The night before I left to go to college freshman year, a very wise family friend told me three things:

1) Never eat at a place called Mom’s.

2) Never play cards with a guy named Doc.

3) Never trust anyone who says “trust me.”

Well, it has been four years, and I have never eaten at a place called Mom’s, but I have gotten food poisoning numerous times. I think we all know where I ate. I have never played cards with a guy named Doc, but I lose money every time I play. There is a reason I do not play strip poker. I never trust anyone who says trust me, but I have gotten burned plenty. More often than not, I am the one saying trust me.

Those were great pieces of advice, but, obviously, they did not really save me from much. I think the University of Rochester requires special advice. If I could go back in time four years and change that message on my answering machine, it would go a little more like this.

Lesson #1

Invest heavily in a winter wardrobe, and do not skimp out on the jacket. Winter in Rochester lasts for seven months, so a good winter jacket is worth twice its weight in gold. I should know, my mom felt the need to buy me a new jacket every year.

Lesson #2

Moderation is the key – to everything! Not only is it good to practice moderation when you are consuming beverages, but moderation is also applicable to things like homework and significant others. It is never a good idea to spend too much of your time on one thing; you will miss out on everything else. Just think, if I had spent any more time doing homework, I would have missed all the parties and all the social capital.

Lesson #2 1/2

Learn to love Robert Putnam. I have been inundated with information about social capital. No fail, every semester I read Bowling Alone. The book is good the first time, maybe even the second, but by the seventh time, it gets a little redundant.

Lesson #3

Do not always follow the rules. I think this one pretty much speaks for itself. You can get pretty far in life by always doing what you are told, but you need to bend the rules sometimes. We are not allowed to steal trays from the Pit and slide down the Danforth hill. We are not allowed to have as much fun on D-day as we do. We are not allowed to have over double occupancy in dorm rooms. Granted, if I always followed the rules, I would probably remember more of my college experience, but I would be remembering something a lot less interesting.

Lesson #4

Listen to Dean Burgett. The man knows what he is talking about. This school is a fiery furnace, and sometimes you are just going to want to jump out. Sometimes things are going to be tough, but it is important to follow through. Get back in that fiery furnace!

Lesson #5

Above all else, have fun. College is basically an overpriced daycare – the last daycare most of us will ever attend. It is important to make the most of it. While in the end I do not expect to say these were the best four years of my life, right now they definitely are.

At the risk of being too sentimental, this quote comes to mind: “I never knew that looking back on the times I cried would make me laugh and looking back on the times I laughed would make me cry.”

I am going to miss UR. I came here four years ago because everyone was friendly, the campus was beautiful, the classes were great, and the weather was nice. After four years, I will still miss the people, the campus, and the classes. Heck, I will even miss the weather. Trust me.

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