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Volume 68, Issue 1, Monday, August 26, 2002


Having a social life is as important as studying

Matthew Caster
Opinion Columnists

The time has finally arrived. Like a man impregnated by the insatiable desire to graduate, I have only nine months left before I am finally out on
my own.

A year ago in the registration issue I wrote about things students new to this fine campus needed be familiar with, as far as what goes on
around here.

Anyone new on campus this semester should go back and read that article (Opinion, Aug. 22, 2001), as absolutely nothing has changed.

This time, I decided that, as a senior in my final two semesters, I would enumerate the many things that I have learned during my
more-than-three years of being a student here. After all, some will be too busy studying to realize that occasional haphazard partying is an
important part of college. Others may spend too much time partying and forget that six, seven or eight years from now, they might have to
graduate with an actual degree and get a real job.

During my three years on campus, I have learned that karma is a very real thing. During my freshman year, the UH Football Team went 7-4 and
barely missed a bowl game. I went around bragging to all my college buddies around the country that next year would be the one: a National
Championship for UH. We've won three games since. 

I've learned that once you get used to open-book tests, it's really, really hard to deal with closed-book tests. Multiple choice tests, for some
reason, do not have the appeal they once did. And, for crying out loud, even when the professor says he's wrong, he's still right. And don't you
forget it.

Another thing each of you might want to take to heart is that college is not just a time to get an education, but also a time to gain experience.
Remember, after you graduate and mommy and daddy cut you out of the loop, you're going to have to get a job that pays actual money. Part-time
work will not cut it anymore. In order to get that job, you'll probably need a résumé. Imagine your horror when you sit down to write one out and
notice you have a startling lack of experience with activities or jobs which do not also involve drinking cold beer on various lawns.

College is about building friendships and relationships that can last a lifetime. On normal campuses, that is. UH is not a friendly campus, so
any friends you make on campus during your stay here will probably be people you went with to high school. 

But hope is not lost, people; trust me: get out there and actually try to make friends. One of my greatest regrets in three years is that I did not take
the opportunity to acquaint myself with my classmates especially that really hot chick in freshman chemistry.

These years, arguably the best of your life, are also a time for establishing principles and morals for yourself that you will have to live with and
live by for the rest of your life. Perhaps the goofiest country-western song ever written indicates that if you don't stand for something, you'll fall for

Now is definitely the time for you to start thinking about what you believe in, why you believe in it and what other alternatives might be. No longer
should you allow the political or religious doctrines your parents spoon-fed you for years core your belief system. 

Question everything, and devote yourself to finding a real answer. If you're having any trouble figuring out what to believe, I offer assistance with
every column I write (because everyone is entitled to my opinion).

So, whether we are friends or enemies, whether you've read my columns before or not, take my advice, get out there and enjoy college life. Study
hard, work hard, but don't neglect to take some time off to smell the proverbial roses. Make some new friends, go to a Cougar game every now
and then, and don't forget to have a little fun while you're here. Regret nothing when you leave this place, because this truly is the prime of your
life, and you might not get a second chance.

Matthew E. Caster, a senior petroleum 
engineering major, can be reached at

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