Semester sign-off

Matt Flocco

In his final installment of “The Freshmen Fifteen,” Matt Flocco offers some final thoughts for the end of the semester.

Due to the 12 hours of sleep I’ve had during the past four days, my jokes will be rustier than the hinge to the cabinet door where I keep my textbooks.

To the best of my ability, I hope I have now equipped you freshies with enough tools to head into the fray that is Spring 2012.

Bah, who am I kidding? I am living proof that sometimes we just don’t learn, or it takes a while and multiple failings to finally say, “enough.”

I gave you some tips for pulling an all-nighter. Guess what? They will happen. No matter how hard you try, all-nighters will happen. You just have to roll with the punches.

I told you not to get caught up in worrying about hook ups and relationships. That will never stop. Just try not to obsess too much.

I told you to keep the door open. This is still the best advice I can give to freshmen, and the one I am happy to say I have always done. Always, always, always keep your doors, eyes, ears, heart and mind open. But please, for the love of God, keep your mouth closed when you are rolling squad deep to a frat party. It annoys me, the neighbors and the upperclassmen. If you do it, I will find you. And I will smack you. Then I will hug you and pat you on the head and tell you to be a good little boy or girl.

So why would I give advice that I cannot take? Or at least take a while to grasp? Because I still think you should do it. And maybe you will be better than I am at taking it. In his song from the ‘90s called “Wear Sunscreen,” Baz Luhrman tells us that “advice is a form of nostalgia, dispensing it is a way of fishing the past from the disposal, wiping it off, painting over the ugly parts and recycling it for more than it’s worth.”

Speaking of nostalgia, I would like to offer you my last three pieces of advice. I cheated a bit, only providing you with 12 during the course of the semester and I want to leave you feeling whole.

The first is to take pictures. My favorite distraction is looking through old pictures from high school and college. It will help give you a sense of time, and remind you throughout your struggles that life in college is so much more about the connections and friendships you make than classes. Wish I could tell my tuition that.

The second is to be kind. Kind to yourself, to your friends who will be your colleagues, to your professors, to strangers and the people who ask you for change, to your North Philly neighbors, kind to your mom when she calls you on the phone, to that kid from class that bothers the heck out of you. Kindness will get you so far in life.

The final advice I give is to find the balance between “living for the moment” and concerning yourself with the future. There is this mentality of living in the now, or living no day but today that our generation composes. This is great, but do not get obsessed with it. Do not get so caught up and worried about living for the moment that it takes you over. Then you did not really live in it at all.

Know that these years are awesome, but that the future will come inevitably. Don’t be scared of it. Just embrace it and love the time you have had here.

Matthew Flocco can be reached at

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