Michael L. Whitney
First of all, let me welcome back all the returning students, I am glad to see that all the hard work paid off. Second, let me welcome all new freshmen to Camp Alfred! It is an exciting time in your life, with new surroundings, new friends, and most of all, the start of a new life. As a returning student with several years of trial and error here at Alfred, let me give you a few observations and thoughts to help you in your first semester here at Camp Alfred.
Second, let me talk about the transportation around campus. Forget the new air conditioned bus that transported you and your parents around the campus at orientation. You will never see it again! That is, until your parents come back for parents’ weekend. Instead you will be treated in style, traveling in a bus acquired at the Partridge family auction, or maybe through the NYS prison system. But, it will be on time, every time, rain or snow, (and trust me we get lots of snow here) to safely get you to your next class.
Third, is the food, although the food here at Camp Alfred is acceptable, it is in no way comparable to the food served to you at orientation. If you had the pizza, remember it well, for it is the only time you will see it without being burned on the bottom again. This is not to say that all the food here on campus is bad. It starts out good but soon turns to the same old same old food. And the quality will never be as good as when your parents were here. But fear not, the food quality and amount will no doubt catch up to some of you in the way of the freshman #15. Don’t panic, the Gym at the Orvis is well equipped to help you drop those few extra pounds.
Fourth, is your roommate. Your roommate will become either your best friend or your worst enemy! Yes, I know that they told you that this experience is good for you. What they didn’t tell you is that you will be paired with someone that:
1) Parties all night, coming home at 3am banging things around like a bear at a garbage can.
2) Has “guests” over for the night expecting you to fend for yourself,
3) She /he is: insert answer here __________ (neat freak, slob, other).
4) Your roommate cares not about your study time, only their own. This is not to say that each and every one of you will have this experience; some of you lucky ones will meet someone that will be a life-long friend.
Now for the good news, you will meet people from every walk of life. For those of you from small towns, remember, there are people who think differently than you, are a different color than you and believe in a different god than you! This is OK. Embrace your time here and get to know these people. There are several different organizations on campus to choose from, joining one of these clubs is a great way to meet people like you, and you just might learn a thing or two in the process. Diversity is a big lesson that each and every one of you can take notes on.
For many of you, this is the first time away from home and the caring wings of your parents. It can be scary, empowering, enlightening or any combination of these and many more emotions. Remember that you are at a crossroads to a new life. Choose your path wisely. What you do today WILL follow you long past tomorrow and into the future. The world is yours for the taking; take it carefully and treat it with respect and it will do the same for you.
Also, remember the main reason you are here at Camp Alfred, to receive an education. If you embrace that one simple fact, all the other things will fall into place. Camp Alfred employs some of the best faculty and staff you will find anywhere. They were carefully chosen to provide you with the best education available. Many have worked in the fields that they teach for years, and have decided, (some at considerably less pay) to share with you the information that they gained from years of work experience. Seek out your professors; get to know them, they can be a valuable asset and friend in times of need. Treat them with respect, and they will do the same for you.
This is your future, work hard, do your homework and remember that you get out of this experience what you put into it. We here, who have been through the same process, welcome you all!! Ask us questions, tell us your fears, chances are we have been there and can point you in the right direction. And most of all, Have fun!