There Is Only One Dr. Laura (and it is probably not you)

By: Scott Harvey, Columnist

It may seem superfluous to note that I am not Dr. Laura Schlessinger, famous radio advice giver and political commentator. Chances are, if you are reading this, you are not Dr. Laura either (though if you are, I want to thank you for broadening your horizons to include our humble, student- run newspaper). I mention this simply because of the time of year. It is the first week of school, which means the arrival of new freshmen on campus, coming upon us like a freight train upon “Anna Karenina.” It also means that hundreds of upperclassmen suddenly feel the need to become Dr. Laura and to give these newcomers their version of well-crafted advice, the result of years of experience, but the fact of the matter is that this advice tends to fall somewhere between “Sharknado” and “Dinocroc” on the believability scale. Now, certainly, the intent behind this advice giving is good. However, a sophomore or junior giving advice about life to a freshman is like Leonardo DiCaprio giving tips on how to win an Oscar. Upperclassmen know no more about what to do with their lives than your average existentialist does. Even the seniors, who like to believe they have lived much longer than the rest of us paroles, tend to limit their advice to what you can find in fortune cookies. These anecdotes of advice are not even worthy of good fortune cookies. To be honest, they sound more like the slips of paper you pull out of dry and tasteless crackers at that dodgy Chinese buffet down the street from your house, the slips that just say, “Believe in yourself.” I am sure there is a great deal of fulfillment that can be achieved from believing in oneself, but at a school like Furman, believing will only get you so far.

Even sillier are the students who feel need to poke fun at the incoming freshmen. This deprecation on the part of the under and upperclassmen is akin to LeBron James making fun of players on the Miami Heat. You were a member of their legion not so long ago and you made the same mistakes.

I say all of that to say this. The freshmen do not need their hands held or their mistakes mocked. None of us is Dr. Laura, or Dear Abby, or some other faceless voice of reason. Therefore, maybe we should stop trying to act like them and just act like ourselves instead. Now if you will excuse me, I am going to go put that previous sentence on a fortune cookie.

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