October 4, 2006

Freshmen Fridays

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It’s almost that time for the Cornell administration’s biggest deception of the calendar year, that gloriously coveted long weekend known as “fall break” — or, should I say, “A great opportunity to procrastinate in one’s indigenous environment and consequently, fall further behind in school work.” All things aside, it’s safe to conclude that fall break is the perfect way to transplant the debaucherous, 3-hours-of-sleep-a-weekend mentality of the Cornellian socialite to some far off exotic place like Scranton, Pa.
What most people don’t realize about fall break is the symbolism attached to this hallowed hiatus. Sure, fall break is often characterized as “fall break up” by freshmen for obvious reasons — but there is an often-overlooked significance equated with this holiday.
Fall break is that sacred demarcation in our scholastic calendar in which starry-eyed freshmen have officially been here long enough to be regarded as, more or less, a functioning element of the Cornell machine. Despite this general, albeit reluctant acceptance of freshmen assimilation, slogans, actions and attitudes keep appearing in a myriad of forms that elicit natural reactions like, “Wow, dude, you are either 12-years-old or a freshman” or, “It’s week 20 bro, there is absolutely no need to keep on advertising your obvious intellectual and cultural inferiority.” While I’m not one for pointing fingers, here are a few tell-tale mistakes you really can’t possibly still be making if you’re a first year.

Sunglasses at Night
Although my colleague, columnist Billy McMorris, will vehemently argue that “the sun never sets on a badass,” I have to disagree. Unless you are a) blind, b) received a good thrashing around the eyes or c) Yaw Joseph Etse, there is absolutely no reason to be donning cheesy gold-rimmed spectacles at fratastic functions with the conviction that they just became fashionable only yesterday. (Exceptions may be made for ’80s and early ’90s themed get togethers, so long as The Cars, The Outfield, Bananarama and Journey are shuffled continuously throughout the shindig.) Those who choose to accessorize with such nocturnal spectacles tend to be the same rapscallions schmoozing at a party with the ingrained mentality that they are “The Man,” simply because they can run around with a case of Beast on their shoulders and scream “College!” louder than you or I can.

“Class of” T-Shirts
Coincidentally, the majority of those rocking the “Class of 2010” t-shirt are statistically more likely to own at least one other garment of clothing with either a picture of a wolf, a really complicated math problem or the letters “A-R-U-B-A” in bright rainbow cursive. Regardless of the wearer’s demographic (a completely separate issue altogether, but it has something to do with chemical engineering), how “Class of” t-shirts are still popular is a complete and utter joke. After all, why would anyone consciously choose to rep his/her year over something way sweeter, like Dave Matthews Band or Tommy Hilfiger or O.A.R. or The North Face? And don’t go telling me that these shirts are free — there is no price on dignity, my friend.

Herding Behavior
The most common folly of all revolves around that intricate, delicate network known as North Campus. Sure, your buddy Will down the hall might have some bottle of rasberry-flavored Stoli that his super cool dad brought up for him during Parents Weekend. But that doesn’t warrant an entire throng of 20 guys rolling out of High Rise 5 together, abnoxiously rolling through West and Collegetown in search of the “Sweet Afterhours Spot.” Even if said spot does exist, you certainly won’t find it wiling in a pack of inebriated hyenas.

Mr. Way-too-eager-on-the-dance-floor
In the most underrated of freshmen mistakes, these are the fellows who pull the ultimate amateur move: tearing up the dance floor in a manner that elicits stares and gawks from all directions. Now I know that all of you can’t wait to get your feet wet out there and show the world your sweet steps. But please, be sensible and have fun in a way that minimizes sketchy grinding and awkward two-stepping.