By Tyler Gilliam

While you were wasting your summer traveling, swimming, or playing video games, I was working hard to gear up for school. If you believe that, you should also know that I’m a Harlem Globetrotter, a Victoria’s Secret model, and I hold a Ph. D. in astrophysics.No, while you were wasting your summer, I was busy doing, or should I say not doing, the very same thing.

When the Progress started sending emails to the staff three weeks ago, I was shocked out of my lazy alternate world and sent back to reality, back to work, and back to EKU.

As I sat pondering what piece of knowledge to impart on my readers, especially my new readers, I kept coming back to my college experience.

Once upon a time, I was but a lowly high school student constantly roaming the halls, often attending class, and occasionally paying attention. I got a wake up call in the middle of senior year and realized I hadn’t bothered to take the ACT. Oops. I signed up and pushed it to the back of my mind.

Fast-forward to the night before ACT and all was quiet throughout my house. No one was stirring, not even a mouse-until after 2 a.m. when I trudged in after a concert and passed out on the couch. I woke up shortly before ACT time, very shortly before ACT time. So I drove to the school unshaven, sans shower, stinking of smoke. I passed with flying colors and in February I was off to orientation at, cringe, Western.

They had doughnuts and Sierra Mist, a backbreaking hike uphill, both ways, to class, and a mascot that for some reason made me want to eat McDonalds. But, lo, WKU was not for me. I quickly made my way to merry old Richmond.

I’m a commuter, born and raised. My first day involved a 45-minute drive to campus, and another 45 minutes driving around the parking lot. My first class, MAT 105, started at 9:30. I arrived promptly at 10.

Apparently I hadn’t missed anything because the class was learning how to change decimals into percentages. Let me save you some time. Move the decimal two positions to the right. I walked out of my first college class.

I tested out of math, and as time wore on I settled in to my other classes. So don’t get me wrong, I’ve learned a lot since my first semester. There’s a lot to learn here and a lot of good people to learn from at EKU. My advice: Pay attention. Ask questions. Explore your interests. Take a basket weaving class. Lose your iPod and meet some new people. You never know-they might like you. Oh, and do whatever you want during the summer. Pretty soon life will kick into high gear, and you won’t have that chance again.