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Raw DS Article: Welcome to Grand Forks, 2009 Edition

August 28, 2009

That’s right…I’m back writing for the Dakota Student newspaper. Here is a copy of my first article, out today:

It’s that time of year again…cars are parked illegally along University Avenue, freshmen can be seen wandering around campus staring blankly at folded up copies of campus maps, and a few creepy seniors will remark to themselves how last year’s class of 2012 was much hotter. Yep…it’s the beginning of school!

By now, you’ve likely dealt with the unhappy people at Student Account Services, been yelled at by at least three people in the Parking Office (as required by the Code of Student Life), have (hopefully) found where your classes are located, and scoped out which girl/boy in said classes you’d like to spend the semester attempting to date/hook up with. This is an exciting time for everyone on campus…professors can break out their dusty PowerPoint presentations, employees in various offices around campus face a glut of new students/paperwork, and students take the time to reunite with old friends and hopefully make new ones as well. As for me, I take the time to sit down, look at old “Welcome Back” articles I’ve written for the Dakota Student (this is #4!), and look for new, and unusual suggestions of things to do and places to see in order to make your parental-imposed prison sentence/college career more interesting.

Grand Forks and UND have changed immensely since 2004 when I made my way down University Avenue in a dawn-of-man style march toward Frat Row like the freshmen of today and yesterday. There are new people, new administrators and new places to visit. Some have continued to last over the years, and others, sadly, have shut down (the bar in my old apartment’s parking lot, to be exact). I’ve taken the liberty of weeding through these places and people, for the convenience of everyone, both old and new, in the readership of the Dakota Student.

UND’s President is Dr. Robert Kelley. He’s a very nice guy who has a tendency to be seen walking around campus. Take a moment and introduce yourself to him. He’s a very nice guy who seems to be genuinely interested in students’ opinions and concerns. President Kelley works in Twamley Hall, which is the building most commonly known for the “Twamley Shuffle,” a dance between Student Academic Services, Financial Aid, and the Registrar’s office that many students must perform to finalize their schedules.

Behind Twamley Hall is one of my favorite places on the UND campus: the North Dakota Museum of Art. This museum plays host to several art exhibitions during the year in addition to concerts and other interesting activities. The museum is an important place in Grand Forks, as it is one of the few vestiges of culture in the city. There is a café in the basement of the building which is one of the true hidden secrets of the Grand Forks dining scene.

While we’re on the topic of the Grand Forks dining scene, old-timers like myself will note that there isn’t much of one here. The city does boast an amazing array of Subways (Truck Stop! Drive-Thru! Standalone Building!), as well as a ridiculously wide array of restaurants that feature colors in their names (Whiteys! Blue Moose! Red Pepper! Golden Corral! Green Mill!). If you pick up a copy of the local newspaper on a Wednesday, you’ll likely find a restaurant review, written by someone for whom my family has affectionately called the Grand Forks Grandma. Don’t bother looking for negatives in the article—there will be none. The GFGrandma doesn’t hold back either: full service and fast food restaurants cannot escape her initial-assigning gaze.

Leaving for college is a life-altering experience. We leave the comfort zones of our hometowns (in Minnesota and North Dakota) for a new community on the UND campus. You, new freshmen hordes, are likely to meet people from diverse locations such as Fargo and West Fargo. Just kidding! In truth, there are close to 60 countries represented here, from Chinese contract students in the aviation department to Czechs in the chemistry department. You can get a small taste of the world without leaving the Grand Cities! Of course, I strongly suggest leaving the Grand Cities for your own taste of the world, but that’s for a different article.

University students face many pressures during the school year. Classes, homework, reading, and what kind of beer I should drink are amongst the most important, but there are many, many more lurking out there. Remember to take it one day at a time, complete your homework, write great papers, and avoid anything with the name Bud, Busch, Keystone or Miller.

Hopefully I’ve implanted some wisdom onto the Dakota Student’s vast readership on-campus and online. Have a great, safe year, and remember to brush up on your winter survival skills for January.

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