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Why College Life Is Like One Big Game of MASH

Many of us can probably remember first being introduced to the game of MASH. Chances are, some girl in your elementary school had enchanted you with a seemingly simple piece of paper that claimed to be able to predict your future. You listed your playground crush as a husband and a Disney actress job as a career, yet became increasingly nervous as you saw the two crossed out — leaving you matched up with that one weird guy who picked his nose. But, hey, at least you’ll be a doctor, and you won’t be living in a shack.

Looking back, MASH was a strange idea for a game. You’d close your eyes as someone made tally marks or spirals, which somehow gave them the magical number that determined your fate. You placed your hopes and dreams into those little scraps of paper, and maybe they’d be granted; but then again, they could be squashed. It was risky, but what other choice did you have?

While this game was mostly left to grade school, I think it has even more applicability now that we’re in college. The older I get, the more I realize college life is really like one big game of MASH. You start out thinking you’ll live in the best dorm, fall in love with the major you picked at orientation, and be one of the most involved students on campus. Of course, we can laugh about it all looking back. But had someone challenged me to a round of MASH at Preview, I wonder what I probably would have written down at the time — and how shocked I’d be at the answers.

CATEGORY – Housing

OPTION 1: Broward Hall, an infamous freshman dorm. I could’ve been fine with this one, but I was nervous about the rumors I had heard of loud neighbors and drunk partiers. Also, something about a funeral shrine for a cockroach?

RESULT: Crossed out.

OPTION 2: An off-campus apartment. Walking distance from classes, reasonably priced rent and a roommate who’d also be one of my best friends. Oh, and also, no roaches. Unfortunately, finding an apartment that fit all of these criteria was harder than I thought, and all of my best friends had other housing plans.

RESULT: Crossed out.

OPTION 3: A two-room double in Murphree Hall. Much quieter than most of the other dorms, and my roommate and I could each have our own room! While the Murph life isn’t perfect, it’s pretty great. I’m close to all of my classes, and I have the cutest decorations on my walls. I wish I didn’t have to share a kitchen with thirty people, but it’s not the end of the world.

RESULT: Selected.


CATEGORY – College Major

OPTION 1: Health science, on the pre-med track. For most of my life I thought I wanted to be a doctor. I looked forward to changing the world with a stethoscope and a cup of coffee. But then I took chemistry, and I realized it was all fun and games until the exam equations began looking more like Chinese. The field of medicine has a lot of options, and I could still help people by focusing on my other scientific strengths.

RESULT: Crossed out.

OPTION 2: Health education, on the pre-nursing track. I could be a nurse practitioner, and still reach my dream of working in primary care; I’d just be taking a different path to get there than I originally intended. I like how much of an emphasis is placed on compassion and understanding in medical treatment. There’s a lot of flexibility in nursing careers, so I’m sure I could find my fit.

RESULT: Selected (for now).

OPTION 3: Journalism. I love writing! I could inspire others! Unfortunately, I have no clue what exactly I’d do with the degree. Plus, I’d be stuck paying for extra credit hours in order to make up for all of my mistakes from freshman year.

RESULT: Crossed out, but hey, maybe I’ll end up in the field anyway. After all, only about 27% of college students end up with a career that matches their major!

CATEGORY – Campus Involvement

OPTION 1: Honors Ambassadors. I was accepted to the Honors Program, so I figured I’d make the most of it. In reality, I didn’t end up living and breathing everything Honors, but I got involved with a club or two and met some really great people, so that’s alright.

RESULT: Crossed out.

OPTION 2: Dance Marathon. The Instagram pictures I saw from the event made it look so exciting! I learned more about the cause and just knew I had to do something to help support the Miracle Families. Little did I know I’d end up creating a new team for the program and raise thousands of dollars with my friends for our school’s Children’s Miracle Network hospital.

RESULT: Selected.

OPTION 3: Her Campus UFL. I always thought this website had great articles! All of these women seem so passionate and inspiring! Wait, I can actually be one of their writers? Sign me up!

RESULT: Hmm … I’ll let you take a guess at this one.


OPTION 1: That one older guy who bought me pizza in the first week of school. He was a chemistry major, so I thought he’d be able to tutor me in those pre-med classes. Unfortunately, he stopped talking to me after our second date. It wasn’t very nice of him to ghost me like he did. Still, at least I got some great food out of it.

RESULT: Crossed out.

OPTION 2: A charming fraternity brother. He’d have a dazzling smile, and would invite me to some really fun date functions. I’d paint him a cooler for his birthday, and he’d let me wear his oversized pocket tees to class. While I’ve met some awesome guys who happen to be in frats, I never clicked with any of them romantically.

RESULT: Crossed out.

OPTION 3: A Nice Jewish Boy. Well, actually, all of these boys were going to be Jewish. Did I think I’d meet one at a Shabbat dinner? I didn’t plan on it. Who knew I was going to meet someone so sweet, with bright eyes and the best sense of humor? But, hey, I can’t complain!

RESULT: Selected. Who knew I’d get so lucky?



Life doesn’t always turn out like we expect. Sometimes, like in an odd round of MASH, we’ll end up with results we can hardly understand. But other times, we’ll end up with a deal even better than we would’ve first imagined.

And if our story ever turns out really bad? Well, we can always play again!


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Valerie Berman graduated from the University of Florida in 2018 with a Bachelor of Science in Health Education, and continued her academic pursuits as part of the UF College of Nursing's Accelerated BSN program. During her undergraduate years, she was a member of the UF Honors Program, volunteered with Shands Hospital and Alachua County Schools, acted as delegate for the Jewish Student Union's Dance Marathon team, and got involved with the Jewish community on campus as part of the Lubavitch Chabad Student Group. She also traveled to Israel twice, and attended various Judaic study programs. Val's creative pursuits extend beyond writing – she's also dipped her toes into baking, painting, and designing Redbubble stickers. Her current life plan involves furthering her nursing career, settling down in New York or South Florida, and eventually becoming that one Jewish mother everyone knows and loves. For now, though, you can probably find her eating ice cream and plotting how to win her next Pokémon battle!
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