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First year experience, moments in elevator spark life long lesson

September 20, 2012

Let me begin by saying, “Heck ya,” classes are finally back in session!

The name’s Tyler Smith, also known as ‘smithers,’ guy in the wheelchair that looks like a fat penguin, or my least favorite, ‘speedster.’

I am a new columnist for the Student Voice, who will bring a perspective which is equal parts demented and equal parts unapologetically brash. You will learn, in time, to love it. Throughout a vast majority of the summer I was imprisoned in a small bleak cell, known as my new apartment.

The walls are sterile white and are reminiscent of hospital corridors, but without the pungent odor of ammonium, which hospitals choose to fumigate with.

It is roughly the size of a Wal-Mart bathroom and evokes many of the same odors. In fact, the only difference about my apartment and a Wal-Mart bathroom is that there are no bluecolored employee’s crying in the handicapped stall—except me.

Living in such a place feels strange. I miss home. About a month into my stay I started hearing loud noises which sounded like kettle drums, coming from the apartment directly above me—at 2 o’clock in the morning.

Being of a somewhat “innocent” nature, I could only assume a band had a gig above me… if only I had went up there with my guitar. Needless to say, it was not a band concert but instead a performance of another kind. Moving on.

This past week I have spent much of my free time reflecting upon my experiences as a college freshman; and let me tell you, I had some memorable moments—not all of them shining.

I write these words as “advice” for all incoming freshmen: beware of what you say. Anything and everything in the life of academia will follow you, one way or another. Here is my own personal experience:

It was the first day of freshman classes—and I was unprepared. I had an eccentric middle-eastern professor, who was also my advisor, who absolutely loved Bond, James Bond.

Everyday, I would get into the elevator alone, and go to this man’s class on the third floor and scribble down a collection of thought, then go home to bed.

However, this habit changed after a week. Upon the advice of one of the other professors in the history department I began watching nightly news.

If you’re anything like me, the news is as enjoyable as a Komodo dragon gnawing at your leg. It was an enlightening experience nonetheless… no it wasn’t.

Halfway into my fourth week, there was a girl from my third floor history class that broke her ankle—and at the time I was absolutely delighted that she had, because she was bright, funny, sexy, and intelligent—vastly different from myself.

Around beautiful women, which is all women for me, I find words are hard to come by. The most I could ever manage was a quick passing “hello.”

My hello’s are not the sort of hellos that are enticing and intriguing—but instead the monotone hello one hears with the answering machine, “Hello. The person you are trying to reach is not home right now. Please hang-up, we have no idea how to use this new technology.”

With this girl, in particular, I was having extreme difficulties in having a legitimate conversation. I was asphyxiated. I couldn’t banter with her.

What I did next is not my proudest moment — I headed the advice of the nightly news suggestion and watched it regularly. The next morning I entered the elevator with this girl, not having anything to talk about.

Under the principle of anxiety but more like stupidity, I proceeded to utter the words, “Hey, did you hear about the girl that was murdered in the elevator shaft in Denver?” I had heard it on the news.

Her response was to keep quiet and never use the elevator again. In fact, I believe she dropped the class altogether. Let this be a lesson to everyone — beware the words you speak, they have impact.

Until next time my friends…

Tyler Smith is a student at UW-River Falls.