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To the Clueless Freshman Still Standing in the Middle of the Light Rail Tracks

Dear Clueless Freshman,

You may have heard that college is a surreal purgatory before actual adulthood. That you can sleep wherever you want and no one cares. That you can bring an entire gallon of orange juice to lecture and relish the apathy of your peers as you swig from its citrusy depths. All of these things are true but don’t think for a second we didn’t notice the last time you were the target of the UMN light rail, warning its 5000-decibel horn at you to get out the way. 

Look, we were all in your place once–young, naïve, and full of hope that we would be able to complete our degrees while maintaining our health. The recklessness that comes with that naivety should cause you to shotgun 6 Hamm’s while dancing on a table at some random house party, not stand dumbly in the middle of the light rail tracks.

We know it’s hard to see coming sometimes as it slithers along its cold, unforgiving tracks. We know that it’s easy to mistake the light on the front as the light at the end of the terrible tunnel that is your undergraduate career. But it’s as big as the elephant in the room, kid. It’s as big as our disappointment in you. You should be able to see it coming.

As the train blasts its warning horn before it catapults its 90-ton metal shell in your direction, we whisper to each other over our Starbucks. We wonder aloud, quietly, how one person could be so oblivious to the public transit behemoth manned by an angry driver. You are no longer the doe-eyed, inexperienced freshman you were when you came to campus in the fall. You are the deer that’s about to get smeared by a diesel truck on the highway.

Do you want to be the subject of one of UMPD’s Neighborhood Safety Notices? Do you want to be remembered as “the dumbshit freshman who got creamed by the light rail” because you were too busy thinking about Taco Tuesday at Centen? We warn you, you will earn a spot in campus lore like the poor saps who couldn’t graduate in four years after walking underneath the Platonic Figure.

If you don’t have a New Year’s resolution this should be it. Resolve to not look like an idiot in the middle of the light rail tracks. Push yourself to resemble a savvy Gopher as much as possible. The quiet awarded by the light rail driver’s empty field of vision, while you safely are on the other side of the platform listening to Migos, should be reward enough for you.

We’ll give you another go. Just don’t be a dumbass.

The Entire UMN Student Population

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