As my Michigan career quickly comes to a close, there are several things that I’ve been told to do before leaving the University. I’ve been meaning to do these, over the past year, but there isn’t much time between drinking, schoolwork and drinking. Now, with only a few weeks left in the semester, it is time to cram in traditions.

Charles Paradis

There are countless college traditions, but I’ve chosen ones that are most important to me and those that I think every student should participate in before leaving Ann Arbor.

Find a job

This is a college tradition I’ve heard of, but I’m not sure if it is an urban legend. After college, you are supposed to take your degree and go out in the real world and get a job. At least, that’s how the story goes. Maybe years from now this will again be the way of life for graduates.

Until then, many people like myself have elected for graduate school. It’s a kind of reverse-purgatory where you go before eventually entering Hell. At least, that’s what I’ve been told. In my mind, the longer I stay in school the better. Studying more is worth delaying the inevitable. My hope is that graduate school is like undergrad, except with less keg beer and more wine.

Have sex in the stacks

I think that I blew my only chance at this a long time ago, but I’m still holding out hope. For those of you that are still planning on a Grad Library rendezvous, I suggest that you wait until exams are over. While as far as I can tell (by smell), the books in the stacks haven’t moved in years, many students will be milling around, studying for exams and what not.

I would suggest that you wait until the summer, when the only people in the Grad are those who work at the front desk downstairs. It’s not as big of an accomplishment, but you won’t have to worry about being walked in on. It should be enough to satisfy the exhibitionist in you.

For a little extra privacy, try one of the private study rooms upstairs. Be careful though: the rooms have an open top that amplifies any noises that come from inside.

Paint the Rock

Painting the Rock is one of those traditions that you hear about at orientation, say to yourself you want to do that some time, and then forget about it. At least, that’s how it was for me. So sadly, I have yet to paint the Rock. In the next two weeks, I need to find a cause compelling enough that would motivate me to paint the Rock.

I don’t think the Rock is the right place for a message about affirmative action or the conflict in Iraq. I could raise awareness about severe acute respiratory syndrome, or SARS, but I don’t think that anyone would come near the Rock after that. Maybe the best thing would be to paint it like a giant Easter egg. Instead of the traditional method of using various pastel paints, I would like to color the Rock like I did when I was kid – with food coloring and vinegar. I’m pretty sure this would get into the Guinness Book of World Records for Largest Classic Egg Coloring. Plus, the aroma would probably extend from fraternity row to the Hill.

Run the Naked Mile

I’m not running anywhere any time soon, so I was thinking about crutching the Naked Mile. I would be easier to fight through police barricades with two big batons of my own or I could pole vault over them. But since I’m exhausted after moving about five yards, I will have to settle for the Naked Run-from-the-bed-to-the-bathroom.

Part of me wants to do a Naked Wheelchair, but it seems like kind of a cop-out. Plus, the Weather Channel is predicting significant shrinkage on the day of big race – which isn’t good for business.

So, if I can accomplish these four tasks, I will feel like I really did something with my final college days, instead of squandering them like so many weeks gone by. I suggest that you do the same.

– Jeff Phillips can be reached at jpphilli@umich.edu.

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