Nobody Loves Me, I'll Just Eat Mud

by Linda Romano | 10/27/00 5:00am

I just can't get the hang of this Homecoming thing. I understand that it's definitely the biggest Dartmouth weekend; the other two just don't measure up to the fall classic. It's hard to get warm and fuzzy about Carnival traditions when you can't feel your ears, and don't even try talking to me about that stuff during the happy barbecue that is Green Key. Homecoming actually has a point -- I just don't know how I feel about that point.

I'm really trying to form some sort of an opinion, but the only way I can think of to describe it is as "very crowded Dartmouth weekend." To me, it's just another part of the leaf-watching conspiracy, where herds of people invade campus and make driving down Main Street an all-day event. Don't people have their own homes?

Frankly, I blame this attitude on my upbringing. I don't have much of a foundation for homecoming traditions. Dartmouth is the first place for me where homecoming has been more than a mythical event that meant something only in the context of "Saved by the Bell." The idea of crowning a Homecoming King and Queen was completely alien to me. My school couldn't even pull off a dance, let alone one where there was some kind of culminating event that required a vote. And as for the football part, I stopped caring after ninth grade, when the game was cancelled because the officials forgot to show up. Or maybe because it was drizzling; I don't remember.

My roommate has homecoming down to a science. Driving back from McDonald's today, I told her about my (lack of) feelings towards homecoming, and I got an earful from her. She talked about seeing people in their number jerseys, and knowing both verses to the alma mater. We're a part of something bigger than ourselves. I heard a genuine excitement in her voice, and listening to her, I could almost get swept up into it. Almost.

Part of me wishes I were a 'shwoman again -- my role in Homecoming was crystal clear. I was supposed to paint myself green, run, yell and run some more. It's anticlimactic after that. I'm a senior -- so what? It's almost easier to think about my role in next year's homecoming than to try and find a role for myself this year.

Each year, when I see flocks of alums, all of them decked out in their Dartmouth best, troop into the football game, I wonder: will I want to come home? Will it even be my home to come back to? Am I wrong to assume that I can? Maybe it will be like going home for the first time freshman year. I remember that I got really upset when I couldn't find my way upstairs to my room with the lights off. I was home, but I wasn't. I still go to this school, and I get lost in the library. I don't even want to think about how clueless I'll be if I come back.

So all of this has resulted in a somewhat ambiguous attitude towards the upcoming weekend, and here I am, about to face my last homecoming as an undergraduate. How should I treat this "big" weekend? Should I party like it's Senior Week? Should I take a nostalgia trip? Torment some innocent '04s? Make some kind of sacrifice on the bonfire? (Please do not get rid of it! A really big fire just might be enough to bring me back. Besides, what are the 'shmen supposed to do? Run around a pile of grass? Not cool.)

So, 'shmen, forgive me if I take time away from all my studying (ha!) to glare at you this weekend. I'm jealous -- but not of the attention you get. You have four years -- make sure to turn Dartmouth into a place that you want to come home to.