By Rachel Milani
As the new school year begins and old students begin to return to campus and new students embark on that ever-so thrilling rollercoaster known as freshman year, let’s pause and take a moment to take some advice from a piece of campus history on how to start the year off on the right foot.
Part of the UW-Madison collection, UW-Madison Student Guidebooks and Handbooks collection hosts a variety of different publications created by a various campus or Madison-based organizations. These guides provide detailed information about student daily life, extra-curricular activities, general University rules and regulations, and other key subjects intended to educate incoming students. But don’t let the informational nature of these guidebooks fool you! These publications include a variety of humorous writings and anecdotes related to social norms and other aspects of campus life:
- “Some of you will go out for track, some for swimming, some for studying, and others will go out for that extra-curricular activity known as apple polishing or mitt-wringing. But whatever you call it, don’t fool yourself that it isn’t recognized both by your victim and by other students with the same fell motive.”
- If at any point you lose interest in a lecture, “please don’t turn to your neighbor for a social half hour. Maybe, with his debased sense of values, he is getting something out of it. … Or maybe he is asleep and you shouldn’t disturb him.”
- “Should your date turn out to be a first class baby scarer, don’t show that you are afraid of it. Goons often have good connections and quite possibly know the right people…”
- “Incidentally, the penalty for overdue books is enormous; starting at $.50 the first hour overdue (as of 1947 that is); it gets worse every minute.”