Thursday, August 25, 2011

Nothing's Gonna Change My World

by Brendan Cavanagh

Upon returning to my seasonal home at Butler University for my sophomore year, I face a minor dilemma. Does the fact that I am no longer a freshman make me that much different than the innumerable n00bZ that clutter the campus with their false displays of confidence and know-how? Of course it does! It took me a year, and I successfully earned my right to strut about in a royally snobbish fashion, casting the most awfully scornful looks of dismay and disgust at the supposed freshmen (hope they're not previously unseen sophomores!) who mindlessly clutter the lunch line or lollygag talkatively to one another as I try to pass through the clogged arteries that are the school's corridors.

Of course, I don't really do all that, but damn it if I don't think these terribly sadistic thoughts all the time. I have this weird inherent desire to distinguish myself from freshmen this year; most likely an amalgamated fear of blending into the crowd and going on unrecognized for my extra year of experience. Perhaps this stems from my choice to distance myself from the fraternity process. Without a house porch upon which to smoke cigarettes and spy on passing freshmen, or myriad articles of clothing boasting the letters of a particular house, I rely solely upon aged external features to wordlessly profess my seniority, so to speak.

Then there are internal conflicts that cause me to question how much I've really changed in three months. For instance, I still make it a bi- or tri-daily custom to stroll along the very same adjacent neighborhoods blocks that I habitually traversed in my second semester as a freshman. As I pass along the same tired, posh houses I've viewed a million times before in undisturbed peace of mind, I could truly be any age, living out any year of college. Hardly anything has changed around the neighborhoods, and as for me- same outfits, same music, same routes- how can I honestly argue that there exists a major dichotomy between me and the person who walked these same streets last semester?

But what am I trying to prove? Why should I strive so hard to have freshmen respect that I am older than they are, and thus "more experienced?" If my freshman self conversed with my bitter, sophmoric conscience, he would think to himself, "Wow, that piece of mind is a dick."  I know that all I wanted last year was to be respected for what I was able to bring to the table, willing to be molded and impressed upon in the hopes that learning from an adept, intelligent and college-weary mind would better me. I assume most of these freshmen are the same; they know they're freshmen. They know they are the bottom of the barrel, but they also know that they have to start somewhere. What right do I have to discard their enthusiastic and humble beginnings of the next chapter of their lives? Hell, some of them are indubitably smarter and more talented than I am (for the time being). Instead of harnessing all of my energy into non-verbally assaulting their inferior status, I should strive to serve as some sort of mentor, aiding them in their first year of schooling. That being said, I will not help all of them because some are already obvious douchebags and are beyond my assistance. Try as I might, I'm not Oskar Schindler.

"Eleven hundred freshmen are now capable've done so much."
"What about this car...or my ring...I could save five more. But not that tall kid who rides a longboard; he's such a status-obsessed toolbox."

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