It seems to be a rite of passage for senior Chroniclists to self-indulgently give advice to underclassmen at the end of the year.
Usually these articles are awfully trite and virtually unreadable, and this one will probably be no exception. I just thought I'd get it out of the way a few weeks in advance. Don't worry, it's not stuff about encouraging you to dream big dreams and hug everyone or anything, just some things I might've done differently.
- No double major. It's understandable that people feel compelled to major in a field that will help land a job after graduation. For example, it's simply true that an economics major helps you market yourself to financial firms. But I think it's a misconception that we need to add another, less "useful" field to truly complete our education. Aside from your practical major, take the classes and the professors that you find most interesting; don't bother subjecting yourself to a second department's list of curriculum requirements.
I, for instance, chose philosophy as an "impractical" major. But in addition to the majority of classes I took in the department-which were fascinating and well taught-I look back and feel like some of the time would have been better-spent pursuing more academic breadth.
Having to adhere to the strictures of two departments, in addition to Trinity's general requirements, severely limits one's ability to do this.
- See more speakers. I don't regret having gone to a single speaking event here. Someone who gets invited to speak by an academic department or even a student group at Duke almost definitely knows their s- and how to talk about it. What I do regret is having let the announcements for these speakers lie in my inbox until after the event, harboring "plans" to go but never pulling the trigger.
Hearing former ambassador Joe Wilson speak this year was inspiring. Duke grad Dana Vachon's book reading was hilarious (the last phrase he read was "raw-dogging").
Attending talks by such movers and shakers is one of the best ways of transforming Duke from a four-year Gothic playground for the nouveau-riche into a place to build character and ambition-"outrageous" or otherwise. I now hope for the day when I will have gained enough credibility in a field that a place like Duke sees my opinions as a source of possible inspiration.
- Leave time for lunch. I've done the
20-minute-class-change-Chick-Fil-A thing for semesters at a time. I would get that box of nuggets they have and consistently leave the last one (I was convinced the final nugget represented some tipping
point after which I would surely vomit.)
But it's not only for quality's sake that you should eat at places like the Refectory, Nasher Café and Blue Express. Leisurely lunches have been one of my favorite ways of meeting and getting to know people here. Sure, it can be a little weird to set up a lunch date with another dude, but it's a shame never to get to know the people outside of one's immediate circle.
- Procrastinate more. I shudder to think how much time I've spent in the library out of guilt, but ultimately in vain. There are few things more demoralizing or empty feeling than going home after a wasted
night at Perkins. If you are one of those people that can budget your time efficiently, spreading out your work and getting it done in advance-well, have fun with that. But if you're like me, you've told yourself you're going to get half that paper done tonight, only to facebook and AIM until 2 a.m. Looking back, I wish I had been more deliberate about my procrastination-truly owned it more.
Instead of pretending to be working, give up the dream and enjoy your night. Motivation is borne of pressure. Save the
library trip until you actually feel it.
So there you have it. Simple words from a simple man.
Oh and also: Don't be afraid to dream big dreams, cherish your friendships and volunteer at soup kitchens a lot.
Dave Kleban is a Trinity senior. His column runs every other Tuesday.
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