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Your actions are your own

September 10th, 2009

With the first week of classes comes many things: schedule changes, parking mayhem, the constant repetition of the phrase, “how was your summer,” and of course … the freshmen.

It never fails to amaze me how much the incoming JCU classes stick out each year, like red socks in a basket full of white laundry.

Friday I was walking through the English department and coming toward me was a pack of freshmen, looking as though they were desperately trying to make sure that everyone saw that they had friends. FYI, no one cares how many friends you have.

And as if they weren’t obvious enough, two of them were wearing pajamas. Now, I’m all about comfort. You’ll often see me in worn-out jeans and T-shirts. But, PJs are just a bit too lax.

Allow me to give you some advice that may make the next four years easier for you. You’ve chosen to go to a Jesuit College … act like it! You are paying good money to attend a prestigious school, so have respect for it.

The professors that I’ve had the pleasure of taking courses with at John Carroll have done amazing things in the professional world. Do you think that they want to stare at some kid in their flannel PJ pants?

Not only are you showing a lack of respect for your educators, but you’re showing a lack of respect for yourself. You are in college now, your mommy isn’t here to dress you (though I wish she was, for your sake).

Now, I’m honestly not trying to pick on you. On the contrary – I’m trying to make your lives easier. Trust me, you’ll get a lot further in life if you take a little pride in your appearance.

The other thing that really got to me this week, happened just outside O’Malley. A student, who I can only assume was a freshman based on his lack of tact, was on his cell phone having what was clearly a private conversation.

The young man’s voice was noticeably elevated and he was swinging his arms emphatically as he said, “This is a little more important than coffee, Dad! I don’t know if you know that or not.”

I was standing at least 30 feet away from him, and yet I could still hear every word that was said. There’s a proper time and place to have private conversations. And, in between afternoon classes, in front of O’Malley Center, isn’t it. You’re in college now. For the first time, you don’t have your parents around to make your decisions for you.

With this newfound freedom comes responsibility. There’s no one to blame if you make an ass of yourself. Your actions are your own. 

So, make sure that the person you’re molding yourself to be is someone that you’re proud of.

College, among many other things, is an opportunity to start fresh; to leave behind all of those high school embarrassments. Do you want to be the guy or girl who doesn’t care about his or her appearance and screams at their parents on the phone in public?

Freshmen, I’d encourage you to ask yourselves the following questions when you are about to do something you are unsure of. First, what does this say about the person that you want to be? Second, is this something that you want other people to remember you for?