First-year Rollins students received a different kind of welcome packet in 1935. Here’s a flashback to some of our favorite entries from the Freshmen’s Don’t Book, which was created by alumnus Milford J. Davis ’35.
Image courtesy of Rollins College Archives & Special Collections
DON’T expect to be greeted by a brass band and a cheering section when you arrive at Winter Park. You may have been captain of the football team of Miss Paducah High back home, but you’re just a Rat* here. Get yourself and your suit case out of the aisle before the train pulls out for Orlando; that’s a good enough start!
DON’T talk too much or too loudly when you arrive. The Upperclassmen do not seem to appreciate it, and the rest of the new arrivals may decide you are a Jonah.
DON’T feel it incumbent upon yourself to call up Prexy or the Deans and announce your arrival. Go to your room and unpack. They’ll learn the sad news soon enough.
DON’T forget to wear your Rat cap at all times, every day, except during meals and on Sundays. Walking across the Horseshoe or treading upon the greensward at all is likewise considered unhealthy for First Year neophytes and is therefore carefully forbidden. Please see that you observe these precautionary measures.
DON’T bedeck your room with cups, pennants, and trophies reminiscent of your high or prep school glories. Nobody is interested in what you have done; it’s what you’re going to do that counts.
DON’T clutter your dresser with photographs of ardent admirers whom you have left behind. Your friends will think you’re merely bragging, anyhow.
DON'T play the piano, saxophone, or the kettle drums at all hours of the night. There are always one or two people who have no appreciation for the finer things. Besides, the Conservatory has been provided for just that purpose.
DON’T neglect to receive all visitors as if you were glad to see them; your room is your home. But DON’T make your boudoir a lounge or smoking room! You may want to study some time and you’ll find it a trifle difficult in an atmosphere resembling a night club or the waiting room of Grand Central Station.
DON’T wear your prep school sweater or flash your high school fraternity or sorority pin on your bosom. You can’t live on past glories at college.
DON’T dress too sporty or expensively; you may gain only the disagreeable cognomen of “loud” or “ritzy.” There are nicknames with which to begin college more devoutly to be desired than that of “noisy” or “high hat.”
DON’T forget, at the same time, to have on hand a white linen suit and a pair of white shoes. They may be convenient for the next day.
DON'T be fooled by the climate as advertised. Central Florida enjoys occasional frosts during the Winter which kill the citrus and chill the natives in no uncertain manner. Real football weather, with mufflers, overcoats, and blankets is no wild dream, especially since the Tars play all their games at night.
DON’T criticize the food. Rollins has one of the finest kitchens of its kind in the country, serving the best quality food. Large-scale planning and cooking are extremely difficult, and occasional bad guesses are to be expected.
DON’T forget you are expected to dress for dinner each evening and for Sunday dinner. A proper atmosphere is essential to pleasant, wholesome dining. Act as if you were accustomed to dining out.
DON'T hestitate to change your table, if the crowd happens to be snobbish or boorish.
DON'T rush through your meal as if you had never seen food before. The dinner hour is for relaxation and genial companionship as well as nourishment. Remember, these are meals, not time trials!
DON’T “rush” a fraternity group yourself by often visiting the house or playing up to its members. It gives not only a bad impression but also gives just the opposite effect desired. (By “fraternity”, we include the women’s Greek Letter organizations also, since the majority have now adopted that classification.)
DON’T feel too much hurt if you are not rushed or pledged by an organization. It is no reflection on you or your character. It is a sad but true commentary in the fraternity world that “the best ones always get away.”
DON'T show special preference to any one group during rushing, but accept invitations to all rush parties. Look them over; you may be surprised.
DON'T let false fellowship or exaggerated interest and praise blind you to the obvious faults of a group. Remember that you are attaching yourself with some degree of permanence when you join; choose a group of which you can be proud.
DON'T mistake the willingness to take a snap course for a sudden predilection for a subject. Try to take advantage of your opportunities here at college. If you are going to fool somebody, be sure that it's not yourself.
DON'T forget to attend a good percent of your classes. It gives the Professors an opportunity to meet you. Also, the information dispensed in many of these classes often proves invaluable in getting by conferences and passing the Upper Division Board.
DON’T neglect any opportunity to make friends with your Instructors. Their advice and experience may save you much hard labor.
DON’T be an Apple Polisher. There’s no quicker way of losing the respect of your classmates than by obviously currying favor with your professors.
DON'T hestitate to go out for all teams, clubs, and publications which you'd like to make. If you qualify you will find that the experience and contacts will mean more to you than you ever thought; if you fail to make them, you'll never regret having tried.
DON’T confine all your activities to one special field. Try to participate in well-rounded interests, so that you don’t specialize and thus limit yourself to a one-sided out-look.
DON’T get too big-headed over flattering attentions from Upperclassmen of the opposite sex. Frosh co-eds are always something new and naïve to the older males, while the older girls welcome attention from the Rat males because they have no alternative.
DON’T for one moment forget, however, that they both know more tricks than you ever imagined existed…even if you are from New York!
Don’ts in General
DON’T forget to write home once in a while. Mom and Pop are always happy to see a Winter Park postmark, even if there is some postage due. Pop may even be paying your way through college, and is entitled to some returns.
DON’T get the impression that it’s sophisticated or collegiate to spend all your spare time in the local taverns absorbing alcoholic beverages. If you consider it smart to get blotto and make a fool of yourself at frequent intervals, you ought to be in some institution other than an educational one.
DON’T get the impression that Rollins is a Country Club, despite what you may have heard. If meeting the Board of Admissions for the Upper Division is your idea of fun, you have an over-developed sense of humor.
DON’T forget that the Second-Year students expect more deference than any other of the Upperclassmen. Wait until next year; you’ll find out why.
DON’T imagine that the College Catalogue, the “R” Book, or even this little volume can tell you all you need to know about college life. These are only a few hints; it’s up to you. Remember, this is probably your first opportunity to prove to everybody, including yourself, that you’re big enough now to wash your own teeth and know when to change your clothes!
*Rats are what upperclassmen used to call first-year students.
**Prexy was the nickname for then-President Hamilton Holt.