What advice can I pass on to you, young freshman, as your feet slap the cobblestones of Lewis and Clark for the first time? Perhaps an experience of my first week at LC will serve as wisdom and a metaphor for you.

Late one night I was wobbling drunk about campus, disoriented and lost, when I felt a welling inside of me, a firm pressure just bellow my belly. I was bursting at the seams; I had to pee, soon. In desperation I ventured down a forest path—LC campus is cut by a wooded ravine—in order to relieve myself, and being brand spanking new and still timid I stepped off the path searching for a private tree.

I stepped into the brush and quickly tripped tangling myself in the thorny roots of thick ivy, which came alive wrapping around my legs, attacking me as I panicked. I fought and wriggled away from the thorny beast, covered in scratches and missing my left shoe.

Swearing the brush and sandal off forever, I hobbled back to my dorm room to describe the ordeal to my dorm-mates. Several weeks later it was my birthday, and I was given a gift-wrapped box containing my lost sandal. My friends had beaten the monster that had bettered me, capturing my sandal as bounty.

This story is symbolic of your own journey. You are like I was, drunk on your own youth, lost on this campus of life. The waste product of your 18 odd years of life is swirling about in your stomach, brimming against you. You must piss! So pick a path, freshman, move toward self-discovery. Perhaps it will be the heady path of the hippie, full of free-trading organically grown sustainability, with hallucinations and dreadlocked hummus. Then again, the hipster life seems to be popular these days at LC, with thrift-store ensembles of melancholy lyrics and rolled cigarettes. There are plenty of paths to choose from: the academic, pedal pusher, jock, hiphop head, heady hiphopper, heady jock, pedal jock, academic heady, ninja (yes, we have ninjas), medieval warrior (yep, those too), conservative Republican (okay, we don't have those, but you could be the first!), etc.

My point is, you will feel drawn to a path, and then quickly trip and fall, finding yourself roped in the war of college life. You will lose your shoe (that is to say, your mind). Don't worry though! Your brain will be gift wrapped and returned in some fashion, whether by a sympathetic ear (the advantages of attending a small school with just 2,000 students is that professors often can stand in as therapists), or spiritual counseling by Tetevan, the 6-foot-7 Jewish spiritualist who has been known to frequent campus and freestyle for organic food. Or maybe you'll find your inspiration in our statue of Sacagawea (the original Lewis and Clark trail guide). In short, you are about to go insane, but relax, enjoy, you will come back to reality. Perhaps scratched and scored, but changed for the better, independent and steady stepped.

Philosophically cordial,

Kevin Christopher Stark