Tuesday, March 29, 2005

The Best Years of Our Lives

Based on my experience as a miserable freshman at Northwestern University, I can say that Matt is exactly right in his diagnosis of why Harvard's social life apparently sucks.

People at Northwestern also had a host of reasons why the university was responsible for their collective spectacular failure at getting laid and the all-night dorm lounge boggle marathons (my favorite: the administration will not schedule keg parties in university buildings, so how are we supposed to get beer??). Like the Harvard students, Northwestern students also ignored the fact that, en masse, the student body sucked. Even frat parties, the last-resort bastion of underage hedonism was no refuge, as frats were voluntarily going dry and - honest to God - having smoothie parties. While the similarities between Harvard and Northwestern social life abound, Northwestern probably sucks slightly more, as in addition to the misery caused by being generally lame, obsessive, socially maladjusted suckwads, Northwestern students bear the further injustice that they are only at Northwestern because they got rejected from Harvard.

Many complain that the problem is the town of Evanston. And granted, Evanston makes the Perm Gulag look like South Padre. However, I'd like to note that Chicago is a short train ride away, while pointing all such plaintiffs to Exhibit A: College Station. Now, the Aggies may be backwards, inbred yokels with a strange fascist streak, no pass protection, and an uncomfortable relationship with livestock, BUT, they live in the most boring town in the middle-of-nowhere Texas and they have fun. Not my kind of fun, mind you. But undeniable fun.

But one day a year, ol' NU gets crazy and has a big party called 'Dillo Day. The way I heard it, this tradition was started by some students from Texas who couldn't handle the stuffy atmosphere and wanted to have some fun. I remember the lead-up to my first and only Dillo Day. Somebody knew somebody who knew somebody who would be coming down from Madison and would maybe have pot! And somebody's big brother was coming through town and could probably find a way to get us some alcohol! Oh my God! It'll almost be like college!!

See if you can handle this kind of fun:

An outdoor game of caps can only mean one thing [umm...you're in highschool? you just got kicked out of the bar? it's Tuesday morning?-ss] :it's Dillo Day. It only took 2 hours of playing for the cops to come to this party and send everyone back inside the apartment.

Folks, except for the editorial comments, that's an actual caption. I could not make this up. And here's how one Dillo Day party-goer described a day of her precious youth that she will never get back:
"My favorite part was doing cartwheels on the lakefill," Muzzy said. "That's not something you get to do everyday."
I'm going to cry.

I for one spent Dillo Day so wasted that later in the evening when my boyfriend came to pick me up for our weekend trip to Michigan, he found me sitting on the floor with my head and upper torso in my closet, which was my way of attempting to pack. "What'm i sbosed to bring?" He was drunk too so all he could muster was "toothbrush" so that's all I brought for the weekend of meeting his Mom. Better than cartwheels? Probably not. It was an unpleasant year. But do I blame the school? No. I blame my peers.

When I announced I was transfering to the University of Texas, there was this uncomfortable silence around me. "You're really going to go to a state school?" my closest friends would venture, testing me gingerly, in case I hadn't realized. We were from different worlds, these kids and I, and all my explaining could not convey my idea of college, and why I did not find this idea of college embodied at Northwestern. This lasted until one of them came to visit me in Austin for Spring Break, which is of course fucking Shangri-La, then she returned to Evanston and cried for a month. I wish validation did not have to come in the form of weeping, crumpled friends, but we don't choose these things.

[DISCLAIMER: This all, of course, only applies to the undergraduate program. The graduate schools are so fun they might as well call it the Ibiza School of Journalism. Honest!]


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