I always assumed that I would join an eating club, but put no effort into understanding the process of joining. As such, I found myself in a foreign country, learning that I had not only missed the first round of sign-ins, but that bicker started immediately after break. I freaked at the thought of missing out on an invaluable Princeton experience and decided that I would bicker. However, if I bickered I would do it right and live up to my boarding school roots. Therefore, I set my sights on Ivy!
I missed the first day as I had not planned accordingly, and showed up to the second, nervous, excited, and determined not to be intimidated. Some member handed me a sheet, which consisted of a series of questions asking me about my interests. Others wrote novels, I simply answered, “We’ll talk about it?” Part of me was being cheeky, but mostly I hoped to promote some type of organic conversation. At times I regretted this refusal to summarize myself, as my lack of response was met with more than a few huffs. Yet it did lead to some interesting results as both parties scrambled to make conversation flow.
The first interviews were rough. I absorbed the tension surrounding me, talked quickly, muttered at times, didn’t make eye contact, and squirmed in my seat.
My second interview was, as I later learned, with an officer (You can tell by the ties?). I was asked why I wanted to join Ivy and answered by describing the scene of my one evening at the club. “People were dressed in heels, ties, mini-skirts, and jackets and were acting like two-year-olds, spilling drinks. I almost died. The floor was a swimming pool. What about the wood? Does no one care about the wood?” This rant was followed by my exclamation of, “This is not the epitome of sophistication!” and a messy attempt to salvage conversation with a number of positive comments about the nice moldings and pretty wall colors. After this atrocity, I admitted early defeat and decided to enjoy myself.
My attempts at conversation between interviews were hopeless. People stood in an impenetrable pack at the bottom of the stairs, waiting eagerly for their name to be called, though one girl did smile at me when she saw the glint of my VC&A bracelet. I quickly gave up socializing, plopped myself down on the leather couches, and sat in my fur coat enjoying the complimentary juice and cookies.
The rest of my interviews consisted of the following. I danced with some girls and attempted to look chill, but was extremely uncomfortable. I stood outside on the patio and watched a European dude smoke a cigarette. A boy and I traveled to Frist to pick up a package of pepper spray. I’d like to think we bonded over our mutual strain of the neurotic. A girl looked at my sheet with the names of people who had interviewed me thus far and asked me who I liked the least, found annoying, was a bitch. I pretended not to hear and answered with a compliment about each of them. I had an interview that consisted of, “Hi. Great. Nice to meet you!” Lastly, a Fratstar asked me whom I would “Fuck, Chuck, Marry.” I refused to answer and informed him that I would need more than a few minutes of exposure to possibly make such a judgment. When he learned that I like interior design he told me he would give me a tour of the club. He asked me to critique the rooms. I sensed a trap, called him out, he shrugged, and then took me to the dining hall where we drank tea and talked for forty minutes.
I was asked a number of times during the process why I bickered, for my response to “Why Ivy” took the consistent form of a general confession of my indifference and likely desire to sign in to Terrace during the second round. I bickered because I wanted to meet new people and was curious to see how far honesty would get me. There was absolutely no chance of me getting in, but I look upon this experience fondly because I remained genuine and in response got some people to stop acting and be genuine in return.