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Need advice? Same!

Over the past century, The Chronicle traditionally welcomes first-years (historically known as freshmen) to campus with a short editor’s note dispensing advice. It goes something like this: don’t forget that learning occurs inside and outside the classroom. Don’t overcommit yourself, but definitely do something. Thank your FAC because they don’t get paid. Try to be social but don’t try too hard. Give your roommate a chance, even if they’re different from you. Ask questions if you need help. Welcome to a new chapter in your life.

This advice is cliché for a reason, and as such is dispensed every year to incoming first-years across the country. I won’t pretend like I’m the person who came up with it. So, instead, I bring to you highlights from the 11 decades between the first volume of the paper and today.

There was no advice for first-years exactly 100 years ago, in 1918, because the first issue of Volume 14 of the Chronicle was delayed until November. This, the editors explained, because “for awhile there was no one to assume the responsibility for its publication,” due in part to World War I. The editors promised to “print from time to time news from the boys overseas” and concluded by “wishing that the return of peace may bring joy and happiness to your lives.”

Editors of Volume 2, from 1906, wrote in their first issue to freshmen that “everything is new and strange to you, and realizing this from past experience, we shall be glad to do anything that we can to make your stay with us pleasant and profitable, both to you and to ourselves.”

One columnist in 1962 defined the FAC program as “one of the various forms of legalized illegal rushing encountered by a freshman during his first semester.” Some things never change!

Advice for the Class of 1984 from the staff of Volume 78 is “RELAX!”

More formally, the editors of Volume 33 in 1936 wrote “advice has been extended to you. Counsel is open to you should you ever desire more. You have been introduced to college life. Your future is now in your own hands, to do with it as you will, as now you enter upon another stage of your life."

Counsel is open to you if you should ever desire more, not only from your RA, your FAC, your advisor and CAPS, but also here, in the pages of the Chronicle! The Chronicle is launching an advice column this semester, and I’m writing it. I’m qualified to do this because I screw up a lot, my mom is a therapist, and also because I’m 21 and as such, I know everything: I’ve passed, like, several classes, I have been in AND ended at least one relationship, I’ve held almost a dozen part-time jobs but have never gotten fired, I cry during advising meetings only about half the time, and I’ve been able to legally drink for almost two months. What more do you need? Please send your questions to chronicleletters@duke.edu. Advice from Volume 114 has yet to be written!

Frances Beroset is a Trinity senior. Her advice column runs biweekly.

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