The pleasures and perils of the freshman experience
by Johanna Holbrook, guest writer
How does one describe the freshman experience?
“Sex, drugs and alcohol,” freshman Jorge* said. “Oh, and the wonderful classes and professors.”
A typical answer for many freshmen at CC. Aside from the occasional lifelong partiers, for most adolescents this is the first time they have been exposed to a strange new world in which flavored condoms are distributed in Worner boxes and phrases like “smoking a bowl” and “getting sexiled” are utilized on a day-to-day basis. A world where you can hit up a bong, hook up with your hot neighbor in a stairwell, and wrap up your Freedom and Authority paper on social liberalism—all in the same evening.
“There’s a lot of freedom,” explained freshman Axum Teklu. “You don’t have to follow the rules of your parents; you just make your own!” Freshmen are free to explore a wide range of options, ranging from class choices to substance abuse. The top drug choices are, predictably, alcohol and weed.
Just walk into any freshmen-populated hallway and you will be hit by the stench (sweet fragrance?) of the latter, much to the “ignorance” of the R.A.s. Freshman Chris* has experimented with pot in multiple venues.
“You can go swimming, diving, play ultimate frisbee. Basically any intramural sport is better when you’re high,” he said.
Then there’s alcohol. Beer, rum, whiskey—name it and you will find it somewhere on campus. If you are not smoking a bowl with some friends on a Saturday night, you will most likely be at a house party, where massive squads of hyped-up freshmen down cheap beer in little red cups.
Freshman Harry* is still unaware of what happened after blacking out in the upstairs of a senior’s house during one of these parties. “I was passing around a handle of whiskey with some friends,” he said. “The next thing I knew, the lacrosse team was waking me up at 9:00 a.m. in the locker room of El Pomar. I don’t know how I got there! To top it off, campus safety returned my cell phone and my right shoe the next morning.”
This is an exceptional drunken experience that only Harry can attest to. Yet many freshman have gotten drunk, gone to a house party and hooked up with random people on the dance floor—or, in the case of freshman Tyrese*, in a stranger’s bed. “I snuck into a random senior’s room in a house, hooked up in his bed, and climbed out the window because someone was knocking on the door,” Tyrese explained.
But the meaning of “hookup” varies from freshman to freshman. While Tyrese chose a more innocent midnight macking session, freshman Marcy* engaged in an inebriated fling after a weekend party. “While intoxicated, I met someone and ended up taking his V card,” she explained. “Let’s just say that it didn’t happen in either of our dorms.”
But what about the next day? On such a small campus, you have to mentally prepare yourself to see the person you made out with to the tune of “Sexy Bitch” in line for Colorado Coffee on Monday morning. “I hooked up with my friend last semester,” Tyrese said. “Two weeks later we were sitting and having breakfast, and she said, ‘I hate getting drunk and hooking up with random boys,’ and I said, ‘I hate to break it to you, but I hooked up with you two weeks ago.’”
Sophomore Bridger Langfur took the hookup scene a step further when he got with his friend’s girlfriend last year. “One of my friends took my cell phone and replaced his number with the girlfriend’s number so when he texted me it came up under her name,” he explained. “ ‘She’ told me that she and her boyfriend were going to break up and that she wanted to meet me. When I went to this room, I found fifteen of my friends in their boxers, shouting, ‘Merry Christmas!’” Bridger claims to have simmered down since then.
As fun as the hookup culture may be, it can leave those “on the other side of the door” with a sour deal. For those who have found themselves munching on chips and salsa outside their rooms at 2:00 a.m., “sexile” has become a familiar term. “Being sexiled is one of the worst things about college,” freshman Burt* says. “It’s not bad when it’s one random drunk hookup, but once someone gets in a steady relationship, you’re fucked. It’s kind of this mix of frustration, confusion, and humor all in one sex-filled cocktail.”
“We normally sexile each other by text,” he continued. “But sometimes the text doesn’t come through in time, so when you walk in, you’re like, ‘Dude, my bad!’”
Some of the more daring freshman souls, however, simply refuse to be sexiled. “I took pictures of my roommate while he was hooking up with a girl drunk, and showed them to him the next morning,” Tyrese admitted. “I don’t think he likes them much.”
So why is it that freshmen zoom around campus like activated wind-up toys while upperclassmen calmly sip a beer or two? Looking back on his wild freshman experience, Bridger produced words of wisdom that he believes explain the freshman craze. “I think that it has something to do with insecurity,” he said. “And society condones it! College is the place where you go crazy; it’s supposed to be the best four years of your life. You go crazy, you try to make yourself happy, and that’s often through the escape of drugs and alcohol.”