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The 5 Things to Hate About College… Aren’t What you Think Part 1

I love me a good Cracked.com article.  They’re one of my favorite methods of procrastination, as a matter of fact.  But I’ve never written for them.  Here’s something in their style, though.

At my hated old high school, they loved drilling into us how much we would hate college and wish forever that we were back at the gulag (my word not theirs).  Fat chance in anyone’s book, I should say, but I will give them this much– there are plenty of things not to like about college.  But not necessarily the things they try to make you scared of.

One of my favorite undergraduate instructors once said “never put a disclaimer on your work,” and I’m so sorry, Professor, but I think here I must.

As an alum of one of the few single-sex colleges left in the United States, I might not be what you’d call an “average” college-student.  But the hell with that.  At my college (I won’t say where), we have classes, a dining hall, a Physical Activities Center, clubs, a whacky mascot, and too-high tuition.  What’s the difference?

Let me start, and then we’ll all go and have tea and biscuits.

5. People Expect You To Get Fat

Stop me if you’ve heard this… “One can never be too rich or too thin.”  In this all too fat-conscious country, the Wallis Simpson’s words take on new meaning.  Twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week… we’re bombarded with a similar message, which roughly goes into the following translation; “YOU’RE TOO FAT!!!”

Always a Yahoo! Story, on the news, in the papers… the Black Plague’s got nothing on the Obesity Epidemic, media-wise.  And of course, right behind the Obesity Epidemic stories is the dreaded Freshman Fifteen.  A healthy Joe College moves into his first dorm, lives off of horrible cafeteria food, three meals a day, supplementing it with Ramen noodles, fast food, Domino’s, Oreo’s, and bang!  He gains fifteen pounds, and joins the ranks of those stricken by the epidemic.

Now, I am plus-sized.  I admit that more freely than a lot of things.    But my doctor has never said the two dreaded words, “lose weight,” so get the fuck off my case.  Every time I go home for a break, and I’m not the only one… my two roommates have complained about this, too, everyone checks me (or them) out.  It’s true.  First the eyes go to my thighs, then up’ard, and up’ard, until they finally get to my face.

They say, “You look good.”

Yes, I haven’t visibly gained weight.  Actually, I’ve lost it.  Back when I was an undergrad, I owed it to the campus’ geography, insane meal plan, and one semester’s insane internship that had me missing dinner on average 3 nights a week.  Now it’s mostly due to the fact that I’m living on a grad student’s stipend and student loans.  But that’s a horse of a different color– different expectations and pre-revolutionary French choreography.  It’s just the undergrad level for now.

4. The Stereotypes (Part 1)

Okay, let’s face it.  We all fucking hate stereotypes, ethnic, gender, or otherwise.  Black women aren’t sassy bitches; Japanese people don’t take pictures and bow all the time, and college students are not drunken slags.  Sure, some people everywhere fit some stereotype, but take it as a general rule of thumb— stereotypes are 99% pure bullshit!

Now, I like the frat-house classic Animal House.  Who doesn’t crack up at seeing John Belushi’s eyebrow-tricks, or when the horse has a heart-attack in the dean’s office?  Okay, my dad, but he doesn’t count.  He was in college thirty-odd years ago; we’re not talking about him.

My point is, though, everywhere you go… people expect college students to be trouble.  I’ve had staff at the public library follow me and assure each other that the college would take responsibility for me (um, what?).  Other friends have had similar experiences in shops, and one potential employer told my roommate to her face that she didn’t hire students from our college.  And then there was the harassment the uniformed ROTC students put up with on Election Day junior year.

Really, people.  We just want an education, and some fun after the grim Haitian novels, quadratic formulas, and sheep’s brains.  Try treating us like humans, not ticking time bombs.

End of Part 1.  Intermission.

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