Neil Offen: Welcome back, deciphered

Aug. 24, 2014 @ 10:26 PM

Welcome back, students. We are thrilled that you have returned for the new semester.

Translation: Couldn’t you have just waited another couple of weeks so that the rest of us could continue to find a parking space downtown?

Now that you’re here again, we know our community will be more vibrant and exciting than it has been. 

Translation: Please turn down the music.

We understand that you bring to this place a hope for the future and an essential connection to the rest of the world.

Translation: Stop throwing beer bottles on my lawn.

Your arrival signifies a sense of renewal and conveys an optimism that anything is possible.

Translation: Stop texting while driving and while riding your bike because you may not be scared but I am.

Every year, you continue to make us feel younger.

Translation: Actually, you really do make us feel older, since you’re always 19 and we’re not. Just once, we’d still like to be carded.

There’s a general feeling of solidarity and a sense of community when you are here.

Translation: Do you have to walk down the street four abreast and loudly call each other “Dude,” over and over again? Also, when talking to me, please do not address me as “Dude” or “Sir” or particularly “Sir Dude.”

You once again make us realize the true depth and breadth of the intellectual component of this community.

Translation: OK, I’m telling you for the last time, turn down the music. And while you’re at it, move the kegs. 

You have helped us in so many ways.

Translation: It’s a fact, until a couple of years ago, I never knew how to spell millenials.

When you are here, you force us to readjust our priorities and re-focus on what is important.

Translation: The checkout line at the supermarket is now so damn long we have to go shopping at 8 in the morning. So much for happy hour.

You bring to this community a renewed sense of commitment to issues and ideas and perspectives beyond our borders.

Translation: Do you really think Frisbee golf is a sport?

We appreciate the dynamism that your presence here represents.

Translation: All the restaurants are too crowded.

We appreciate the energy you embody.

Translation: All the restaurants are too noisy.

We look forward to a fulfilling, mutually satisfying, enlivening, vital academic year together.

Translation: When’s fall break?

Neil Offen can be reached at