When you’re a freshman at the U, everything’s new and exciting. You’re optimistic, you’re high off parental freedom and you see everything through the skewed lens of naivety and woeful unpreparedness. The following is not for freshmen. It’s for the jaded cynic juniors and seniors who are getting too old for this shit, who have gotten a big nasty taste of the U and have seen it in all its glory. With the new semester starting, we thought it would be a good time to reminisce about a couple of the things that used to matter to us, and how we’ve grown completely and utterly numb to it.
6.) Getting lost in the Gopher Way:
Remember the first time you entered the labyrinthian depths beneath the U? How it used to provide so much wonder and magic, like if Alice in Wonderland got shoved into an underground tube and had its denizens replaced by wall rot, shitty heaters, and the occasional animal carcass? Getting lost down there was the shit, man. But now you know those tunnels like the back of your hand. No more urban fantasy adventures with your stoner dormmates for you, no more chasing terrified birds and bats around corners you’ve never been. You just keep your head down and try to hold your breath, so you can make it to class without having to associate with any of the other miserable people down there.
5.) The shitty roads:
This is one that used to drive you nuts. Regardless of whether you’re Minnesota-born or a native from a state that doesn’t freeze over, melt, and overheat over the course of three days, the roads by the U still take some getting used to. No other campus forces you to watch your step for potholes, candy wrappers, and indignant drunks on the ground the way we have to at the U. Nowadays? You’re a goddamn pro, sidestepping and leaping over road hazards like a ballerina in snow boots. You have no more patience for the subtle nuances of our grainy concrete and street cracks wider than your forearm.
4.) U of MN Moodle:
So many sleepless nights trying to find your assignments pages in a sea of text and assorted boxes. So many class periods ruined by professors and TAs pulling their hair out and cursing Moodle software to the heavens. So much heartache and rage from this inefficient, awful website and the demons who designed it. Like a true master of Moodle, you have finally learned the best way to use it: to ignore it and hope that your professor hates it enough to not require looking at that awful interface for the entirety of the semester. And if they do require it, well, there are other classes to take.
3.) U of MN meal plans:
Do you enjoy paying ten dollars for middling quality food every single meal? When you were too stupid and pampered from life at home to understand how bad of a deal that was, you probably did. You didn’t know that the Chipotle down the street was a better deal than a U of MN meal plan and that if you have a cooking bone anywhere in your body you can make your own dining hall food in the comfort of your own home at half the price. We’re too old for your ploys, U Dining Services, especially when you make it so obvious that you make it mandatory for freshmen. Speaking of U ploys…
2.) Campus Connectors:
Free, convenient, reliable transportation across this giga-campus sounded too good to be true back when you were a freshman. That’s because it was. It’s not free if you’re already having to pay tuition, it’s not convenient when the five-minute intervals are actually 12 minutes, and the only thing reliable about them is that you’ll reliably get to choose between one of the three buses that get bunched together and arrive at the same time. Long gone are the days where we assumed that we could get from East Bank to West Bank between back-to-back classes; now we give ourselves some cushion time and either brave the bridge or saddle up for another game of Campus Connector hide-and-seek.
1.) Goldie Gopher:
Oh yeah, we went there. Sorry Goldie, we’re supposed to love you or whatever, but we were a little too enthusiastic to see you everywhere during Welcome Week. High school had beaten into our brains that anyone dressed like a furry should be either be shunned or applauded, entirely dependent on dancing and pantomimic ability, and when we saw that you had the dancing and the pantomimicry down pat, we freaked out more than we should have. Nowadays seeing you is a little more like running into an ex that’s still sort-of your friend but not all that close. We do a little smile and maybe like a halfhearted gesture of acknowledgment with hands and shuffle away, like the jaded, worldly people we have devolved into.
Happy spring semester everyone. We’ll get through this winter seasonal depression together.
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