Say what you will about geese, but they can’t be that dumb. Thousands of geese have reached the conclusion that it is preferable to go south for the winter than, say, to Rochester.

Not so with freshmen. Not to be mean, for I was once one of them – although I say that much like a parent says “I was a teenager once”- but there are some fundamental aspects of college life which freshmen have yet to pick up on.

So, as a service to the class of 2008, I would like to provide them with some useful information that will make this coming year infinitely more tolerable, and for some, even borderline pleasurable.

First and foremost, please remove the lanyards from around your necks. If you look at the sophomores through the seniors, you will notice that none of us have our ID cards on prominent display. It simply looks ridiculous.

Don’t worry, the fix is simple, and you can even pretend you never did it in the first place. As an added bonus, you’ll get to laugh at next year’s freshman class, who no doubt will abandon all sense of style for the first month of school as well.

You also need to learn how to manage your diet. The key here is diversity.

We’re all aware that in total, there are about five edible meals on campus, so you’re going to have to rotate through them. If you try to just eat the same thing every day, you’ll get sick of it quite quickly, and then you’ll be down to four possible choices.

As for ordering the food, you need to be aware that it is not a “chicken sandwich” but a “chicken finger sub.” When ordering, you will be asked if you’d like “cheese and bacon” – you do – and then “What’s on your bread?” I recommend lettuce and tomato, but it’s up to you.

Most importantly, have your order ready when you are called upon. Set a default in advance, so if you run out of time, you don’t stammer and incur the wrath of the Pit staff.

Another key to surviving in Rochester is to either own a car yourself, or find someone who has a car.

It is OK if you don’t particularly like this person, because being able to get off campus at will far outweigh having to hang out with annoying people.

Sites you’ll want to be familiar with are Super Wegmans, Marketplace Mall, Jay’s Diner, Krispy Kreme and the Car Wash on East Henrietta, because nothing relieves stress like a good wash and wax.

Now I’m aware that most of you aren’t of drinking age yet, but you’re going to want to practice for when you are of age. Again, befriend a dork who is legal, and use Friday and Saturday nights to study all the beers of the world.

Don’t forget: nothing warms you in winter like a cold beer.

In addition to drinking, I recommend socializing by joining a club or two, or possibly trying out for a sports team.

There are lots of good intramural teams if you’re not a pro athlete, and a wide variety of clubs for almost any interest.

You’re really not taking full advantage of the absurd amount of money your parents spend to send you here if you’re not in at least one club.

Oh, and one more thing before I forget. You should probably do your homework.

I realize it’s not for everyone, but they don’t let you stay here if you don’t do it.

Other than that, there’s not much else I can say that will help you. There will be rough spots and tricky situations you’ll have to navigate through on your own. You’ll have your ups and your downs, good times and bad.

If things don’t work out like you had been planning, don’t worry. Ninety-five percent of what you learn here isn’t in any textbook.

Voigt can be reached at

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