For the past two years, an elite group of the most foolish Nassau Weekly members have devoted 24 hours of their all-too-short and ephemeral lives to spending time in Frist Campus Center, a wretched hive of scum and villainy. This tradition has been affectionately dubbed “The Big Hoe,” in honor of Princeton’s renowned “Frist hoes.”
Frist hoe: (noun) When you walk into Frist you undoubtedly see this person. They might even live there. They brave the noisy clamor of Late Meal to study, and they live off Boxed Water and pre-packaged chicken tenders. The Big Hoe is dedicated to those who fit this description. We love, respect, and admire you. We see you. (This lovely definition is taken from the previous year’s edition of the Big Hoe.)
However, Princeton University is very much online this year and Frist is very much not accessible. Of course, modern problems require modern solutions, and we intrepid freshpeople of the Nass were committed to this vital tradition. We instead opted to spend twenty-four hours in one Zoom room (courtesy of the Zoom accounts Princeton provides). Our feat began at 5:30 p.m. EST on October 16 and ended at 5:30 p.m. EST on October 17. The following piece was composed from our notes taken live during the event.
Hi, I’m Sierra, and I write in italics.
Hello, I am Beth, and I write in plain text. Sierra and I are zooming from California.
Hi, I’m Jane, and I write in bold. I’m zooming from New York.
Hello, this is David and I write with a lovely underline.
Beth: Only an hour in and we have had three special guests. Incredible. We are the sexiest, most popular people alive.
Jane: Hour Zero seemed to fly by. I don’t think the others have noticed we’ve reached the one hour mark. Just a few more minutes before Beth leaves for Mock Trial and we can gossip about her.
David: At this point we have had multiple guests and it’s incredible how much people are willing to overshare despite us telling them the Zoom is being recorded.
Jane: We decided to interview everyone who joined the Zoom, but conveniently forgot to ask for permission to use their names or answers in the article.
Beth: “I don’t have daddy issues.” -Sierra. A potential Nass verbatim?
David: Currently stalking my girlfriend on instagram and encouraging another man to DM her memes.
Jane: Ok fine, David. I’ll send your girlfriend memes.
David: Currently browsing Sierra’s Weezer meme collection in the main room (potential memes to be sent to my girlfriend? Is hour five rooted in the fact I have a girlfriend?)
Sierra: Say “girlfriend” again.
Jane: I suppose I should attempt to write something, given my only contribution thus far is half-hearted jokes in the Zoom chat, complaining about physics, and continuing to ride my sister’s coattails in every way possible.
24 hours on Zoom, to be completely honest, is not much different from every other day. I spend all morning in (Zoom) class and meetings, then I spend the night doing work with others or playing online games to fill the void left by the lack of in-person interaction. In between all of these Zooms, I eat dinner and try not to think too hard about what campus would have been like. Instead, I put on my silly little sweaters and do my silly little problem sets.
David: I think you have great sweaters, no need to be self-deprecating.
David, later: Beth is currently dying her hair on Zoom. We have reached peak quarantine trends.
David: Morale is beginning to waver in the Zoom room, with Jane being tempted to leave in order to “get some sleep.” My mind cannot help but wander to the temptation of Adam and Eve in Eden by Satan, although in this case Satan is Zoom fatigue and the forbidden fruit is sleep. I feel like we should compose a poem as a group.
Reached a new low; brain so empty
Is this where I’m supposed to write the next line
That’s not a poem just what I’m thinking
I close my eyes and I call it blinking
Jane: Beth is trying to be optimistic. I am struggling to comprehend how we are only a third of the way done. I haven’t produced any good content. I think I need to review the document because I feel like 95% of it is me complaining or being mean. Perhaps I am becoming more self-aware.
David: Moments of silence on Zoom become even worse on this Zoom, where one must fill their brain with something to avoid thinking about the life choices that led to you engaging in this project.
Jane: Have come to the realization that David is Chidi from the Good Place, mostly due to the indecisiveness but also the competing hatred for philosophers and love for philosophy.
[lost to the void]
Sierra: Sierra tired; want bed.
Jane: Sierra’s on the phone with her mom. Her birth was televised. “Please send it to me mom. If you send it before 2:30 today, we can have a watching party.”
Jane: After being stuck with two English majors and a pollyticks major, I am strongly considering leaving BSE. I simply do not care enough about the beeps and boops while there is so much going on out in the world.
Sierra: We should write limericks.
There once was a lady named Jane
Not living with me caused her pain
So we had a long zoom
Spent hours in a room
Now I’m thinking she’s upset she came
Beth: The Big Hoe is a foolish endeavor
In which we may be slowly going mad.
I feel our trauma coming to the fore
Of any Nass articles to be had.
Arguably, we will not finish off
A publishable work of witty prose.
Our poems, however, evaded scoffs,
And might be published, fragrant as a rose.
It’s now time for the couplet to emerge–
The Nass Frosh on a long Zoom will converge.
Jane (the only one to write anything for this hour): Another hour. Only two more to go! I do think I’ll miss Sierra, Beth, and David after this concludes, but David has gone on a walk and didn’t bring us with him. Sierra’s in therapy and I miss her.
Sierra: I’m out of therapy, and I’ve just learnt that my love language is “quality time”, which is perhaps why this twenty-four hour zoom isn’t taking the toll on me I initially thought it might.
Jane: One more minute! I don’t know if I’m looking forward to the simultaneous relief and emptiness I’ll face tonight.
Sierra: Who will I be when David and Jane’s visages are wiped from my computer screen? Not the girl I want to be.
Throughout our twenty-four hours together, the core four found ourselves wishing more intensely than ever to be in each other’s presences, arms, etc.. The Zoom format, while workable, is simply incomparable to what we imagine being in Frist is actually like. However, we met a bunch of new people, got to know each other and our friends better than before, and pointedly did not listen to My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy, despite David’s repeated requests. Though most of our visitors were our trusty Zoom friends, some of them trying to squirrel away Jane for the purpose of completing PSETs, we also got to meet a couple strangers, including international students that were excited just to have a Zoom going at a time that was reasonable for them.
In the end, the real misery was not staring at our computer screens until our retinas dissolved into ash. No siree, the real misery was coming to love our virtual friends past a reasonable degree and having to deal with the reality that we cannot meet them in person for at least three more months.
An iron-deficient Colin Jost impersonator
A theater kid on the road to recovery
An exception to the j-name rule
And a kid who lives in local notoriety for quoting Kanye at graduation