Wisdom for the Class of 2005

Thinking back six or seven years ago to my exciting freshman year at Williams, it seems like yesterday: the endless “pop” vs. “soda” debates, weekly “snacks” meetings, staying up all night to really get to know your roommate, sitting in the common room wondering when your JA is coming back drunk and ready to tell you how ugly and worthless you are, drinking alone in my room. . . those were the days. But now that I am finally a senior, I thought it was time I gave back to the community.

But what do I have to give back to Williams, I thought. Finally, after minutes of contemplation, I realized what I could give back to you, my fellow students: my cunning insights! Boy, do I have a lot of cunning insights on Williams, and I think you freshmen could sure benefit from a little avuncular advice from your pal, Josh.

So, I thought I would compile a brief list of things to avoid, little “realizations” I have made. Here it goes:

1. As most of you freshmen have probably noticed after a few weeks here in the Purple Valley, Williams is exactly as it as featured in The Prospectus. For those of you who think otherwise — there is something wrong with you, not the College. Don’t even think about doing something stupid, like trying to “change” Williams, you ingrate. Do you realize how many people on the waitlist are just dying for your spot? Huh? Do you?

2. Arriving in a new and exciting environment like college allows you the rare opportunity to completely reinvent yourself and your personality. So drop that lame excuse for a personality you had in high school. Sure, it may have gotten you into a place like Williams, but let’s be honest, it did impinge on your social life. Instead of “math team captain,” try “tough biker.” Instead of “intellectual prude,” try “melodramatic Southern Belle.” Instead of “history expert,” try “liquor expert.” Instead of “accomplished classical musician,” try “gangsta thug4life.” You get the point. Be creative, it is your personality. (A little note, though: do not attempt the following personality types. I can pledge from personal experience. They are: “Tom Cruise from Risky Business,” “Tom Cruise from Interview with a Vampire,” “construction worker” or “warrior princess.”)

3. The key to success at Williams is overachieving over-commitment. Try to get yourself involved in as many activities as possible. The object is to spend most of your time complaining to your friends about how much you have to do, and how little sleep you have gotten the past week, in one breath, and then, in the next breath, complain about how you wished you actually did something on campus. But don’t worry. You don’t actually have to get anything done while you are here. By openly over-committing yourself, no one expects you to do anything, because they are all also over-committed, and they understand. By the time anything concrete is brought up in a meeting, it is finals time, and at that time we are all just really too busy to be able to put the time into it. This is when all the work is dumped on the suckers — the responsible overachievers. Of course, you’ll still get most of the credit, and get to put it on your résumé.

4. One little inside joke us students have going on is complaining to the administration and Dean’s Office about lack of “social life” on campus. Sure, most of us have friends that we hang out with all the time, chat with for hours, go to the dining hall with every night, take long road trips with, watch movies with, go to parties and dances with almost every weekend, but is that really a “social life”? (No, it is a sports team.) But it is a hoot to watch the administration scramble and flounder at our unrealistic expectations. We complain the school has no real discotheques, no major concert venue for stadium rock bands, no free arcades, no roller coasters, etc., and they spend all this time calling meetings and “looking into the matter.” It is all in good fun, of course. So join in on the complaints. Demand the school provide you with expensive, urban-style entertainment that we are all too busy to waste our time with anyway, and watch the administration scramble.

5. Hazing does not exist on this campus. You got that? This is not hazing. Do you catch my drift? Now squeeze this egg between your butt-cheeks, and run your naked pearly ass through Sawyer while drinking this beer, featherweight, or else you’re off the team.

6. Classmates and professors are always interested to hear your personal history, or that “manifesto” you have been working on, so speak up! Tell the class those riveting stories about that time your parents took you to Africa and you bought an authentic African mask from an actual native African, right on the street, and relate it to the topic of the class, no matter how irrelevant it may seem. Don’t be afraid to take the time to explain to your classmates the correct views on the subject matter at hand, after all, you do have a manifesto in the works, and you are awfully smart. Even if it is a large Psychology 101 lecture, don’t be afraid to involve yourself. It is your education. You do pay over $30,000 a year.

7. You might have heard that dating does not exist at Williams. Well, that isn’t exactly true. Dating is, in fact, not allowed at Williams. In order to assure Williams students’ career tracks are optimized in their four years here, the administration decided to ban dating back in 1994, and only allow weekly drunken, no-commitment “hook-ups.” This way, students are allowed to release the tension and stress that build up during the school week by an awkward and embarrassing sexual encounter without being burdened by troublesome things like meaningful, time-consuming relationships. So don’t even think about breaking social norms or school policy by asking that special guy or gal for coffee, or to dinner and a movie, or anything outdated like that.

Well, that’s it for now, kids. I am sure I have some more good advice to give you, but Mr. Jim Bean is sure making me sleepy and not able to write good. Remember: you are all butterflies, whose spirit cannot be crushed because you must be like water and always be true to yourself, just like the Buddha used to say, or something like that. Stay tuned for next week’s column, where I tackle some big issues, like why Wal-Mart is Fascist for not allowing me to shop there anymore. If I get around to it, that is. I am terribly busy these days.

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