Crossing the X: From a Female Perspective

By Tarika Narain | 8/10/16 11:59am

As a ’17 on for this summer term, I’m affectionately referred to as my sorority’s resident SWUG (senior washed up girl). When (and if) I arrive at tails, people look at me with a mixture of excitement and pity. They pat me on the back and say they’re happy to see me, but then turn to continue socializing with their new friends. Meanwhile, I make a beeline for the drinks table, around which I continue to hover for most of the night.

But my social life wasn’t always this way. I was also here for my freshman summer (doing a vague thing called “research,” which involved turtles and a lot of pong). All I’ll say is that my social life couldn’t have been more different than it is now. So if you’re a sophomore girl, curious about what really happens when you cross the X, here’s the truth: it’s both a blessing and a curse. Mostly a blessing.

Here’s what changes:

Getting dressed

Freshman year: Getting dressed is an art. Every morning you try on a ton of different clothes and pick the outfit that’s most likely to impress the cute boy you sit near in class. You spend ten minutes doing your makeup and hair.
Senior year: You sleep that extra half an hour. When you finally get up, you check the weather app on your phone. If it’s hot, you throw on a tank top and athletic shorts. If it’s cold, a sweatshirt and leggings. You glance in the mirror, shrug and head to class.

Note-taking in class

Freshman year: You write down anything the professor says. You hang on to his or her every word. You sit completely upright and scribble in your perfectly organized binder.
Senior year: You pull out a piece of scrap paper from the bottom of your bag. You don’t have a pencil, but you found a crayon, so you use that. You spend most of class taking BuzzFeed quizzes (“What does your favorite cat say about your taste in men?”) or reading your Cosmopolitan horoscope. Occasionally, you write down words like “intersectionality” or “multifaceted” with your crayon.

Studying in the library

Freshman year: You put 110% effort into your work. You head to the library right after class and finish your reading. You take notes while you read so you can make an intelligent point in your next class and maybe even get a citation.
Senior year: You sit on FFB and complain about how much you hate doing work while you repeatedly check Facebook and Instagram on your phone. Your books are still in your bag. After three hours of procrastination, you get yourself a KAF cupcake as a treat and head home to nap.


Freshman year: You invite everyone you know to come drink in your room. You play “Text or Shot” or have power hours with the alcohol your friend’s friend’s friend’s older brother’s friend bought for you while you meet a ton of new people. You get too drunk and might not actually make it out of your dorm.
Senior year: You wake up from your pre-tails nap, realize you forgot to shower and aggressively apply deodorant and maybe spray perfume on yourself if you’re feeling fancy. If tails are at a frat or sorority where you know people, you go. If you’re feeling social, you invite your three friends to go out for Molly’s margs. You get excited about happy hours and one-dollar pizza specials. If you don’t want to be social, you nurse a bottle of wine while you watch “The Bachelorette” by yourself. You get too drunk and go to bed.

Going out

Freshman year: You frat-hop in a cute top and tiny jean shorts, hitting up all of frat row in the span of four hours. You sit and watch pong in different basements, smiling at everyone and making conversation with randos. You flirt and accept invitations to play pong with brothers you don’t know, but insist that the boy isn’t interested in you and “we’re just friends.” At the end of the night, you seek out a dance party at TDX in order to get your DFMO on. You probably hook up with a sweet frat bro.
Senior year: You go to the one frat you like in the hopes of playing pong. No one asks you to play, so you frantically GroupMe out to everyone you know saying you need one. You avoid dance parties like the plague. If you go, you find an elevated space where you can dance above the crowd with your three friends. Then you hit up EBAs’ physical plant and go to bed.

Being in a relationship

Freshman year: You’re in an open relationship with your high school significant other. You go out with the sole intent of meeting a new love interest. You tell your suitors you want to keep it casual. You live for the hookup scene. You respond to all your Friendsy messages and send hints to cute guys you’re interested in.
Senior year: You’re probably in a relationship with someone your age. If not, you surf Friendsy, decide you’re too good for everyone at this school and resign yourself to playing pong instead. Pong is your one true love. But before you go to bed, you respond to the Friendsy message you scoffed at earlier with just your room number. No response. You eat a bag of popcorn, put in your retainer and go to bed.

Tarika Narain