As the pandemonium of Bulldog Days fades like a hackneyed powerpoint animation transition, I find myself washed up on a shore littered with dirtied, floated kegs like beached white whales, pursued with Ahab-ian obsession. But who has slaughtered whom? Call me Ishmael. Call me an ambulance. While my panglossian peers pound Pabst precociously, I teeter on the tight rope, putting one foot in front of the other, trying to take those 12 steps.
Around this time freshman year the routine is apparently the same based on things I’ve heard from people who have seen freshmen before. You hunt for a pregame, exchange business cards, put on name tags, go out to a frat house, mistake Alpha Delta for a frat house and then get belligerent when they refuse to serve you natty, and stumble home, apparently. This is what they call “human fun,” right?: the girls, the partying, the alcohol. Not the idea that those are the tangible manifestations of fun for many people, right? Once that fades away, what are you left with? What deep, meaningful life-lesson or easily digestible takeaway makes up for the hours I spent failing to digest that last 6-er of Genny Lite tallboys?
Rousseau had a penchant for expounding: “people who know little are usually great talkers, while men who know much say little.” Just last week I unpacked this quote for over an hour in section. At several points my classmates tried to interrupt me to inform me that section had ended, and that they needed to go. Rousseau would have snickered with me at their frequent attempts to interject.
I look down upon my peers, upon whom I bestow my generosity in using that term. Why do they drink now? Where do they think they are? Don’t they know that I no longer think it’s cool? Don’t they know that I know better? Don’t they know that the best way to learn is to listen to other people ramble in a student newspaper, that actual experience should be eschewed in favor of diatribes? Who do they think they are?
It is a time for learning. But are these the lessons of Socrates or of Dionysus? Why are we ruled by the demagogy of flip cup pedagogy? The axiomatic keg stands, the kafkaesque games of Civil War—but which was more destructive, the game or the event that gave its name?
As the spindly fingers of lady liquor caress gently at your parched, waiting, even quivering lips, it’s easy to give into her warm embrace. It’s easy to ditch your friends, who apparently are the only ones on campus with any sort of identity or agency or willpower, and go out in fear of missing out (I’ve heard this referred to as FOMOing), it’s easy to alienate your suitemates by pissing on their mattresses in the middle of the night and it’s hard to understand proper comma usage.
But I might contend that college isn’t about the easy way out and it sure as hell isn’t about commas. It’s about becoming what you are, and despite the temptation, what you are and how you get there shouldn’t deviate from what I am and how I got there. College is about anagnorisis. It is about moments. Thinking. Memories. The moment that idea is forgotten is the moment you succumb to lady liquor’s sensual embrace and contract the ultimately fatal gonorrhea that’s known as freshman year.