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Easing the return back

Matt Mooney | Tuesday, January 20, 2004

My buddy list has shrunk. As a second semester junior, this is a common occurrence, as many of my peers have opted to escape the Bend and spend a non-football semester overseas.

While trying to cope with reading fewer away messages as a distraction from work, I realized that these worldly travelers have it pretty tough. Aside from the not-so-rigorous curriculum, the multitude of travel opportunities and newfound alcoholic freedom, abroad students must cope with unfamiliar surroundings and life without the dining hall.

But fear not. There is hope, and I have a plan. To ease the transition away from English and/or heavy accents, I urge the University to adopt a Semester-in-a-Week Program.

This program will place an outgoing student in a host dorm room for the first week of school before they head to wherever. The goal is for the guest student to experience all of the missed on-campus social interaction in one week.

To make the Semester-in-a-Week plan work successfully, the host room should attempt to vary the emotional atmosphere at least by the day, if not more frequently. For example, Monday should be filled with happiness and merriment as everyone basks in the afterglow of a long break. This may prove difficult to replicate, as most people will be busy spending the better part of 10 minutes registering for the semester, but fit in what you can.

The middle of the week remains at the discretion of the host dorm, but make certain to use at least one day for spring break. Travel somewhere exotic, like Reckers for those residents of Mod Quad. Maybe take a cruise on the frothy yet affordable seas of the resurrected Boat Club.

Saturday, or study days on the accelerated timetable, only requires the absence of studying. Alcohol consumption is encouraged, provided, of course, all such actions correspond with Indiana State Law. Just like they always do.

Concluding the week is Surly Sunday. On this day, the simulated exam-induced stress causes everyone to stress and flip out at each other. Shouting matches are encouraged, using blunt projectiles when necessary.

But above all, the guests should feel at home. They should have packages delivered to the room at 10 a.m. on a Saturday morning, when UPS needs a signature from one Matt Mahooney. Distribute the room phone number to everyone they know, so that no one misses a heartfelt goodbye. Then, when they are finally ready to say “bon voyage,” they might just reward the hosts’ hospitality by giving the residents a case of … Strep throat.