The Scarlet & Black

The Student News Site of Grinnell College

The Scarlet & Black

The Scarlet & Black

An Onion’s Labyrinth: Three things I would tell a first-year

College is an intimidating time for most students; they feel young, vulnerable and out of place. Fortunately for some first-years, an elder student will guide you towards a path that will be both fun and rewarding. I was one of these fortunate students my first year, and although my older comrades couldn’t quite teach me everything about Grinnell, they taught me that 8 suck and to sleep with ear buds the Saturday before the enormous Mac Field Frisbee Classic. Being an upperclassman myself, I have grown from personal experiences and from the advice of those with more collegiate experience. Provided below are some short personal anecdotes that elaborate some morals that I learned through the experience. These are the three things I wish someone told me when I was a first-year.

1. Save copious amounts of drinking for 10/10 and Block Party. 

I would like to briefly describe an incident that happened to me at 10/10 my first year to make this point clear. When I was a senior in high school, I prospied at Grinnell for a weekend in October. I spent my nights in a hotel room because the coach that was recruiting me told me that it was a busy time in the semester and that I should allow current students to study. That Sunday, I had arrived at the Dining Hall to meet with some of the current tennis squad for dinner. They had all just woken up. Little did I know that the night-time “study session” was spent on Mac Field during the campus’ biggest progressive party of the year. I knew what I had missed and it made me only more eager to attend Grinnell to find out what all of the hype was of this 10/10 party.

Fast forward 365 days. I groggily awake in my third floor room in Langan Hall around two in the afternoon. My roommate is still asleep —supposedly he was drinking as heavily as I had the previous night. I roll out of my comfortably warm fetal position and a massive rush of pain fills the back of my head. “Ohhhhh, Gawwwddd.” I usually sleep with my phone next to me, but it’s no longer in sight. I ask my roommate and he tells me that I lost it the previous night. B-E-A-UTIFUL, I tell myself. I arise out of my bed like a bear coming out of hibernation. Bewildered and confused, I look around. The room doesn’t even seem like mine anymore; there are different peoples’ clothes and beer cans scattered across the room. I look for clues alluding to what had happened the night before, but all I find is dried throw up on the ground. I walk to the desk, open up my laptop and the black screen awakes. Google Maps pops up, and right there on the maps search bar is sloppily entered, “miyyyy phonnee.” And to think that exactly a year before I had absolutely no idea what the significance of 10/10 was. Moral of the story: Save your drinking for 10/10 and Block Party.

2. Forget others’ opinions.

Last year I attended a Macklemore concert in Minnesota with some students from Grinnell. If you haven’t attended a Macklemore concert, then I suggest you do; he makes them fun. So when he announced that he wanted two volunteers from the crowd to join him on stage to participate in a cry-off, I immediately wanted to join. Thoughts of wowing the crowd (and perhaps Macklemore) filled my mind with the illustrious Liam Neeson crying scene from Schindler’s List that I was about to reenact. Perhaps, I figured, If I could impress Macklemore maybe he could introduce me to people in showbiz. All I had to do was show this crowd a true down-to-earth cry. But I never did it. Hell, I never even raised my hand to volunteer, I was so scared of what others would think of me. I’ve always had some fantasy of acting in film and, according to my overconfident and sporadic mind this was my chance. However, it was a chance I never took for fear of being judged by people in the crowd if they saw me fail. Moral of the story: Don’t not attempt something you desire because you’re afraid of what others will think of you if you fail. 

3. Try something completely new. 

In high school I was a two-sport athlete. I played tennis and swung a lacrosse stick at other “lax bros.” When I came to college, I continued my involvement in tennis, but I also (accidentally) pursued a new interest. One of the members of the tennis team thought it would be funny if he and others on the team signed up for an Introduction to Acting course. Great, I thought, it would be fun, easy, and I’d still have the opportunity to see my friends in class. However, as I attended the class I realized that acting was so much more than the joke I thought it was. It allowed me to express myself coherently and accurately, something that is quite difficult for somebody who suffers from A.D.H.D. I could imagine and create all of the idiosyncratic qualities I interpreted my character to possess, and I could bring them to the stage. I loved it. The next semester I participated in my first play, attended the 200-level acting course and accepted an internship at a comedy theatre company in New York City. I’ll forever be grateful that I stumbled upon theatre, because it was something I would never have tried were it not for my friend recommending it. Moral of the story: Embrace different and unique opportunities.

Leave a Comment
More to Discover
Donate to The Scarlet & Black
Our Goal

Comments (0)

All The Scarlet & Black Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *