Recess.


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