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Some local ‘wisdom’ for the fresh fish
By Richard Davis
TFW Contributing Writer
Congratulations, invading freshmen, you’ve chosen well.
Fayetteville isn’t just a great place to go to college, it’s a great place to live in and experience with a top-class public library, a nationally recognized farmers market, a political system that’s always rich with debate, an excellent trail system, more artists than you can shake a stick at, a thriving local music scene (though you’ll have a to wait a couple years to be able to legally get into all the venues) and natural beauty that’ll knock your socks off.
To get you started, here’s a smattering of advice solicited from a variety of local people which may — or may not — be helpful in getting you started on living here.
Dana Toole Davis (local florist): If you are leaving a girlfriend/boyfriend “back home,” just go ahead and break up. It will make your first year soooo much easier.
Brad Hahn (of local band The Shady Janes): You’ve probably been subsisting on a diet of 2 a.m. gorditas and super-size No. 2s ever since Mom handed over the keys to the slightly used Tahoe, but there is no reason to eat kangaroo burgers in Fayetteville. The top two patties in Fayetteville are at Brenda’s and Hugo’s. Ask the Googles. You’ll be glad you did. Mention Hammontree’s while you’re at it. Cheese is good. Happy studying.
Cathy McAuliffe-Dickerson: What I remember most about when I moved here in 2006 is that when I went to do the routine kinds of things like change my car registration to here, get a driver’s license, etc., the person who helped me SMILED and seemed genuinely happy to help me! Amazing! I was expecting the glazed eyes and “why-are-you-bothering-me” look. My husband grew up in Austin, Texas, and he says Fayetteville is like Austin was in the ’70s. And that’s a good thing.
Gabrielle Idlet (local creative writing instructor): I was living in New York for a couple of years and loving it, but the overwhelming stimulation about killed me. I needed to return to Fayetteville, where I have family and where I’d gone to grad school. The word that came to me as I rode to my sister’s place from the airport was “gentle.” Fayetteville is a gentle place.
Get to know the staff at locally owned businesses (Block Street is great for this), buy kale and bouquets at the Farmer’s Market, sip wine and come early for snacks at the Fayetteville Underground’s First Thursday art openings. Let yourself be nurtured by the woods and bluffs and rivers that surround us. Welcome.
Janell Selby: My dad always said “Don’t sleep with anyone you don’t want your kids to look like.”
Jon Williams (local morning radio personality): Get out of the dorms. They have a habit of swallowing you whole and inhibiting your curiosity to roam the campus. Go see Old Main when you AREN’T racing to make a class. Go to as many football games as you can, but also check out the other sports like soccer, gymnastics, etc. Also, save your money. The UA is a money trap, and chances are you will blow through your spending cash by Oct. 15.
Jim Goza (UA student, actor, musician and host of “Zombie Go Boom”): When you get bogged down by stress and homework, a little bit of rockin’ goes a long way. So check out the awesome local music scene with bands like The Poggs, One-Man Brand and Gozalone, to name a precious few. (Editor’s Note: Also, take lessons from Jim Goza on Shameless Self Promotion 101)
Beth Goodwin: Work hard, play hard. Don’t go home every weekend. Instead soak up the local arts and culture and take advantage of the natural beauty that makes NWA such an inspiring place to be. Hike, float, explore, meet new people and just get out in it. Welcome, and please do stay a while.
Robert Ginsburg (owner of Uncle Sam’s Safari Outfitters and founder of the North Arkansas Jazz Society): If you can’t say something nice, say it in Yiddish.
Rondy Lee: Don’t speed — not even 1 mile over — in Johnson. Have as much fun as you can ‘cause when you get out of school, real life comes at you fast.
Cindy Arsaga: My advice to incoming freshman is to get to know Fayetteville beyond the campus and Dickson Street. Sample all the local businesses and support them. It’s a great place with great people.
Peggy Treiber: Don’t waste energy yammering about how things should be. See what they are and deal with it. If homework is more than you think it should be, do it or quit the class, but don’t spin your wheels over stuff that you have no control over. Think about this while skinny dipping in a Beaver Lake cove or in the West Fork of the White River. And be sure to take your parents to Hugo’s the first time they come to visit you in college. It’s the little things that you will long remember. Smile.
Jacob Richardson (pedicab driver): Get off the damn computer, and go outside. The real world is better than the Internet … and it is nice to see pretty girls smile in real life.
Charles Alison (local author): In the early days of the university, back before cars, students from the campus walked down Dickson Street through Shulertown and up to “Big Town” on the square to do their shopping. I highly recommend that today’s students ditch their cars and walk the same path. Shop along Dickson, eat on the square at Tim’s Pizza or Hugo’s and then walk back to the Hill in the cool of the evening. Walking around is the best way to get to know a town.
If you must travel quickly, get a bicycle and use the Scull Creek Trail to go to the movies at Malco or Fiesta Square or get coffee at Arsaga’s north. Bicycling is the second-best way to get to know a town.
Laura King Kellams: If you’re from a small town, be assured that the kids from the state’s bigger high schools are no smarter than you.
Kelly Eubanks: Don’t blow all your money on expensive entertainment (by all means blow some, but take advantage of the cheap and free stuff to do too). Fayetteville really is one of the best areas to offer tons of stuff to do with little or no money from free concerts in Gulley Park, our amazing library, the Farmer’s Market, the botanical gardens, hiking Devil’s Den State Park, fishing and camping at Lake Wedington, rock climbing at Lincoln Lake to hiking and biking the trails at Lake Fayetteville. There is a ton of stuff always going on in this city to stay entertained without spending tons of money.
Aubrey Shepherd: Suggest that students new to the city find out basic city rules that may not be in force in their hometowns or rural areas. Examples are leash laws for dogs, level of enforcement of underage drinking, littering, recycling, etc. Suggest they make an effort to befriend people who live nearby or in neighborhoods they walk, jog or drive through. Try to understand the community’s expectations.
Matthew Brizzi: I think Coach Carr from “Mean Girls” said it best: “Don’t have sex, because you will get pregnant and die! Don’t have sex in the missionary position; don’t have sex standing up; just don’t do it. OK, promise? OK, now everybody take some rubbers.”