A note to frosh: NU’s free not to wear sunscreen

Lindsay Cohen

Ladies and gentleman of the incoming class of 2004:

Do not wear sunscreen.

If I could offer you one tip for your future at Northwestern, wearing sunscreen would not be it. The long-term benefits of sunscreen are severely overrated. On the rare beautiful spring days Chicago gives us, skip class (and the sunscreen) and opt for the Lakefill’s superb sunshine.

Enjoy the beauty and spirit of your youth. Four years is a much shorter time than you imagine. Live each day as if it were your only one here.

Endeavor to delve into courses beyond your major. Being premed doesn’t mean you can’t take theater or art courses. Sometimes the most enriching experiences are those you will find in places and classes you least expect.

Strive for diversity on campus. Pose questions and raise awareness about important issues at NU. Understand that obstacles will surface and that you will no doubt hit some speed bumps during your valiant marches down Sheridan Road. But also know that overcoming such barriers will only make you stronger.

Skip. And skip class. Realize that a true “college experience” means more than simply what is taught in Harris or Fisk, and that you are only 20 years old for a short amount of time. The days of partying ’till the sun rises and sleeping ’till it sets will be over before you learn to appreciate them. Take advantage while you can.

Road trip.

See an on-campus play. See an off-campus play. Chicago’s museums and theaters provide some of the finest entertainment in the world. Use a portion of your 45 months at NU to confirm or refute this.

Spend one Dillo Day severely intoxicated. Spend another Dillo Day severely unintoxicated, laughing at everyone else.

Venture to The Keg on a Monday night. The beer is cheap, the drinks are tasty and the atmosphere top-notch. Well, maybe just the beer is cheap. But The Keg is NU nightlife at its finest and thus worth experiencing — at least once.

Realize that friends will float in and out of your college life, but that you should cling to a cherished few.

Paint The Rock.

Play a prank, but don’t steal an expensive cow. Try something else a bit more, well, mooving.

Date. Date often enough to know who and what is out there, and that you have not left college without having tasted the excitement of a crush or the anguish that comes with rejection.

Start a new NU tradition. This campus could use a “Naked Mile” or “Spring Fling” in addition to our legacy of Dillo. Start your own bizarre ritual.

Explore. Take part in extracurricular activities you would never have dreamed about participating in while in high school. Become the ex-engineer-turned-bibliophile who produces her own film.

Chase ideas and transform them into reality. You never know where such paths may guide you. You may just find the old major doesn’t “fit” or that you just don’t “fit” the old major anymore. You’ll find your niche only if you pursue new things.

Dance. Dance in the first snowfall of winter. Dance in the warmth of the spring. Realize that Chicago weather patterns may also give you sunshine in the winter and snow in the spring. Dance anyway.

Graduate. Do it in style. And when you look back, know that you spent your years at NU in the same way.