Life would suck without interesting, maybe not hugely challenging, but somewhat odd new experiences. The apt example right now, and as a junior one I can look back on with decent hindsight, is my first day in college.
I remember it vividly as a mixture of excitement, hysteria and utter strangeness. It was a mess of trying to find my way to classes, figuring out midway that I had bought the wrong book for a class — to this day I am still at a loss as to how that transpired — and making sure I heard everything my instructors said since I was too green to be confident. I remember spotting an elderly man behind what I now know as Bryan Hall who was wearing a kilt. I still do not know who he is though I have seen him many times. It was also unbelievably hot, as I recall. The dorm where I lived felt like a furnace so my roommate and I fit together two box fans into the one window we had, holding it all together with a complicated system of bungee cords. It did not help much, it just kept hot air moving around the room. By the time my classes for the day were over and done with, a large group of us from the floor I was living on trekked down to the nearest cafeteria, sat there, ate chicken strips, and shared our stories from the day. I did not sleep that night because of the heat.
It was one of those days that helped determine what I thought the future had in store for me. Because I was fortunate enough to live in a place full of strong personalities that all got along, I knew from that day on I would have fun here at Washington State University.
To be realistic, by comparison to others my first day seems mundane. Joining a Greek organization makes things completely different. Although personally I find the whole thing pointless, I do not intend to knock the experience of others here.
Kevin Stenberg, a junior materials science student, had an insane week for lack of a better word, and he could not find a way to express his experience except with the words “extremely tiring,"by which he meant physically. Apparently, he slept for 13 hours after it was all over and could have kept going.
In contrast, Stephen Trone, a junior mechanical engineering student who was initiated into the same fraternity last year, was obviously less taxed, and able to devote more time to school work. His week this year was more like mine, which is to say he was coming back for the third time, knew where everything was, who to talk to, as well as what he needed to do, making it easy to orient himself and smoothly get back into the game.
Another apparently less hectic week was that of Cole Delaney, a freshman who intends to learn mechanical engineering and who is also joining a fraternity. He emphasized that his time consisted of, most importantly, “a lot of bonding … getting to know the guys in the house, learning the schedule, (and) how things go.” He and his fellow initiates had to learn the responsibilities of living in a fraternity, which include primarily doing chores around the house, and carrying their own weight.
One of my own favorite memories was when my dorm buddies and I took it upon ourselves to steal the furniture from the study room on the floor above us in our dorm. This was our way, as we thought by a semi-twisted feat of logic, of protesting. Our study room, on top of being much smaller than theirs, had furniture that was totally inferior. Ours must have been from the'70s or something, whereas they possessed stuff that was practically new. As we believed, and as I still do believe, we deserved more equitable treatment, that is, a fairer distribution of luxury. Incidentally, for all I know, things might still be unequal there. In any case, in the middle of the night, at about 4 a.m., we covertly removed a couple large easy-chairs and a sofa. We were caught in the act. I think we made too much noise; they saw us heading down the staircase with their couch. We were reprimanded, against which our R.A. defended us, explaining our grievances. Suffice it to say, during all of this we were laughing. It was hilarious just how seriously everyone seemed to take the incident.
I cannot imagine how dull things would be without some spontaneity, and, crucially, some responsibility—as I hope Mr. Delaney’s example points to. If you think yourself boring, or bored, do not fall into believing such a thing is inevitable. You can change it, but like many if not most things that are satisfying, they take willpower to obtain, as well to maintain, which is a rough way of describing what it means to have and to shoulder good responsibilities.