Is it just me or is there something incredibly demoralizing, perhaps a tad humiliating about selling back books at the end of the semester? Here you come, fresh out of finals, bursting, nearly skipping with end of the year joy, ready to rid yourself of the detritus of the past semester. And you stand in line for half an hour, finally make it up to the buy-back book table, after watching the students before you make major bank with their ginormous text books, walking away with fists full of cash. And you hand over your pile of books, watching hopefully as the sullen girl behind the counter types information into the mysterious, all-knowing college book database. And then the counter girl looks up at you and announces in a clear, loud voice (so that everyone in line can hear) "That'll be a dollar fifty." One dollar and fifty cents. And suddenly it isn't just counter girl, but the entire academic institution doling out your pathetic and meager sentence. I'll drop the first person now, because obviously this has happened to me on not one but many occasions. There's something so depressing about receiving such a trifling dollar amount on a book you spent weeks, sometimes even months on, a book that cost five or six times more money just three and a half months prior. Of course the text book industry is a scam, everyone knows that. Books go out of print practically every week, with a new one popping up in its place that is nearly identical except for maybe an added footnote. Yet I still manage to convince myself every time that I might actually get some substantial money. And time and again, I get one dollar, two, on rare occasions possibly four. I watch my books get tossed into a box, reach out for the meager amount of money, and walk away feeling like the college has just told me, in no uncertain terms, that the contents of my head are worth as much as a McDonald's value meal. Sigh.
Also, as I stood in line to sell back my books (the line happened to be right in front of one of the freshman dormitories) I watched the freshman girls go in and out of the dorm and I was struck by the simultaneous sensations of missing freshman year and of being so insanely happy that I am no longer one of those girls. Every girl I saw brought up an instant memory. The girl in pajama pants stumbling back from Craig Cafeteria, barely able to stand up straight after no doubt an interesting night. The girls hugging outside of the dorm doors, wishing each other Merry Christmases, inexplicably close to people they have only known for four months. All of the girls going in and out of the Hungry Cougar. I can remember literally hundreds of lunches from that place, poor quality deli wraps and make your own salads. I can't help but feel instantly affectionate towards these girls, because they are all so obviously thrilled with their relatively new independence but still very transparently unsure of themselves. My freshman year in college (especially first semester) is this insane blur, but underneath all of it was this undercurrent of utter terror, being in a new place with new people, everything heightened and surreal. I realize now that it's necessary to be scared shitless for a while, because it shakes everything up and forces you to become a new person, one who can handle living alone and making your own decisions. But when you're going through freshman year, it's all about disguising the fact that you have no idea what you're doing, because you're convinced that everyone else does in fact know what they are doing. The result is all of this faux confidence and loudness and bravado. So I see these girls (who by the way are starting to look impossibly young) and despite their somewhat annoying tendencies I can't help but feel for them. I was them.
Yet, on a related note, there is something about freshman that needs to be addressed. If you are a freshman, before you walk out the door you need to look down at yourself, and if your shorts are the size of boy cut bathing suits, they are un...acceptable. I don't care how skinny you are, no one (who is not a horny boy or a creepy pervert) wants to see that much of you. And the only way to make this more unacceptable is by pairing those shorts with Uggs. Short shorts and Uggs literally defy logic. Uggs are designed to keep you warm. Tiny shorts are basically equivalent to wearing just underwear in terms of climate protection. Put them together and you are threatening to make the universe explode with the sheer senselessness of your outfit. So do us all a favor and reevaluate this combination, put on some real pants that would not make your mother blush, and save the Uggs for when it's not 70 degrees outside. Thanks!