The other day I FaceTimed with my friend as she packed up her dorm room at the University of Michigan. I could barely get a word in as she went on and on about everything she was going to miss and all the things she never had time to do. I nodded as I scrolled through Instagram, only half listening to my friend’s sob story.
That’s when it hit me.
“Wait, Sami. Is there anything you wish you had time to do during your freshman year?”
There I was, sitting on my bed at school, where I would be for over another month. I could use my friend’s ending to my benefit.
With a plan in mind, I had my friends, all who are ending school in the next week or so, compile a list of things they wish they had done their freshman year.
We all complain about the quarter system a lot. We are bored in September, we have “FOMO” in May and June when we see our home friends reuniting and we dread that extra set of finals. But I believe there are some hidden gems in the quarter system that make it worth it.
In September as I lay in bed scrolling through new college Facebook albums wishing I could make my own, my phone would not stop ringing. My friends, who knew I was bored and readily available to take their calls, seemed to all put me on their speed dials and were not shy to call when they needed advice. Since I had nothing better to do, I took these calls constantly. I became the Oprah of new college students, helping my friends through their early college dilemmas. That is how, when September 15 finally arrived, I was prepared to take on Wildcat Welcome. Through my council I learned many valuable lessons about what to do and what certainly not to do as a new college student.
I took advantage of the late start, gathering information from my more seasoned friends to prepare for when I finally arrived on campus.
There were the obvious ones, like “don’t get too drunk at your first frat parties” and “make a set of rules with your roommate.” But there was also the less obvious like “collect as much free stuff during orientation as you can.” I used my friend’s screw-ups to my advantage to perfect the beginning of my freshman experience.
And now, as my friends leave school, I am able to take advantage of the quarter system on the opposite end.
With so much time left, I have made it my duty to fulfill the things that my friends didn’t have the time to do. I have compiled a list of things they mentioned to me. Surprisingly, the items on the list are really basic, with the most common desire being simply to spend more time with friends.
Many of our friends, who are now sitting back home in their rooms would do anything to be back on their campuses, even if it means lectures all day and midterms to study for. While there are definite downsides to the quarter system and while in mid-May we may wish to go home, even for the day, we should feel lucky that we are still on campus, enjoying the new warmth and sun, fulfilling what our friends wish they could do.
So, this weekend I will go to a guest lecturer, I will see a student performance and get a dinner with all my close friends. I will do all of these things for my friends at home who cannot.