Word from the Wise: David Gassko

By Denebola
Published: October 2008

I have no idea how Denebola tracked me down. I did everything to avoid it: I moved to a different state, grew facial hair, and changed my name to Pablo. Well, at least the first one’s true.

Since none of y’all (we’ll get to that in a second) really know me, let me introduce myself.

My name is David, I go to Rice University in Texas (look it up, it’s a top-20 school even though no one has ever heard of it), and I graduated from South in 2006.

Now that I’ve given you enough information to stalk me, I figure I’ll tell you a little about what it’s like to be a college student.

College is ridiculous. That’s really all you need to know; seriously, I could end the article right here. But since I feel like your friendly Denebola editors would resent that, I’ll fill you in on some details.

If you’re anything like me, you’re thinking right now that you have a pretty good idea of what you’re in for (you’re also listening to underground hip hop in your boxers, but that’s neither here nor there). You don’t.

That’s not meant as a criticism, it’s just meant to say that you can’t predict whom you’ll meet and what you’ll do over four of the most ridiculous years of your life. A random Tuesday night can be ten times better than the craziest thing you’ll ever do in high school. And yes, it’s awesome. Obviously, there’s the traditional things that happen when teenagers are on their own, but honestly, that’s not what will really make these four (or five or six, depending on just how much you love college) years so great; no, there’s more to it.

It’s a certain something, a certain joie de vivre, if you will let me use one of those smart phrases I’ve picked up in college along the way.

Really, it’s the freedom. In college, you will be free to do absolutely anything. Intramural rugby? Why not? Spend a day at the beach? No one is stopping you. Donkey show in Mexico?

Well, that’s a little weird but I know people who have done that too. I’m sure you’ve heard that college is a time of self-discovery, and I admit that’s one of those tired old phrases (sort of like joie de vivre) everyone hates to hear, but honestly, it’s pretty much true.

This is the only time in your life that you can do literally anything you want, and if you let yourself go, you’ll find out just what it is that you desire out of life. And yes, some people desire donkey shows. That’s why college is so ridiculous.

The people who truly decide to take advantage of it go a little crazy trying out everything that catches their fancy. It means going out of your comfort zone and experiencing culture, other countries, and people you would never otherwise be friends with (hippies). It means, in my case, saying “y’all  all the time, even though I look like a fool doing so. God bless Texas.

In all seriousness, as someone who has less than two years of college remaining (this is getting depressing), let me tell you that at no other point in your life will you have the chance to learn responsibility by being, in some respects, irresponsible.

Once you graduate to the real world, there will be rules and standards and police. Before you graduate high school, there are parents. In college, there is none of that, but that doesn’t mean you should be stupid (well, at least not all the time).

It does, however, mean that you can do things you would never even dream of in any other circumstances. And if you have a dream, by all means follow through with it.

Never again will taking six months off and traveling around Europe be socially acceptable. Or being friends with hippies. So do it.

This is a time of ridiculousness, and if you take advantage of it, college will open up all kinds of new doors for you, though you probably shouldn’t go into some of them (you’ll know which ones those are). Seriously, get excited, it’s going to be awesome.

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