Matthew Hoy

Practical advice for Cal Poly students: Don’t be stupid

These photos show the scene before and after a roof collapsed Saturday, March 7, 2016, on Hathway Street near Cal Poly in San Luis Obispo.
These photos show the scene before and after a roof collapsed Saturday, March 7, 2016, on Hathway Street near Cal Poly in San Luis Obispo.

In the fall of 1993, I wrote an op-ed in the then-Mustang Daily welcoming students back to Cal Poly for another year and giving practical advice to freshmen navigating their first college experience.

With more than 20 additional years of life experience, I’ve got better, more useful, advice for you than what meals should be avoided at the Campus Dining Room, aka The Stalls.

Here it is: Don’t be stupid.

It may sound trite or, perhaps, unnecessary. After all, many of you were at, or near, the top of your high school class. You’re going to school at U.S. News & World Report’s “Best in the West” school for the 24th straight year. Cal Poly wasn’t your safety school. You’re not idiots.

Well, most of you aren’t.

But you’re also in your late teens or early 20s, and for most of you, your life experience and judgment is still sorely lacking.

You can have a great college experience without using illegal drugs, excessive amounts of alcohol or committing large-scale mayhem. You don’t need to get on a garage roof at 6 a.m. with your beer. Garage roofs are designed to keep rain out, not carry your weight and that of 50 of your closest friends.

National Lampoon’s “Animal House” was not a how-to guide.

Ladies, the vast majority of the young men you’ll meet at Cal Poly are solid, upstanding guys. As is the case in the larger world, some of them are not. Learn to tell the difference.

Gentlemen, the vast majority of young women at Cal Poly are smart, caring and thoughtful. As is the case in the larger world, some of them are not. Learn to tell the difference.

You’ll learn a lot at Cal Poly, and not just in the classroom.

You’ll make memories that will last the rest of your life.

Just don’t be stupid.

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For those of you seeking more specific advice, I offer this: For many of you, there are some music classes that will fulfill some of your general education requirements.

Take whatever class Craig Russell is teaching. You’ll thank me for it later.

Conservative columnist Matthew Hoy is a former reporter, editor and page designer. His column appears in The Tribune every other Sunday, in rotation with liberal columnist Tom Fulks. Read Hoy’s blog at Hoystory.com. Follow him on Twitter @Hoystory.

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