St. Olaf Sentiments: December 5, 2014

First-years: your future

By Stephen Nolan and Nick Bowlin

Greetings, freshmen. You may have almost finished your first semester of college, but don’t think you’ve even come close to knowing everything there is to know about St. Olaf. The Hill is a deep, dark and mysterious place no Oxford comma, with so many secrets that it’s almost impossible to uncover all of them. There’s so much you need to experience, so much you need to learn, so much you need to know. I bet you don’t even know where Skifter Hall is.

Let’s start with the obvious. You’ve never experienced finals. Don’t think that just because you survived midterms without your parents pulling you out of school doesn’t mean that you’re at all prepared for finals. Tears will be shed and and angry yaks will be posted.

Finals week does have its silver linings, however. One night each semester, the Caf opens at night and serves breakfast food. It’s called Late Night Breakfast and you should be sure not to miss it. Not only do professors and even PDA himself serve the food, but it also will be one of few times in your life when you can eat bacon after dinner. No, the Caf eggs don’t taste any better at night, but it’s a finals tradition, so don’t question it!

You’ve never experienced Christmas Fest. Oh yes, that wonderful time of year when campus will be overloaded with old people wearing eccentric sweaters. The average age of people on campus goes up by 42 years during this week. It’s been scientifically proven. Additionally, prepare to have your taste buds blown or destroyed by the magic of lutefisk. If you’re feeling particularly daring, you can put it some in milk and drink the concoction instead. Just make sure to have a bucket nearby. And Christmas Fest itself is great. When else do all the St. Olaf choirs sing you to sleep?

Be ready to experience your first Interim class, and pray to your respective gods that you’re going to like the people you have to spend a ridiculous amount of time with through the month of January. Interim classes have completely different vibes than regular classes, and you’re sure to meet some cool new people that can become month-long friends. We always look forward to the feeling of starting a brand new class and knowing that mid-terms are barely a week away. Yay Interim!

The second half of freshman year will be devastating. You heard me. That’s right, some of you unlucky souls will discover that the “perfect” guy or girl you started dating right after the Awkward Dance isn’t “the one.” You’ll realize that maybe spending $200 on Friday Flowers in one semester might have been a bit excessive. Especially when you realize that the only reason you are dating is because you took Intro to Psychology together and both live in Ellingson.

Actually, what do we know? You and your special friend could defy the trend. Chances are, you’ll be just fine. And if when you do break up, you’ll survive and you’ll get along a lot better with your roommate now that your room is a double once again. Silver linings and all that.

Late April, you will run the gauntlet of room draw and it will scar you for life. Here’s a little game to play. Get your 10 best friends in a room. Think about how much you love and appreciate all of them. Now choose which four you want to say goodbye to, because that’s how many friends room draw will tear away from your life. I know you thought you would be meeting up with these same 10 bros at your class reunion in 30 years, but room draw has a way of squashing these fantasies. It’s basically like the Hunger Games, except nobody dies. Usually. And Jennifer Lawrence isn’t here.

It’s okay though. Things are never as bad as they sound. You’ll get through finals. Spring will eventually come, even if it isn’t until May 17, and the Adirondack chairs will reappear on the quad. You’ll forget about your first semester relationship you were so young and immature and you may even locate Skifter Hall. And in the words of the great wizard Albus Dumbledore, “happiness can be found even in the darkest of times, when one only remembers to turn on the light.”

bowlin@stolaf.edu

nolans@stolaf.edu

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