Advice for branching out 11X style

Early June came, and everyone crammed for exams that they suddenly realized were cumulative and simultaneously stuffed flimsy cardboard boxes teeming with things that should never be packed together in a frenzied scramble. When the flying sheets of notebook paper and packaging tape settled, everyone began moving out. I helped multiple upperclassmen move their boxes, which were always strangely greater in number than I’d been told on the phone. The last one surprised me with a futon to be carried down four flights of stairs. Finally, after an awkward struggle, we managed to stuff it into the back of his Jeep. As we said goodbye, he sighed bitterly and said, reminiscing more than anything else,

“Have fun this summer. It was the best summer of my life.” And so, spring term ended. Weeks passed, the fabled sophomore Summer began, and I found myself neither on the outside looking in, nor the inside looking out, but in the dead center blankly looking around, soundly stumped.

The obvious difference between this term and others is that the student body is roughly a quarter of what it normally would be. Consequently, you see the same faces every single day if, like most people, you walk the same paths everyday. If you want to experience the novelty and fun of sophomore Summer, you need to change your patterns, your norms, and step out of the box once in a while.

Aside from the absences of seniors frantically clinging to their dwindling time on campus, juniors being tapped for secret societies, the ever-waning novelty of freshmen and the inability to step outside midday without breaking into a sweat. Summer initially seemed no different from any other term.

But what I’ve realized is that the most significant difference between this Summer and a regular term is the opportunity for fun. We have more daylight hours and more familiar faces passing us on mass row, and we must seize the summer.

There are plenty of things going on around campus outside of frat houses and the library (which you shouldn’t be frequenting much anyway you’re only taking two classes, right?), and the docket of campus events is brimming with opportunities to make the most of a term that everyone has sworn by as a life-changing experience. This is including, but certainly not limited to, attending an uproarious improv routine after having an impromptu barbeque/water-slide party on a Tuesday. Everybody knows that’s an off day anyway.

This term, we find ourselves in charge of things we’re not normally in charge of and the result is a campus experience for us, by us. Your experience of the famed sophomore Summer is wholly your own. The promised “fun” won’t just happen to you you have to seek it out. You’ll actually have to step out to meet people, get out of your comfort zone to experience new things. Occasionally, you’ll have to hop in the car to check out that new swim spot. Even though it’s as hot as the devil’s boxers outside, you hate black flies, and you really were planning on watching the Giants game and then winning a five game series and running table because you want to let everyone in the house know who’s really going to m@sters.

Fun, if you do indeed want to have it, is your responsibility. That’s going to mean getting up, getting out, and enduring a little sun. Don’t worrysweat dries, and sunburn only hurts a lot.

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