Graduates: you have spent 1,460 days of your lives as college students. You have dropped an average of $900 on alcohol per year. (Who knew basement pong was so expensive?) You have spent 1,040 hours studying and at least half of those hours have been spent staring blankly at your computer screen. You have consumed 98 pounds of late-night chicken cutlet grinders. And you have passed an innumerable number of hours thinking about, talking about, writing about, and (if you’re really lucky) actually having sex. Four years of an Ivy League education have furnished you with the superior ability to fantasize.
I have been called upon by the good folks at the Yale Daily News to try to make sense of four years of COLLEGE. College, by definition, makes no sense at all. Whose idea was it anyway to put thousands upon thousands of sexually-charged dorks together in one place, with unlimited amounts of alcohol and without any other sign of intelligent life? Am I supposed to put THIS into perspective for the Class of 2002? Break it all down as you move into the big bad world of RESPONSIBILITY? That’s right, I am supposed to clarify S-E-X and help you understand it all. Great. I’m not even a junior yet — how am I supposed to comprehend all the things that you have already been through? And HOW am I supposed to explain them all to you in 800 words or less? I can’t even describe my hair routine in 800 words or less.
Nevertheless, with my usual unflinching confidence, I will go where I have never gone before. Two years ahead of myself in maturity, two more years of Harvard-Yale, of Tang, of Toad’s, of Scully and Spence and Spring Fling. And, of course, two more years of sex.
You arrived on this campus four years ago, starry-eyed and full of hope. Ladies, you were told that you would meet the man of your dreams, that you were going to find the guy you would eventually marry. You would have a date to every formal, semi-formal and not-so-formal event in your Yale career. You were going places. In fact, you were going places with a big fat rock on your left hand. He would be dreamy and not quite gorgeous, but definitely good-looking. He would row crew, wear khakis and the whole look would be topped off with an old blue baseball cap with a Y stitched into it. Oh, that Chip would be a real winner! Then, of course, you got here and realized that Chip doesn’t really exist, and the closest you came to rocks were the ones you tripped over during Local Flora — the Group IV of champions.
Gentlemen, you were convinced of an entirely different myth — one that was rather un-gentlemanly, I might add. After watching “College Girls Gone Wild” for nine straight weeks before arriving at Yale, you were convinced that there would be a multitude of girls walking around this campus in bikinis just waiting for you to come within eyesight so they can flash you. Of course, after merely a week here, you understood that this type of behavior was only reserved for Saturday Night Dance Parties at Toad’s, and that during the rest of the week, the knockers from the University of Florida would have to suffice (on the small screen in your common room, of course).
As you began settling into life at Yale, you either became increasingly sexually frustrated or liberated. Sophomore year was a time of confusion. Do you want a significant other? Do you want a significant other of the OPPOSITE SEX? (This is a key question.) How do you get yourself out of the sticky run-in situations following a particularly successful weekend? And when do you decide that you ACTUALLY LIKE the person you’ve been sleeping with for the last three months? And just as an aside — how much of those last three months have you spent sober?
So many questions. Not so many answers. Where’s Chip? I’m wearing a bikini for chrissakes.
Frustrated with all these seemingly large dilemmas, you reached junior year and decided to tackle even larger ones. What the heck, you’re at Yale for a reason, right? And plus, who needs a significant other when you’re too busy worrying about your life, your career, humanity, poverty, world peace and the price of a 30-pack? After all, inflation can be killer, especially in today’s market economy.
And finally, you entered senior year in a frenzy. Slowly, you began to realize the value of all those wonderful things and people that have surrounded you since freshman year. Your “best friend” has now become your girlfriend or boyfriend. You’ve finally really decided on your major and meanwhile you’ve also figured out that you don’t REALLY need a career — at least not for the next five years (sorry Mom and Dad). You have completed your first heartbreaking work of staggering genius (THE Senior Essay) and somehow, you have begun getting laid on a regular basis. Not only that, it happens to be someone you trust and respect. As for the sex — it’s not half bad either.
So where does that leave you now? As you step up to the podium to receive your diploma, I doubt that the first thing on your mind is sex. But sex in college, and the RELATIONSHIPS that have sprung from it — before or during — have helped shape you, and have provided for some good stories over the last four years. My final words, then, to the Class of 2002 are the following.
Take what you’ve learned here, both in and out of the classroom, and show the world that Yalies are good in the sack too. You didn’t need “College Girls Gone Wild” to get it done. You’re gonna be President. And you’re damn proud of it.
Natalie Krinsky has received a lot of good lovin’ from the Class of ’02.