NARP Meets World
The Beginning of a New Era
It’s a cutthroat jungle out here at Dartmouth — a dog-eat-dog world where the only two things that can help you make it in life are social capital and a slick pair of Sperry’s. Although I had neither of these things when I came up to Hanover as a youngblood freshman, I was still pretty cocky. I had big hopes, ambitious aspirations and a beautiful flow of hair. But in just a mere year, I had lost it all. My dreams were shattered, my pride had been pummeled to the ground and my hair was gone after I buzzed it off with a friend. Over my freshman year, I looked at myself through the reflection of my decrepit mirror in the even more run-down Russell Sage dorm room. Day by day, I saw a handsome man full of youth and vigor slowly transform into a jaw-sunken man with jadedness painted across his face.
At this point, you might be asking yourself, “Matt, you are a good looking man based off of your writer’s profile on The Dartmouth’s website. What could have ever happened to such a heartthrob that would render him impotent?” Well, my friends, the answer is two fold. Let me open your eyes to the wonders of Photoshop, but more importantly the harsh reality at Dartmouth.
Here in the Big Green, there exists a bipartisan divide almost as old as time itself, deeply embedded within the social fabric of the College. That is, the jarring social divide between the Non-Athletic Regular Person and the Athlete. To put it bluntly, the Athlete has it all. These bronze-skinned Adonises with beautiful locks of curly brown hair and massive lacrosse sticks simply flourish in the social scene. They quickly consume almost all this college has to offer, leaving none but a few drips of social capital for the average NARP to sip through the means of a degree in economics and three Greek letters on a chest. As you can already tell from the demoralized tone of this insider article, I myself fall within the category of the NARP, a reality almost as sad as the fact that I am writing a column about being a NARP.
But it wasn’t always like this. There was once a time when I myself was a titan.
Back in the Gilded Age of high school, I had effortlessly climbed to the top of the social ladder through unparalleled charm, intelligence and wit. In just a few years, I had established myself as the pharaoh sitting on the top of my high school’s social pyramid. I was the head honcho, the big enchilada, the Alpha Male. Yet I was playing a dangerous game. In just a few terms at Dartmouth, my Tower of Babel had been taken away right under my feet, leaving me with my wings broken and my ego destroyed. Like Icarus, I was flying too close to the sun — I had been put in my place as a NARP.
You see, there are a few harsh realities of being a NARP that are just outright demoralizing. In my experience, the worst part about being a NARP is that athletes around me constantly overshadow me — both metaphorically and literally. By that, I mean that I am tiny. Back in my heyday, I was pretty confident with my height. Standing a whopping total of 5 feet and 8 inches, I of course wasn’t the tallest kid in my school by any means. However, what I lacked in height I could make up for with intelligence and great hair.
Unfortunately, these two things become moot when every single athlete on this campus not only has intelligence and great hair but also has a perfectly chiseled 6-feet-plus body. Here we see a classic example of David versus Goliath, except David doesn’t win in this match-up. More on the topic of size, I distinctly remember being really confused my first few days on campus as a freshman. Walking around my dorm, I remember asking myself why there were so many upperclassmen living in my freshman dorm. Turns out they were just really tall freshmen. Whoops. But one year later, as a forgotten sophomore, I am even more surprised by how some of the ’20s are even taller than my fellow ’19 athletes. At this rate, I am going to be a small speck by the time I am a washed-up senior. In addition, I am also going to be single forever because even Prince Charming stands no chance when he’s competing against a legion of athletic gods.
But there is a ray of sunshine shining through this darkness. If you’ve stayed with me up until this point, I might as well drop some pearls of wisdom while I still have your attention. My momma always told me that it doesn’t matter how many times you get knocked down, but rather how many times you get back up. Okay, I lied. I got that off the Internet. The point is, I’ve patted the dust off my butt and your boy Matt Yuen has the secrets to overcoming the nefarious NARP ceiling. Stay tuned for next week’s column, as I share how I rose to become the king of this middle-of-nowhere campus we call home.