For my boss, it was a night when she and her friends went to Walmart at 11 PM, bought cookie dough, and ate it raw. That's right. No cooking, no rules. She says she thought to herself "take that, mom! I do what I want now." Yeah, librarians know how to party.
I have had many such moments in college, and I'll share them with you now. Or at least a few. The best ones. We'll skip all the boring ones, like orientation, and the first time I said "I'm an English major," and the first time someone asked "what are you going to do with that?" and the first time I got in a fistfight (those last two may or may not have been the same moment). (Kidding). Here we go:
My First (and only) frat party:
In one of the first weeks of my freshman year, I went to my first (and only) frat party, with some friends from orientation (read: People I really only hung out with because we were all freshman). It was really just like a movie, and my group of girlfriends and I starred as the Awkward Freshmen in the Corner. They held the party at the frat house, like a movie. I'm not sure how they got away with this, because I know UNC (where I spent my freshamn year) is a dry campus, and so is UF, and the frats at UF always (I think) have their parties at other places. But, whatever. It was in a frat house. Lots of people stood smoking on the big, southern porch outside. There were lots of empty bottles of vodka on the counters, and stains all over the carpet. The walls were bare, except for formal portraits of frat brothers, dating back years and years. We had to go down to the basement for the party, which terrified me at the time. I think we were all just a tiny bit scared we might get roofied, and so none of us ate or drank anything while we were there. I think it was rush week. Downstairs, some crappy band played on a makeshift stage, and people crowded the tiny dancefloor. We literally stood in the corner and watched people dance. I remember there was a girl who was very drunk, in very high heels, and she danced, as they say, with abandon. One of my friends, the pretty small blonde one, got hit on by a drunk senior, who instantly became the one-man welcome wagon when he heard we were freshmen. Funniest of all, out in the middle of the dance floor, there was a guy on crutches with a cast on his foot floor, still trying to bust a move, with red plastic cups in both of his hands. We left the party after an hour or two, and I'm pretty sure none of us had any fun. (Except I did enjoy the people watching. Also, I remember thinking to myself "this will make a great story someday." And well, here I am...)
The Confession Tent
Much shorter story than above, but still funny: So my freshman year, someone set up a tent right in the middle of campus, with a sign outside that said "Confession." As in, he wanted people to come inside his tent and tell them his secrets. Awesome idea, right? I'm pretty sure it was a joke and not a religious statement. I remember passing by it and thinking, in a very freshman-y way, "Oh my God. College is so cool. People are so funny." Now as a cynical, world-weary senior I think, "how did that guy have time to sit in that tent all day? Didn't he have class?" So it goes...
Porn In Class
In the Spring of my first year, we watched porn in class. Like, as part of the class. Like, the professor put it on the syllabus and popped in the DVD and led a discussion about it. It was a porn adaptation of Macbeth, for a Shakespeare on Film class, called "In the Flesh" (yeah, I bet you just googled it, didn't you?). Our professor wanted us to see Shakespeare in its many modern interpretations and, for the record, she fast-forwarded through all the dirty bits (there was much fast-forwarding) and told us we didn't have to come to class that day if we didn't want to. I went, nervous that I would be the only one to show up and thus look like a huge perv. Everyone showed up. And as we sat there, discussing the implications of translating Shakespeare to pornography, I thought to myself "this would NEVER happen in high school."
|From my dorm room freshman year|
Yet another college rite of passage: Buying an artsy poster
2 AM Pizza
One night, towards the beginning of Freshman year, my roommate came back to our room around 2 AM. I was still awake (Why? Couldn't sleep? Facebook stalking people from orientation? I don't remember...) and she said she was hungry. "Let's go get pizza," she suggested. I remember this seemed like THE craziest idea at the time, that we could just get on the night bus, ride out into the town, and eat pizza, and no one would stop us. And we did it. Let me tell you, I felt like the biggest bad ass in the world when I rolled up into that pizza place. At the same time, though, that idea, that I could just go anywhere and no one would know, always kind of freaked me out, and still sometimes does. It's cool that you don't have to answer to anyone, but also scary to think that no one is responsible for you.
For my friend Becky's 18th birthday (read: also during freshman year), a group of us went out to dinner. Afterwards, we all squeezed into her cave-like dorm room, and some hot-shot popped a bottle of champagne, which had been chilling in the mini-fridge. We didn't have cups, because we were freshman and cups are for grown-ups and people who actually have kitchens, so we just passed the bottle around, bonding through our shared germs. Also, I'm pretty sure we all kept yelling at each other to quiet down "or else the RA is going to come." Classic.
My First Exam
College isn't all about partying, you know? And I'd never felt like more of a serious college student than on the day of my first final exam. I remember it like it was yesterday. I was terrified. And honestly, I still think it was a pretty intense experience, especially for your first exam. It took place at 7 AM or something crazy early like that. It was a freezing December morning, snow on the ground (reminder: Snow exists). I ate a lonely bowl of Cheerio's in the dining hall, along with the few other poor souls who had early exams. The class was a survey English course, covering everything from the middle ages to the Protestant reformation (I think?), taught by a very enthusiastic and only slightly insane old man professor, whose name I forget (sorry!). For the exam, we had to identify different passages of poetry, including their title, their author, and their year, which meant memorizing a lot of poetry and a lot of dates, since I didn't know which ones would be on the test. I think there was also an essay, but I don't really remember, and I ended up doing fine. What I remember most, though, all these years later (okay, it hasn't been that long), was that quiet dining hall, the grey winter sky outside the windows, and that bowl of Cheerio's, which I almost couldn't eat it because of my nerves. And then afterwards, I was, in my little freshmany way, almost proud of how intense it had been. I felt like the fact that I survived such a hard, un-high-school-like exam made me a real college student.
Okay, so you might have noticed these are all from freshman year. I didn't intend for this to be a post reminiscing about freshman year, but that's the way it goes sometimes. I think it's because, as the years go on, I start to be less amazed by everything that happens. It's less like "this is so college," and more like "this is my life." I mean, in the beginning, even going to the library felt cool, like I was in a movie. (Although I do still get a small thrill when I see all those books, or when I feel the buzz of activity in the study rooms.) Also, I think maybe as a freshman, we seek out these "college-y" experiences, fueled by pent-up energy from years of waiting for our chance. And then, as the years go on, we get more into our routines. We find the parts of college that we like and keep doing them, and, for the most part, the other things fall by the wayside. Meanwhile, the things we like become, as I said, routine, and no longer a noteworthy moment.
So maybe it's good to have freshmen around, to remind us why college is so cool. For example, a few months ago, I went to this charity dinner where we were all randomly seated with people we didn't know. (Although I, being the cool senior who has been around, still knew a few people at the table. No big deal.) A few of these people were freshmen, and one of them let out a small gasp when I said I was a senior (again, no big deal). We all had a nice conversation, not talking about anything in particular, just our majors and that sort of thing. Oh, and study abroad. Those kids had a lot of questions about study abroad. Then, at the end of the dinner, one of the freshman boys looked around the table and said, with a contented sigh, "Isn't it so cool how in college you can just sit down with anyone and have the best conversation with them? I mean, you just meet interesting people everywhere you go." Isn't that just the cutest thing? But seriously, it did remind me of the fact that most people at college have at least one cool story. I think this happens in the real world, too, but, coming from high school, it's a real change. I mean, you try to sit down at a different lunch table in high school, even if you kind of know the people, they'll probably just give you blank stares.
And, of course, I still do have some "college moments" from time to time, just not every day like freshman year. For example, the other day on my walk, you might remember I saw some kids playing humans vs. zombies. They were toting nerf guns, orange bandannas tied around their heads. That stuff just doesn't happen, except in a world that's populated by young, creative people with some spare time on their hands. Or when I walk through Turlington Plaza, a hub of UF's campus, and hear people earnestly expressing their ideas on everything from religion and politics to big/little reveals and annoying professors. And then, of course, there are the crazy football games...