Here at the University, students play a number of different roles. There are the partiers, the studiers and the slackers. While it’s been my experience that many people fall securely into one of the aforementioned stereotypes, it’s more common for these subsections to overlap. This doesn’t mean that other groups don’t exist — these just seem to be the most obvious when you compare the different students here.

I may only be one year older than you youngins, but I have learned a lot during my time here. The sooner you realize the inherent wisdom of my advice, the sooner you’ll find your way, grasshoppers. You don’t want to simply fall into one of these groups out of a perceived necessity, no matter how appealing it may seem. You have an unbelievable opportunity to invent yourself, and ruining it by taking the easy way out and becoming a breathing cliché would be such a waste. And for all of you who have seen “Mean Girls” I’m sure you know all about these cliches.

The University of Michigan may not be as hardcore as Michigan State University when it comes to majoring in alcohol. But you have to admit, for one of the top universities in the country, we really know how to throw a shindig. From fraternities to block parties, ranging from beer and jungle juice to foam dance floors, there’s never a weekend during which some group of people isn’t getting drunk and making mistakes that they’ll regret the next day. The people who live in this world of perpetual intoxication thrive on having fun and writing seven-page papers while hungover on Sunday afternoon.

This isn’t to say that this group doesn’t do well in their classes. As a matter of fact, I know several people who party almost every night and still put a majority of their classmates’ GPAs to shame. What it comes down to is skill. Can you be out all night, get very little sleep and still be able to force yourself to read about the sociological ramifications of laughing at a sexist joke? For most people I’ve seen, the answer is “no.” But for those select few who can, I congratulate you. For those of you who have already skipped most of your classes because you were just too tired from last night, maybe it’s time for a change. Add some balance to your life.

This brings me to the partiers’ natural opposites, the studiers. These students — those who came to the University for the academics instead of the football legacy — do all of their homework. This is regardless of the fact that they have three 40-page articles — ones they will never be tested on — to read before their next poli-sci lecture. Weekends are devoted to the UGLi, and the closest thing they’ll get to receiving an MIP is getting stopped by a Department of Public Safety officer to make sure that their water bottles aren’t really vodka.

After reading this description, words like “over-achiever” or “nerd” might come to mind. It seems that these students have no life outside of class, and it’s true some students study more than others — sometimes more than necessary — but I don’t see how this is always a bad thing. We came to the University to make something out of ourselves and actually get a degree. Balancing studying and fun should be one of our main priorities. My advice for all you bookworms out there is to take a study break with friends, get some pizza and watch a cartoon Macaulay Culkin fight his way out of his library in “The Pagemaster.”

Then there are of course the slackers. What can I say about this group? They range from watching episodes of “The Office” all day to smoking pot in the cemetery at night. They got into the University on near-perfect test scores, never go to class and still ace every exam in Math 116. This group is fairly self-explanatory and the most self-fulfilling. But if you think you can coast through four years here and come out with a GPA higher than the legal blood alcohol level, you’re sadly mistaken. Like the other groups, slackers need to balance out their lives with more wholesome fun and decent hours of studying.

For all you freshmen out there trying to find a niche, take this simple advice. No matter who you think you are, remember that balance and variety are the keys to a successful run in college. Mix it up — party Friday night, have a “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” marathon on Saturday and study on Sunday. It’s never good to fall into only one category. No one wants to be a walking stereotype.

Matthew Shutler is an assistant editorial page editor.

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