College = Bizzaroland

Freshmen, for the first time in your lifes you are truly the masters of your own domains in terms of classes. You now know that there is no immediate consequence for missing a big lecture. Stay out till three on a Monday? Say adios to 8 am Spanish! Hung over from Throwback Thursday? Good night, Sweet Prince of English 20! Tired because you went to your fifth midnight viewing of American Pie 2? You have horrible taste in movies!

However, as your colleague, friend and lover (why haven't you called, baby?), I must warn you that missing classes is not all drinking and pie-humping. If you read the previous paragraph closely, you will notice that I said that there are no immediate consequences for skipping class. The belated consequences of skipping class are great. It's like getting chlamydia; although it may provide you with a bit of immediate gratitude, it will come back to make your genitals burn when you urinate.

You may think that because now you don't live with your parents that you live in the real world. I am here to correct your misconception. College isn't the real world. College is bizarroland.

If you take the Alex's parents school of thought, being a student is your full-time job. So for all of this labor that you put in at the "office," probably fifteen hours a week, plus six to eight hours (or minutes, if you're me) per week of "out of the office" work. This adds up to a 21-hour-per-week job that pays negative six thousand dollars every five months. At this point, I would like to return to my thesis, which is that College is bizarroland.

Now that you're on your own and paying to work, you need a place to stay. Next year, many of you freshmen will head off campus to live in your first apartment. But it's not really your apartment, now is it? Your parents are going to take care of that, because you sure as hell can't pay for that apartment with that negative salary your job is paying you. What about food? If you avoid the grocery store, you can eat lunch at Brady Commons or at Memorial Union. If you use Up Front or Student Charge, it's not really your food, is it? Thanks again, Mom and Dad! I wish you were here to enjoy this delicious taco from Taco Bell made with delicious ass-meat!

Now, of course, there is the case where the students put themselves through school. These hard-working students have the misfortune of being exposed to the real world four years earlier than the rest of us. After taking 21 hours of classes (because these folks are invariably triple majors), they return home, eat a dinner of Ramen noodles and/or breakfast cereal and then leave to go work at their unpaid internships raising the dead at Boone County Hospital. They get off at eleven and then go work their night job at Denny's until their 8 am Microbiolecular Chemiphysical Sciences class.

The moral of this column is this: The next time you're at Denny's, ask yourself this: "Is that really my Grand Slam Breakfast?" If the answer is no and the person serving you looks like they have had about as much sleep as someone on a three-day cocaine binge, tip them well. They might be trying to put themselves through school. Besides, cocaine is really expensive.

14 September 2001