By Errol Castens/NEMS Daily Journal
OXFORD – Every year thousands of you freshmen, transfers and new graduate students at the University of Mississippi delight us locals with your presence.
Many of you are here already, moving into dorms, apartments and houses, running the price of Walmart stock up.
As much as y’all bring to our community in the way of energy, enthusiasm and excitement, we’ll admit we’ve gotten accustomed during summer school – and especially the weeks just after summer school – to having the town more or less to ourselves.
We like the light traffic, short lines, open parking spaces and open tables. But we also remember that many a local job depends on y’all’s presence, and Oxford with-out Ole Miss would be just another wide spot in the road.
So, thank you for being here.
So the bunch of us can peaceably occupy the same space, though, and so you can look back someday on your time in Oxford without too many regrets, I’d offer a few suggestions to the more temporary, or at least newer, Oxonians:
* Don’t park illegally. Even if fines don’t scare you, the university has already moved to booting the vehicles of flagrant or repeat violators, and the city is likely to do so this fall in the downtown area.
* Once you learn to navigate a roundabout, you can navigate the Square: Whoever is already on the circle/square has the right-of-way, and those who want to get on it must yield. Problem solved.
* Stay sober. We don’t want any more memorials to students killed after they or someone else drank and drove.
* Stay sober, even if you’re not driving. Inebriation of any variety didn’t suddenly become problematic with the advent of the automobile; it has always involved risk to life, limb and reputation.
* On a related subject, cameras are everywhere, and the Internet never forgets or forgives. If you don’t want your mother, your pastor, your fifth-grade teacher or a prospective employer to see it, don’t do it.
* Remember that this is supposed to be your entry into adulthood, not a four-, five- or six-year extension of adolescence. You, your parents and the taxpayers of Mississippi deserve your best efforts and quick progress.
* On the other hand, don’t be so devoted to your studies that you neglect other aspects of being human. Make good friends and good memories.
* Part of that is learning that there’s a great community outside of the campus and the Square, too. Oxford is worth getting to know, from hiking Bailey’s Woods to learning about the town’s Civil War experiences to working at the Pantry and much more.
* Eat. Not too much.
* Sleep. By yourself.
Contact Daily Journal Oxford Bureau reporter Errol Castens, a 21-year Oxford resident so far, at firstname.lastname@example.org.