Advice for my brother

Jackie Valley

Dear Ben,

As your older sister, I should probably tell you how flattered I am you chose my soon-to-be alma mater to attend for college. Or how glad I am that I now have an excuse to visit Kent State after graduation without seeming like a clingy college student wannabe.

But I’ll stop there. I’ll leave the rest of the heartfelt sister sentiments for Amanda to share. We both know she’s better at that anyway.

Instead, I’ve compiled a list of things you should know before you invade campus June 14. (God help Kent State.)

No. 1: Never ask me for homework help. Just thought I’d get that out of the way. You’re studying to be a doctor. I’m a journalist. I think that says it all. After all, you want to keep your future patients alive, right?

No. 2: Ditch the high school preppy look in Springboro. You’re coming to Kent State, not Miami. I know this may come as a shock, but not all parking lots resemble luxury auto dealers like Springboro High School’s treacherous student lot. Your Saturn will fit in just fine here, and I’m sure you will, too. That’s the beauty of Kent State: People are down to earth. (C’mon — you didn’t really think I’d write a 500-word column without taking at least one small swipe at Springboro, did you?)

No. 3: Don’t complain about your schoolwork. Nobody likes whiners. You’ll be a pre-med student in the NEOUCOM program. Of course, you’ll have tons of work. But so do the other 20,000-some students on campus, many of whom work 20 or 40 hours a week. Get your work done and have fun. It’s not that hard to find a balance.

No. 4: Make a core group of friends. Then add a few outside that circle. College is the one time you’ll live in a town full of people your age. Don’t limit yourself to the same posse. (And while we’re on that subject, please don’t join a fraternity.) I had a blast with my student media friends, but I also know I couldn’t have survived college without my other best friends outside Franklin Hall.

No. 5: Be adventurous if you have the chance. As much as I love Kent and Cleveland, Northeast Ohio is not the center of the universe. We’re young. We should see as much of the world as we can while we’re not tied down. If you’re lucky, maybe you’ll have a free place to stay if I live somewhere cool. And by cool, I mean somewhere warm and tropical.

No. 6: Go to the rec center, if only for the hot tub. I was never ashamed walking into the rec center donning a bathing suit and flip-flops and only carrying a towel. But check the pool and hot tub hours before you depart. That will save you some disappointment, especially if you’re five feet from dipping your toes in the warm water. That happened to me once. Very depressing.

No. 7: Get to know Kent. There’s more to do than meets the eye. It took me three years to discover the nice park down by the river. It’s not the Atlantic Ocean, but it’s a pretty oasis by Ohio standards. And while you’re at it, try to convince someone to open a doughnut shop in Kent. That’s the only thing I think Kent lacks.

There — now you have seven lucky pieces of advice. Above all, have fun and savor your time here.

And read the Stater. You might learn a thing or two.



Jackie Valley is a senior newspaper journalism major and guest columnist for the Daily Kent Stater. Contact her at [email protected].