How To Survive The First Half of Sophomore Summer

by Nancy Lai | 7/27/01 5:00am

  1. Move in. Carry 12 50-pound boxes up four flights of stairs. Discover that if you take a short break on the second floor, you can make it up to your room without passing out. Contemplate taking up a life of Zen asceticism so as to make things easier on yourself. Reject such a thought as soon as you realize that existence would be utterly meaningless without your Forman Lean Mean Fat Reducing Grilling Machine, your collection of 5,000 Vogue magazines -- dating back to 1954 (you might at some point urgently need to refer to any one of them) and the pieces of scrap metal you've collected over the past term just in case you decide to take Sculpture II. Buy a back brace.

  2. Take the whole month of July to unpack because you can't figure out where to stash your knitting needles and yarn and the 20 pairs of shoes that you will never wear because Dartmouth is too grassy and will not accommodate kitten-heels and stilettos. While your roommates are decorating, you decide not to put anything up -- that would require picking off all the Fun-tak left on your walls by the guys who used to live in your room. Snottily say: "I do not need posters to define myself." Convince yourself that little bits of yellow Fun-tak are quite aesthetically pleasing --much better than posters of The Clash and the '03 Bonfire.

  3. Relish the first couple of days without classes -- then feel smug that you are taking astronomy, painting and creative writing while friends complain that they're taking three govy classes. Acknowledge that art and writing are incredibly time-intensive but assume that since it's summer, all things will fall into place. Work will get done, fun will be had, you will sleep at least 12 hours a day -- there will be time for everything. Yay.

4.Plan to be a drinking fiend. Plan to binge as you have never binged before. Plan to maintain a constant B.A.C. of 4.0.

  1. Have plans thwarted by enforcement of Reagan administration's stupid policies regulating the consumption of alcohol and the hypocrisy of conservatives who whine about "too much government intervention" when it comes to welfare and health care but think it's OK when it comes to raising the drinking age. (Thank you, Professor D., for providing me with the info.)

6.Have fun. Go to the Organic Farm and learn how to hoe and transplant and learn that "squishing the potato beetles" does not mean "haha, just kidding, let's go have a swim" but actually does mean "squishing the potato beetles/eggs/larvae." Love getting dirty and love the Organic Farm and decide the meaning of life no longer lies within the ivory tower of academia but in farming. Decide that when you have your own organic farm up and running, you will have other people "squish the potato beetles."

  1. Have everyone ask you what you're majoring in now that the '03 class' major cards are all in. Tell them creative writing and studio art. Watch their eyes glaze over as they struggle to prevent themselves from asking one of two questions: "Now, how do you expect to become an investment banker like that?" or "Shit. That's so easy. What kinda slacker are you?" Instead, they usually manage to say, "Wow." Pause. "That's so creative!" Wonder if they were talking to govy majors or to econ kids, whether they'd say, respectively, "Wow. That's so governmental!" or "Wow. That's so economical!"

  2. Bitch about all the work you have to do while friends roll their eyes. They don't believe you. Eventually you stop complaining. Contemplate drinking turpentine and putting an end to it all when those friends who are taking three govy classes manage to spend the entire day at Tubestock while you are stuck 'til three in the afternoon working in the library checking out books to those crazy debate team rapscallions. If you hear the phrase "weapons of mass destruction" one more time, you will hurl yourself off Baker tower.

  3. Realize that what they told you on the first day of high school rings true for Sophomore Summer as well: "You can do work, you can have a social life, you can sleep. Pick two."

  4. Decide to forego the sleep.

(Respectfully dedicated to my ENGL 82 class, especially Kim, roommate and constant source of answers to such important questions as: "Kim, what's the word for that thing where you, like, you know?" and "How do you say when you, like, do that thing?")