Fresh to death

Hey, you. Freshman. Yeah, I’m talking to you – walking down Forsyth Street in a group consisting of everyone who lives on your floor, uploading 200 pictures to Facebook every time your older sibling is in town and buys you some Natty Ice you can jam into your backpack.

Don’t tune out yet, freshman. I know you have a game of Mario Kart on pause and a cup of Ramen brewing, but I want to drop some knowledge on you that might seem harsh now (and that you probably won’t thank me for later) but that I wish was imparted to me upon my arrival at this wonderful institution.

Although I know the year is coming to a close, be sure to read closely, because the only thing worse than a freshman is a sophomore who acts like a freshman.

First off, you have and will continue to make a fool of yourself, pretty much on a daily basis, and there is nothing you can do about it. Everyone who has been a freshman before knows your whole grade has no idea what’s going on and that all of you have about two things on your mind at all times: getting drunk and getting down.

Obviously, everyone in college thinks about these two things and virtually nothing else, but the difference between them and you, freshman, is that these things are generally much more accessible for them, to a hilarious degree.

But for some reason, the way freshmen go about acquiring said intoxication and temporary companionship usually results in just bad things: mortification, and pain (I’ll get into the second part later).

For the record, no one at Northeastern wants you to bust into their house party because you got a text that it was “bangin,’” or heard Cee-Lo Green playing at full volume while you and your buddies were cruising down Hemenway Street.

For the most part, mostly because of its sheer size, Northeastern is a school of small parties where everyone knows each other. Trust me, I learned this the hard way. I can’t even count how many apartments I busted into amid jeers of “fresshhhmmaaaannnn” – everyone could always tell – just to find there were actually only four people still in attendance, all sitting on a couch and staring at the weird girl who just showed up with her overdressed friends. Inevitably, at least one will be asleep and two will be engaged in a gross, sloppy game of tonsil hockey. And worse – all the booze would have run out two hours ago.

I tell you this because when I look back on all the dumb stuff I did my entire first year I wish I could erase 90 percent of it: Things like sleeping on everyone and anyone’s couch, drinking excessively and inappropriately, and writing a column for The News bitching about my roommate sexiling me.

In a freshmen dorm, everything feels like either a competition or part of a silent loyalty agreement, and if you don’t stick with your residence hall buddies it can feel hard to find new friends. Most of the people who lived with me that year still hang out with just each other. If that sounds as vomit-inducing to you as it did for me, just join a club and be chatty to ensure smooth sailing on the S.S. Friendship for the next four years or so.

When I joined this paper and started being taken to parties (and not inviting my entire dorm to join), it was like I was committing some kind of inexcusable sin. How dare I party without them? How dare I walk down Forsyth Street without 30 other freshmen en masse around me like cannon fodder, sharing vodka out of Poland Spring bottles and falling down in the street sometime around 10 p.m.?

One “competitive” night when I was the ripe old age of 17, a friend and I decided on Halloween that we would be the ones to have actual fun; we would no longer settle for spending our 50th night in a row drinking in Kerr Hall while the stoner boys downstairs played six hours of Super Smash Bros.

My friend and I, let’s call her Anna, came upon a glorious MIT frat party on the Fenway, where I quickly switched out my Bob Ross afro for a military helmet and sunglasses I found lying around. For those who are out of the loop, Bob Ross is the hippie that paints “Happy Trees.” I wasn’t lying when I said freshmen year was embarrassing.

Anna and I became friends with some of the brothers, who took us onto the roof deck. God, we were so cool. It’s like we had finally found a place we could call our own. We were, literally, on top of the world. That is, until Anna got so distracted talking on her cell phone she fell through a hole in the roof to the floor below. When I ran down the stairs and saw her lying on the ground, I sprang into action – I found a frat guy dressed as a doctor to come assess her wounds, which he deemed minor. She was going to live to booze another day! Well, actually, she broke her foot. Whoops.

All of this freshmen talk reminds me of a quote from an author you probably had to read last year (in high school), Kurt Vonnegut. In his book, “God Bless You, Mr. Rosewater,” the protaganist plans a speech for newborn twins; in the most self-righteous way possible, I think this quote would also be an appropriate speech for incoming freshmen.

Take notes, President Aoun.

“Hello, babies,” he wrote. “Welcome to Earth. It’s hot in the summer and cold in the winter. It’s round and wet and crowded. At the outside, babies, you’ve got about a hundred years here.  There’s only one rule that I know of, babies — God damn it, you’ve got to be kind.”

So, moral of the story:  Make older friends. They will invite you to parties, where you can be stupid in an enclosed area, and hopefully they will try hard not to judge you for it. Just pray to God none of your loser dorm-mates will hear the music when they’re nearby and bust in on you doing the Running Man, talking about how uncool they all are for staying home to play Nintendo and pound Four Loko.

– Rachel Zarrell can be reached at [email protected].

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