Last Thursday afternoon at about 4:10 I might have had one of the worst moments in my Princeton Career thus far. It was raining. It was two and a half weeks until my marathon and I couldn’t walk without limping on the quad I had pulled three weeks earlier. I had gotten six hours of sleep in the past three days. I had been surviving on Luna Bars the past three days to avoid wasting time at the dining hall, and horror of all horrors, the only flavor the C- Store had left that day was the revolting Nuts over Chocolate. I had a twenty-page paper due Sunday, a six-page paper due Monday, and an architecture project due Tuesday. My architecture instructor had just basically thrown out thirteen hours worth of work and told me to start my project over. Did I mention it was raining? 4:20 would have been the perfect time to act like a five year old and call my mom. I would lament my decision to come to Princeton and desperately wish that I could transfer without filling out an application, because any paperwork would involve too much effort. This, however, could not come to pass. For, in one of my euphoric bouts of loving Princeton (obviously in between architecture projects), I impulsively made the decision to host a pre-frosh. Therefore, I had to be at Dillion gym by 4:21 on the nose to pick up my pre frosh. Heaven forbid I wasn’t in the gym four full minutes before the pre-frosh were supposed to be there to put on an ear to ear smile and to fill my mind with happy thoughts of last semester. Last semester… that heavenly freshman fall when sleep grew on trees. When days were spent outside in 70 degree weather. When there were still only four classes and writing seminar was still far, far away. When every idiotic move I made could be blamed on “adjustment”… Sorry, I got a little nostalgic there. Anyway, closer to 4:23 than 4:21 (my apologies, Dean Rapelye), I found my way into Dillon gym. The hustle-bustle of all the little pre-frosh looking for their hosts reminded me of the puppy farm. I could just picture my four-year-old self sticking her butt out in poofy, pink, polka-dotted pants to pluck a traumatized little one out of the litter. The obvious issue here is that most of the pre-frosh are at least a good 6 inches taller than I am. Also, “match-up” rather lacked the romantic drama of picking a puppy. I dutifully held up my obnoxiously orange limo card and looked around for my pre frosh. As expected, I passed by her a good four or five times before I realized she was mine. The first thing I realized: my pre-frosh did not talk. As in not even one-word responses. Being the awkward person I am who can’t stand silence, I initiated a dialogue with myself the entire walk down campus. Reason 1 for not coming to Princeton: Psychotic hosts who can’t keep their mouths closed. When we got to my nine-person suite, the common room was packed with 6 other pre-frosh, who belonged to my suitemates, and a slew of others that were already host-less. Those hosts certainly dumped their pre-frosh fast. Reason 2 for not coming to Princeton: Being dumped by your hosts within the first five minutes of meeting them. I planned to dump my pre-frosh after a half hour (much more acceptable than 5 minutes) to go to Terrace for the Nassau Weekly meeting. I thought it might be too much of a shock after passing the preppies playing croquet up campus. But, my pre-frosh did not know what to do without a host. So I took her with some reservations to the meeting. Somehow I not only ended up taking my own pre-frosh but another one as well. Reason 3 for not coming to Princeton: Being traumatized by the Nassau Weekly meeting. Next stop was the dining hall. My pre-frosh had made some progress. She had said about 25 words to me – and some of these were even in complete, coherent phrases! I was personally excited for the dining hall food. It’s always better during hosting, and there were ice cream toppings—which are definitely key. I suppose it was wrong to express this enthusiasm out loud when the pre-frosh were already looking skeptically at the food. Reason 4 for not coming to Princeton: Eating questionable dining hall food while being told that it’s better than usual. At dinner the pre-frosh compared college lists, which made me feel slightly ill. Who knew I would ever consider myself a minority for not having gotten into seven ivies? As they spoke, I began to feel a competitive against the other schools. What, Princeton isn’t good enough? From there on out the April Hosting bug caught me. These pre-frosh WERE coming to Princeton, whether they liked it or not. In fact, they were coming whether I really liked the place of not. Unfortunately, the harder I tried, the more my efforts worked against me. I could just see the list of mounting reasons not to attend Princeton. Reason 5 for not coming to Princeton: Being hit on by sketchy upperclassmen at a really dead night at the Street. Reason 6 for not coming to Princeton: Being forced to freeze your butt off at an arch sing Reason 7 for not coming to Princeton: Sleeping on a sketchy futon. Reason 8 for not coming to Princeton: Finding a boy in the bathroom when you open the shower curtain ( I guess we should have mentioned he lives with us…). Reason 9 for not coming to Princeton: Three straight hours of panel discussions beginning at 9 a.m.
It’s good that the pre-frosh got over their dependency before I completely ruined the chances that they would come here. After being so dependant – suddenly – they made friends and were gone. It’s sad but beautiful – the kids growing up and leaving you. One hour they’re confused as to why you actually have to do work in college and can’t attend their panels, and the next hour, they’re calling to tell you not to wait up. Unless, of course, you’re my pre-frosh who doesn’t talk and therefore of course does not call or pick up her phone and causes you to begin amassing a search party to prod the bushes along Prospect Avenue. And then still doesn’t talk. I’m proud to report a definite 66% success rate of getting students to enroll. The rest are being stalked on facebook.com until they make the right decision. I felt considerably less guilty for being a mediocre host. In fact, after hearing another pre-frosh got sexiled by her host, I felt pretty good. It makes me wonder though – am I insistent on enrolling these students, because I love this place and want to share it, or because misery loves company ?