Winter break is over, everyone is pale, and campus has turned into a gray, windy hellscape. Welcome to spring semester at the University of Rochester! It’s a totally different animal compared to fall, and there’s a whole different number of things to expect/avoid, like seniors ruining their relationships in the panic before graduation, or people returning from abroad not being able to talk about anything else.
One quick thing before I get into it, though. This would go without saying at most colleges, but the University of Rochester isn’t most colleges. While we have a beautiful campus, a curriculum that encourages people to pursue their interests, and dedicated professors TA’s that take an interest in their students, one thing our school lacks is a student body that is responsive to social cues. When people ask about your break, just say “good,” and expect the same out of them. If you’re close with that person, or you’re committed enough to this conversation that one or more of you are sitting down, then it’s fine to move past small talk and tell them about whatever. If you’re both walking in opposite directions right before class, that’s probably not a good time to talk about your family ski trip, and if you do that in the tunnels, I hope you catch a rolling backpack to the ACL. That is all.
Election Season Is Coming: For all the poli-sci majors/people that took Econ 108 this fall, election season is now heating up, as are their takes on who will be president. The closer we get to November, the more you’ll see students on campus yelling at strangers, because that’s a thing normal, well-adjusted people do. I feel truly fortunate to not have to endure another election season fall semester at UR, but that’s still a few months away. For now, the primary elections will give you a glimpse into your peers’ beliefs and morals, and your professors’ political views. I understand it’s important for college students to be passionate about politics (“Who doesn’t love talking about global warming at parties?” – humanities majors), but inevitably people here take it way too far, because UR is filled with maniacs. If you really think your partially-educated self knows enough to expertly navigate issues like healthcare or foreign relations, that is some extremely arrogant shit, and your parents probably hated having you at family dinners over break. If you’re one of these people, just keep your semi-informed political rants limited to the bumper of your Volkswagen, I’ll keep my headphones in (not playing music so I have an excuse to not say hello to people—highly recommended move, btw), and we can all coexist in peace. Moving forward, as long as we remember not to throw any parties with any current candidates or former presidents as the theme, we should all survive the election just fine.
People Returning from Abroad Will Only Talk About One Thing: While it’s only natural to want to talk about what you just did for the last four months, students returning from abroad will make it a point for you to know all about their semester, as if you didn’t see their posts on social media that documented the entire thing. That’s fine, and I’m glad you all enjoyed your time abroad, but that doesn’t excuse people coming back and endlessly pointing out differences between Rochester and wherever they went. They don’t do this because they think you’ll find it interesting, but rather to make you feel bad about being stuck here. Is Barcelona warmer than Upstate New York? Who knew?! If you want these people to leave you alone, just ask them about the classes they took, because then they’ll realize you see through the fact that their semester was a thinly-veiled excuse to take easier classes in better weather. Of course, this is coming from someone that spent last fall abroad (see how I mentioned my own semester abroad twice? Can’t help it, I hate myself).
We Actually Get a Day Off: Mark your calendars for Monday, January 18th, because it’s MLK Day 2016, folks. This is the only day we join the rest of the country in normalcy by actually observing a holiday. It’s really nice to see UR get its priorities in order, even if just for a day. Our school is greedier than Jordan Belfort when it comes to giving us time off, so you have to give credit where credit is due. Thank you, President Seligman, for doing the obvious thing.
Seniors Will Let You Down: Not trying to make a comment on our schools’ ability to prepare us for postgrad life or anything, but many seniors are terrified of their near future. The truth is, a good portion of UR seniors have no clue what they’re doing with their lives, don’t know how to do adult stuff like cook or pay taxes, or have yet to master basic social interactions; realizing these things can be stressful. Everyone has their own way of coping, and your friends will probably turn into one of these people:
Bridge Burner: This can manifest itself in a few ways, most notably with breakups that end worse than The Sopranos. Most of all, you’re going to hear the phrase “I’m never going to see most of these people again” used as a rationale for some really terrible decision-making. That statement is for sure a red flag that someone is about to pull some Patrick Bateman-like shit, so you might just want to cut your losses in that friendship and wish them the best.
Job Hunter: Seniors find solidarity in this, but it depresses everybody else, faculty included. You’ll hear about how impossible it is to find a job, or how awful applying to grad school is, and this will remind you of your own mortality/inability to be hired someday yourself.
Victory Lapper: No way, did you already get a job? Congrats! I had no idea except for the fact that you work it into every conversation you have (cc: finance bros).
Nostalgic Sap: These people are like when Billy Madison goes back to his third grade classroom and warns his little fat friend to cherish it. While it’s true that college, much like third grade, goes by quickly, these people should just save their nostalgia—you’re just going to come back for Mel Weekend, see how life has gone on without you, and not come back the following year like everyone else. Also, I’m going to include anyone that chants “SENIORS” at parties in this category. Let it go.
People Will Complain About D-Day: This happens every year, without fail. People complain about the choice of artist(s) in every class’ Facebook group, as if that will accomplish anything. When D-Day rolls around, people actually end up enjoying it because everyone’s standard for fun plummets in the winter months, and people forget their disappointment in the first place.* My freshman year, Busta Rhymes CRUSHED D-Day. After the show, he promised us that he’d be back, and even added that he doesn’t break promises… don’t let me down again, Busta.
PS If you didn’t play that Murda Ma$e video at the top, you blew it.