Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

CHOLVIN & CHRISTIANSEN: The Shared Cluelessness Of Freshmen and Seniors

Far better than the return of professional football, the biggest buzz on campus right now is indisputably the arrival of a new freshman class.

Somewhat dazed and more than confused, freshmen find poorly advised young love at Club Lau and forge new friendships, while female freshmen blunder out of men’s restrooms, much to our enjoyment. We thank these all-stars for the entertainment.

(One freshman boy to another, overheard last Thursday outside Harbin: “So, uh, when you were in high school, did you, uh, do a lot of drugs?”)

The seniors, meanwhile, return to campus like washed-up athletes, still flashing the ring (and occasionally, the significant other) and the memories of the “glory days” that were the frosh years.

We recall those simpler times when the field was clearly demarcated, the referees were easily identifiable (they were the ones who gave the grades) and the cheerleaders were without boys.

Not long ago, our roommates were the star running backs, our classmates forced fumble after fumble and we threw more touchdowns than legends like Manning or Brady. We killed the game.

But now, with summer internships behind us, job recipients among us and recruitment before us, the rules have changed fundamentally.

Although they have grown somewhat more adept at noticing the subtle differences between men’s and women’s bathrooms, the members of the senior class are not that different from their Class of 2018 counterparts.

Sure, 2015 is closely approaching while 2018 still belongs firmly to the realm of “Star Trek” years, but seniors these days are beginning to walk around in the same dazed confusion that plagues the freshmen looking for the fabled Father O’Donovan’s Dining Hall. Seniors, by and large though, aren’t looking for Leo’s. They’re looking for a clue, especially one that will draw a paycheck sometime after May 2015.

Meanwhile, the university that they learned, sometimes painfully, to navigate (the tunnels do not lead to Fr. Kevin O’Brien’s office) has become a haunting ground of memories rather than a land of promise. Unlike the freshmen at the front gates, greeted by John Carroll’s bronzed, welcoming lap, the seniors share more in common with the bleached residents of the Jesuit cemetery.

Where are the old comforts? Rum and Cokes on a Friday night do not provide the same salve they once offered to freshmen nervous about their prospects of entry into Brown House.

We admit that we have gazed at times in jealousy at these freshmen who, though painfully awkward, at least have the bliss of ignorance. And of course, they have an even greater luxury — four years of fecklessness, blunder and thrill ahead of them.

At least some of us seniors may be beginning to wonder not only whether the old values — cura personalis, hot cinnamon Burnett’s — no longer apply, but whether they really applied at all. (Both have lost a bit of their appeal, but hot cinnamon Burnett’s, of course, is still on sale.)

Seniors and freshmen share much in common, such as an equally irrational appreciation for Sam Adams, but what they certainly do not share is a common purpose. Whereas freshmen are entering a four-year funhouse filled with words like “aesthetic” and “phenomenological,” seniors are trying to fit their liberal arts-bolstered souls into a production function, even if it means they have to ignore their utility function.

The irony of senior year in the end, then, is that having made it through three years and mastering the things that matter at Georgetown (bathrooms, or the Prisoner’s Dilemma), seniors have to face a quandary and a confusion much deeper than anything they ever had to contend with during Welcome Week.

This is, in short, not what we were expecting. And we’d hate to spoil the excitement for the underclassmen and let them in on the secret that despite the boozy Tombs adventures (there is a post-Burnett’s life, after all) it doesn’t all come with roses.

So: It’s only September and we’re already feeling cagey about the end coming up. What are we to do?

Well, for one, take heart. After all, the last time we felt hopeless, clueless and helpless, we were freshmen too — and by faking it until we made it, well, we got here. Hopefully, we somehow managed to have a good time along the way as well. The best we can hope for as seniors, then, is that as we rocket off into the void after graduation, the same rules apply. We certainly hope they do.

And so, like all good sports fans attending the annual Awkward Bowl, the seniors will find their favorite bench, purchase three (or 17) pitchers, kick back with their buddies — and watch.

Thomas ChristiansenTucker Cholvin and Thomas Christiansen are seniors in the School of Foreign Service. Culture Clash appears every other Tuesday.

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