Blog Column: 

We’ll, we’re back! To those returning, I’m glad to be seeing familiar faces all about and catching up with you. To those just joining us, welcome to UMass!

I hope that you’re enjoying the warmth and getting ready for the cold. Summer ends quick and, in the Stark words, Winter is Coming.

Forget about that though! You’re at college! You’ve spent the first week acquainting (or reacquainting) yourselves with the campus, discovering your new teachers and classmates, and perhaps partaking in the debauchery and general fun that strikes at the beginning of every semester.

At the risk of annoying those who frequent this blog, “Love, The Old Man” is based largely on letters that my father and I exchange. He’s “The Old Man” and I’m his audience, pupil, and, in this case, voice. Or ventriloquist’s puppet. Take your pick.

This blog is for spreading his pearls of wisdom as much as promoting the honors college. It’s just a bonus if I embarrass him and myself when we say something horrifically stupid. Right now though, I’m going to plagiarize something that he sent me soon after I moved in which I think that you could all appreciate:

“You are to be congratulated upon having once again made good your escape into Uni-World. It's better there. One can't stay forever. Not even those who make academe their career and simply move from one side of the front desk to the other are really continuing to live the life you have now. So soak it up. Future years will bring you bigger accomplishments, bigger challenges, bigger rewards and so forth. It worked that way for me. But for myself, I have never forgotten what were in many ways the best years of my life. Some of my classmates managed somehow to miss the experience altogether, thanks to distractions of one kind and another.”

Depressing as some of that sounds, he’s really got it. No matter what we do, once we graduate, we can’t come back. Physically we can, yes, but we will never again be the same starry-eyed students surrounded by our crazy and fun peers. It’s frighteningly easy to miss too.

Something that I learned Freshman year is that it’s easy to get distracted by academics and extracurriculars alike. For me, and many others, it is just as simple to spend all of your time studying and working, rather than going out and living, just as it’s easy to spend all of your time partying and then nursing hangovers like a buffoon. Even though you’re putting in effort, you’re getting caught in the flow and the current is taking you away.

In short, balance your study time and exploration. You can’t reach great heights by only goofing off, but you can’t enjoy college without going out and meeting people and making friends. Take advantage of everything that college has to offer. You’re here to learn above all else, but you are also here to grow as a person. Once you’re done studying for the week, step outside, take a second to stretch, and then spread your wings. If there is anywhere to do that, it’s here.

Song of the Week (Yes, I do a song of the week): Never Close Our Eyes by Adam Lambert

It’s kind of a slow music video, but the lyrics are fitting for the message I’m trying to put across here. Hopefully you enjoy it! Have a great week!

P.S. The photo is from the UMass Oxford Summer Seminar. You should definitely apply for some summer credits and the time of your life!

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