Oh, to be young again!

by Rob Valet | 1/10/01 6:00am

I must admit that, as I begin my senior winter, I am starting to feel rather old. Back when I was a carefree little freshman (1997-8, when most of you still had zits or braces, or both!), I used to laugh when my senior friends stressed about grad schools or finding jobs. I laughed even harder when they would tell me about Dartmouth life back in the day.

Now, though, I'm that old guy. Back in my day, we had to trudge miles through the snow (I lived in the River freshman year) to Alumni Hall to check in for the term--none of this new-fangled computerized check-in. If you wanted to change classes, you stood in line all day at the Registrar's to have them change your classes for you. Bannerstudent makes you soft, I say! If you wanted ice cream at Food Court, there was no Edy's machine. We had to eat the crappy fro-yo, and we damn well tried to enjoy it, because we needed the extra calories to make sure we survived the winter trek back to the River--assuming we weren't killed by a five-hundred pound load of snow falling off Gold Coast, before they changed the roofs to those wussy copper plates that the snow slides right off far before it reaches lethal density.

You kids have it easy! There was no housing draw prior to last year. ORL didn't have computers either--instead, Lynn Rosenblum and the gang would throw darts at a big campus map to see what room you got (I will admit that there used to be enough darts leftover for most of the sophomores to get rooms).

And if you think A-lot is absurdly far now, my freshman year it used to be in Rutland! You lazy-ass complainers! The new A-lot is easily within an hour's walk!

Of course, Uncle Rob will admit some things are worse nowadays. Back in the day, we used to have bonfires, keg jumps, and parties without worrying so much about whether somebody might get sued or something. We used to be able to pick up printouts in the heap of scrap metal formerly known as Kiewit, instead of voyaging deep into the earth's core via the stairways in Berry that lead to the ever-elusive subterranean printout window. Plus, we used to be able to hook up without worrying about STDs, because generally the freshmen class was clean.

On the whole, though, it is a good time to be at Dartmouth, so for those of you with a few years left, make the most of it. Take interesting classes, go to lots of parties, spend time with your friends, and change your class schedule five hundred times each term just because now you don't have to get out of your dorm room chair to do it. But most of all, enjoy your youth.

Oh to be young again! After 21, I gather that it is pretty much all downhill. There aren't any more privileges that come with additional birthdays (ask me how psyched I am to be able to rent a car when I'm twenty five); pretty much you just get older. Once you hit fifty, the AARP puts you on their mailing list, and after that all that's left of this ephemeral existence to grasp for are the senior citizen discounts. On an aside, I am indeed already planning a rather elaborate mid-life crisis, in case anyone was wondering.

So get out there and enjoy your youth, you whippersnappers. It goes pretty quickly. Although in my old age I forget whether Dartmouth still allows this or not, I nevertheless challenge you younguns to a game of pong.