5 hours ago
23 August 2010
Higher Learning: Summer M.'s Freshman Orientation Post
Several eons have passed since that late summer night in West Lafayette, Indiana (Boiler up!). I've registered and graduated and registered and graduated many times over. In the interim, I imagine, there have been many, many more Jell-O wrestling matches featuring all too eager--and inebriated--co-eds gaining such learning on their parents' dime. (Seriously, how much Jell-O does one have to buy in order to properly coordinate a Jell-O wresting event? Sounds like a math problem to me.) Since the only thing I've ever been in my adult life is a student, I've picked my own brain to come up with a few tips. Call it my effort to compile a list of unhackneyed advice that just might help you during your first year (and beyond) of college. You're welcome.
Pledging is not a major. I know, I know, there is just something about the way those Deltas stroll to "My Chick Bad" (Ludacris' chick is so bad, she don't need a verb. That's bad as hell.) that makes you want to don crimson and creme. And, should a black woman find a man to marry, her sorors will sing at her wedding. But trust me, wannabe neo, your college education is not--and should not be-- the spec script for the Stromp the Yard sequel or Drum Line 2 (Dr. Lee ain't my daddy! -- Oh, Nick Canon). There are other ways of finding out the recipe for Kappa Kool-Aid. Besides, you don't want your life to peak too soon, Half Pint.
Be honest...because frankly, your late paper excuses suck. So you didn't listen to my first bit of advice, and now you're totally buggin' because you didn't finish your mid-term paper because you were out all night pledging? Ok, fine. Don't spend the morning fabricating some terrible excuse about why your work isn't done. Why? Because you sound stupid. Your late paper excuses only sound good to you and your hungover roommate. Trust me. If the work isn't done, tell your professor it isn't done; don't lie. You make it so much worse when you lie. Just tell her that the paper isn't finished. Maybe she won't penalize you. Maybe you'll have to take it on the chin, but you won't look like an ass. If you still insist on lying, there's a blog post I wrote years ago floating around the internet about the most convincing ways to get a paper extension without really trying. I'm not going to post the link, though. You'll have to work for that.
The staff are your friends. And by staff I mean all the folks who aren't faculty: the janitors, the secretaries, the LOAN officers. Here's something really simple: Say hello--and mean it. I can't count the number of times I've seen staff just treated as if they were invisible cogs there to do the dirty work of the students and faculty. If it wasn't for them, the school would implode. They're people; treat them accordingly. Clean up after yourself. Act like you have some home training. In a pinch, they may be the folks who can actually help you. But that's not why you should get to know them. Just don't be a bastard towards them, ok?
They're not going to free Mumia, but sign the petition, anyway.
A few books you should (and will) read while in college: Zami, Blowback, Brave New World, Invisible Man, The Wretched of the Earth, The Leviathan, The Communist Manifesto, Letter from a Birmingham Jail, Beloved, Notes on the State of Virginia, Simulacra and Simulations, The Origin of the Species, Things Fall Apart, The Stranger, Crime and Punishment, One Hundred Years of Solitude, Democracy in America, and a host of others I can't think of this Monday morning.
Go Veg (because that's where the girls are). You're not going to get a date playing Sony Playstation all day, but you might get one if you become a vegetarian. I'd say the same thing about a women's studies course, but Fallon might smack me.
Speaking of, become a feminist. It's now or never. Also, it's prime time to kiss a girl. Be sure to pick up your free pass from the women's studies department during orientation week. They should also have condoms.
Protest something. (See Abu-Jamal, Mumia.) Seriously, this might be the only time you'll have time be an activist. After graduation, you might have to get a real job. (I kid, I kid.)
Open mic. I know. There's just something about that sing-songy cadence and/or an acoustic guitar that makes what's being said sound profound. It's not. Still, go. Heckle.
Music(ians) you will inevitably--and probably should--listen to while in college (because blazing hip-hop and R&B has rotted your brain): Robert Johnson (duh!), Nina Simone, Joni Mitchell (she never lied), Billie Holiday, The Smiths (it happens to the best of us), The Roots, David Bowie, The Mamas and the Papas (don't hate), Bob Marley (not just for frat boys), The Cranberries (because I said so), Fela Kuti (from the obvious files), Curtis Mayfield, Lucinda Williams, Donny Hathaway, some underground hip-hop courtesy of your campus backpacker, The Clash, The Cure, Carole King, Esthero, Fat Freddy's Drop. And, of course, a jazz musician. Pick one. If you need help, because getting into jazz can be daunting, go visit a black studies professor during office hours. He has at least one poster of a jazz musician on his wall.
Love will tear us apart. Ten bucks says you and your high school honey are over by midterms.
Be kind to your T.A. They're people, too. They just made a very, very terrible mistake called graduate school.
Have a great first week of school!
P.S. I co-wrote a blog for the Crunk Feminist Collective. Check it out.
$40 million slaves (3) 2010 (1) 4-letter words (1) 80s (1) 8th grade (1) 90s (4) a different world (1) africa (1) aladdin (1) american values (4) amy winehouse (1) anderson cooper (1) anniversary (3) antoine dodson (1) apple (1) arizona (1) athletes (1) awkward black girl (1) barack obama (13) barbara walters (1) basketball (6) beer (1) bet (1) BET Awards (2) beyonce (4) bill clinton (1) bill duke (1) bill withers (1) birthdays (1) black beauty (1) black girls (4) black kids (4) black like me (1) black love is dead (2) black masculinity (1) black people (13) black respectability (1) black thought (1) black women (7) blacks (1) blame it on the alcohol (1) blaphemy (1) blind side (1) blizzard (1) blogging (1) bob marley (1) Bobby Brown (1) books (4) brandy (1) bryan safi (1) bryant gumbel (1) burger kind (1) cam'ron (1) capitalism (2) census 2010 (1) cereal (1) chappelle's show (1) charles barkley (1) chaz bono (1) chicago (3) chick-fil-a (2) chris broussard (1) chris brown (1) christmas (3) cinema (2) class (1) college (1) college basketball (1) coming out (1) commencement (2) commercials (2) common (3) current tv (1) d'angelo (2) dad (1) daddy (1) dark girls (1) dave chappelle (1) david stern (1) dead prez (1) death penalty (2) dee rees (1) democracy (1) dibs (1) diddy (1) dilla (1) dirty laundry (1) disaster (1) disney (1) dissertation (4) diva (1) don't ask don't tell (1) donell jones (1) drew brees (1) dwele (2) ebony (1) eddie long (1) education (1) election (1) enwhitlement (1) erica jong (1) erykah badu (3) esperanza spaulding (1) espn (2) et. al. (1) etc. (1) facebook (1) faggot (1) family (1) family stand (1) fantasy football (1) federal holidays (1) feminism (1) film (2) football (7) for colored girls (1) forgiveness (2) fox news (1) free agency 2010 (1) freedom (2) gabby sidibe (3) game (1) gang starr (1) gay hip hop (1) gender (1) geraldo rivera (1) ghetto heaven (1) gifts (1) god (1) going green (2) golf (1) grace jones (1) graduate school (1) graduation (2) grandma (1) grant hill (2) grocery shopping (1) guns (1) guru (1) haiti (4) hall of fame (1) halloween (1) harlem (1) harper lee (1) harry reid (1) hateration (1) henry louis gates (1) high school (1) hip hop (3) holding history (1) hood pass (1) hoodies (1) huck finn (2) hurricane katrina (1) immigration (3) instant vintage (2) internet (1) introductions (1) ipad (1) ipod (1) isiah thomas (1) jail (2) jalen rose (2) janelle monae (1) janet jackson (1) jazmine sullivan (1) jennifer hudson (1) john howard griffin (1) john mayer (1) jokes (2) just jokes (1) kanye west (2) kelly dodson (1) kfc (1) kia (1) kim wayans (1) kinky reggae (1) kitty kelley (1) kobe (1) kobe bryant (1) kreayshawn (1) krs-one (1) kwanzaa (1) lamya (1) language (1) late night with jimmy fallon (1) latin america (1) laurence fishburne (1) lauryn hill (6) lebron james (6) lena horne (1) lenny kravitz (1) lesbians of color (1) levar burton (1) lgbt (1) life after death (2) lists (1) little dragon (1) live blogging (1) logan square (1) long live the message (1) lupe fiasco (1) macon d. (1) magic johnson (1) maia campbell (1) making the band (1) man men (1) march madness (1) mariah carey (1) mark twain (1) marriage (1) martin lawrence (1) martin luther the king (3) mary j. blige (1) masculinity (1) mayor (1) me (1) mexicans (1) michael jackson (9) michael jordan (1) michael vick (1) michelle obama (1) Mike Tyson (1) military (1) MLK Day (1) mo'nique (1) mom (1) monday (1) money (3) montana fishburne (1) morality (1) movies (7) muhsinah (1) multiracial (1) muppets (1) music (19) my block (1) my former life (4) my personal issues (14) mystic brew (1) n (1) nannie (5) national coming out day (1) nba (2) negroes (7) new orleans (1) nfl (1) nigger (1) nihilism (2) nike (1) nina simone (1) nobel peace prize (1) not voting (1) occupy wall street (2) octavia spencer (1) oprah winfrey (4) osama bin laden (2) oscar (2) oscar grant (1) painting (1) pariah (1) pat robertson (2) paul beatty (1) paul laurence dunbar (1) paula patton (1) peyton manning (1) phaedra parks (2) phd (1) pictures (1) playboy (1) plays (1) poetry (2) police (2) politics (10) polkadotted stripes (5) pop life (56) porn (1) post cereal (1) post-race (18) post-soul (1) postmodernism (1) precious (5) prop 8 (1) push (1) qpoc (1) queen latifah (4) queer as folk (6) quoteable (1) racialicious (1) racism (14) randomness (1) reading is fundamental (2) repeal (1) resolutions (1) retirement (1) rhoa (1) richard daley (1) Rick James (1) rick perry (1) rihanna (1) robots (1) robyn crawford (1) rolling in the whip (1) rumors (6) run on (1) running (1) sade (1) sammy sosa (1) samples (1) sandra bullock (3) sapphire (1) school (1) sesame street (1) sexuality (9) Shingai Shoniwa (1) shows (1) slang (1) slavery (2) slum village (1) slurs (1) snoop dogg (1) sotomayor (1) soulja boy (1) sports (8) starbucks (1) stuff white people do (1) super bowl (2) survival (1) Teena Marie (1) tell him (1) terence trent d'arby (1) the 70s (1) the 80s (2) the banal. (1) the blind side (1) the civil rights movement (1) the clipse (1) the color purple (1) the cosby show (1) the dougie (1) the everyday (1) the fab five (3) the foreign exchange (1) the golden girls (1) the gregory brothers (1) the help (2) the hunger games (2) the lion king (1) the lovers and friends show (1) the new year (1) the NOISEttes (1) the nutcracker (1) the princess and the frog (1) the puppets (1) the roots (1) the smurfs (1) the view (1) the white boy shuffle (1) this is it (1) tiger woods (4) to kill a mockingbird (1) toure (1) toussaint l'ouverture (1) trader joe's (2) trayvon martin (2) trouble the water (1) troy davis (1) tv (1) twelve (1) twitter (1) tyler perry (5) usc (1) valentine's day (1) viola davis (1) voodoo (1) voting (1) Wayne Brady (1) web series (1) white house correspondents dinner (1) white house press corps (1) white men (1) white people (1) white saviors (1) white women (1) white women rappers (1) whitney houston (4) whoopi goldberg (1) will.i.am (1) william rhoden (1) william wordsworth (1) willow smith (2) wishing well (1) women (1) world cup (1) writing (1) wyclef (1) zo (1)