Ah, the Pilot Pen Tennis Tournament, gray skies, blaring sirens, kids getting held up at gunpoint on Lake Place — I must be back in New Haven.

This summer, I lived in New York next to a Salvation Army (not a store, an actual residence) and a burnt-out building, and I felt safer than I do here in The Have. I never heard one siren. One week at Yale, and I’ve already heard 113 sirens … oh wait, there goes another one, make it 114.

So what was I doing in New York, you ask? Well, unlike many of my peers who resided in NYC this summer, I wasn’t a swindler at a Wall Street firm. I worked at Fox News.

That’s right, I said it. I go to Yale, and I worked at Fox News.

(What I just did is the Yale version of coming out of the closet.)

Scary, but this is already my fourth and final year to be a part of the New Haven citizenry — unless something terrible happens in my future. It’s odd to walk around and see the innocent, wide-eyed freshmen moving in — especially the freshman girls who are sweet and proper with their parents, knowing that on Saturday they will be sluttified and liquored-up at Toad’s doing their best Tara Reid impressions.

That’s when it hit me: As a senior, I should use all of my wisdom and, uh, maturity to assist these confused freshmen — especially the girls. Hopefully I can help them survive this strange place, because Lord knows the Freshman Handbook is as useful to them as a “Playboy” is to Elton John. Without further ado, here are my words of wisdom to the freshmen:

1. Avoid classes that are labeled with “1 HTBA” in the Blue Book. Trust me on this one. That is, unless you are a douche. Then you’ll love section.

2. Despite what the handbook says, microwaves and George Foreman grills are not fire hazards. If you are inept enough to make microwave use dangerous, you probably shouldn’t be at Yale, or in college at all.

3. Bursar everything you can at the bookstore. As far as your parents are concerned, it’s all for books and school supplies. Little do they know you are using their send-the-kids-to-college-fund for “Scarface” and Britney Spears posters, Doritos, a wireless keyboard, KY Jelly, headphones, obscenely overpriced Yale hoodies, “Halo 2,” beer mugs and Mach 3 blades.

4. So you think college, and especially the Ivy League, is a bastion of free speech? Not so fast, my friend. Be warned that any criticism of the diversity movement will land you in a firestorm of controversy. Why do you think Harvard President Lawrence Summers was almost burned at the stake for suggesting there are innate biological differences between men and women, yet University of Colorado professor Ward Churchill was defended by the ACLU as a warrior of free speech for equating the 9/11 victims with Nazis? Which leads me to …

5. Don’t ever utter the words “I agree with President Bush” or you will be publicly flogged on Cross Campus at high noon.

6. Learn to be stealthy, as it will come in handy when sneaking into Toad’s through the side door and out of bed the morning after a drunken hookup. For training, I recommend playing “Metal Gear” and watching “Mission: Impossible.”

(Speaking of Tom Cruise, who do you think is more insane, Tom Cruise or Howard Dean? For a one-month stretch this summer, they reached sound-bite nirvana — seriously, if one of them had said, “I eat human entrails for breakfast,” I wouldn’t have been surprised. It was like watching Gretzky and Lemieux in the late ’80s.)

7. Girls, stay away from lacrosse players. Hang out with them enough, and one morning you’ll wake up naked and crying with all the money taken from your wallet and a raging case of gonorrhea. I’ve seen it a hundred times. You’re better off just hanging out with me.

8. Guys, stay away from lacrosse players. One minute you’ll be talking to one and he’ll be calling you “bro” and telling you how “sick” he and his “bros” are and he’ll give you a high-five. Next thing you know, you’ll wake up naked and crying with all the money taken from your wallet and a raging case of gonorrhea.

9. Get used to public displays of singing. If you’re eating lunch, and suddenly eight girls break out into song, relax and take a deep breath. At Yale, such an occurrence is called “normal.”

10. Assuming you watch sports, prepare yourself for four years of athletic mediocrity (unless you’re a squash fan). Also, prepare yourself for four consecutive losses to Harvard at The Game. But …

11. Don’t fret about Harvard being better than us. Trust me, you’ll find out next year when you go to Harvard for The Game and you’ll think to yourself, “Wait, when did they change their name from the Harvard Crimson to the Harvard Jack Kevorkians?” Plus, don’t forget, their president is a misogynist who thinks there are differences between men and women. This is the school that gave us the Unabomber. And if you still don’t think Yale is better than Harvard, you are forgetting that …

12. Yale runs the world. President Bush, George H. W. Bush, Bill Clinton, Hillary Clinton, Porter Goss, John Negroponte, Clarence Thomas, the list goes on and on. Pretty much anyone who has set foot in the White House in the past 15 years went to Yale. Not to mention Ernesto Zedillo, Bob Woodward, Theo Epstein, Jodi Foster, Paul Giamatti, Ron Livingston, Edward Norton, Balkie from Perfect Strangers, Oliver Stone, Lewis Black, Stone Phillips, Ben Stein, The Fonz. Hell, we even rule the cartoon world: We have Mr. Burns. So the lesson? Be nice to your classmates. Someday you’ll be the Turtle to their Vincent Chase.

13. Drink. Go out. Play “Madden.” But mostly, drink. Seriously, step away from the books, it will all be OK.

There you go. Follow those tips, and you’ll survive Yale, and you may even have some fun along the way. Just try not to get shot in the process.

Carl Williott bursars bullet-proof vests at the Bookstore in preparation for the coming Armageddon.