Let me begin by saying that I have absolutely no idea why I am writing this piece. I am not a writer, and I don’t even have a thrilling summer story to serve as inspiration.
I could write about how I am from sunny Los Angeles, or how I am not taking advantage of my last few weeks at home by hitting the underage clubs in Hollywood. But where’s the hook? Well into the second paragraph, I haven’t offered anything that might reel you into my little story. So, bravo if you are still reading my attempt at creating a journalistic masterpiece to make myself known in those first days of school. (By the way, have I mentioned my name is Taylor Lasley?)
Reinventing one’s self and image is said to be one of the primary goals of freshmen. It means new clothes, different hair, clear skin, a great tan and, most importantly, a clean slate. I imagine it like an episode of MTV’s “Made.” My personal favorite — the one when the Anime nerd was made into the ultimate “dream date” for her senior prom — is a perfect example. She, the so-called sensei of her school’s Anime club, went from complete freak to total hottie in just one hour of sleazy — but entertaining — reality television. It is this complete transformation that I feel a lot of us freshmen would like to have accomplished by today: move-in day.
Most of us have probably done a pretty good job. You would never know that the girl crossing Old Campus right now in the mini skirt with the great legs was, just months ago, krill in her high school’s social food chain. Or that the guy in the skinny jeans and Wayfarers reading “The Feminine Mystique” outside Dwight Hall was a womanizing jock who participated in (and, most times, started) the “locker-room banter” made famous by teen films.
I can speak on this matter as an authority because I, myself, made a transformation this summer: I went from bleak Californian Taylor to spicy Latina-lover Carmen in one week of vacationing on the beaches of Puerto Vallarta, Mexico. You could consider this a betrayal of my (hopefully) convincing facade. But I’m making myself pretty vulnerable by putting it in print. And from this position of authority, I can honestly question whether I’ve become so consumed with recreating my image that I’ve lost sight of who I was when Yale accepted me in the first place.
I know what you’re thinking, and I will gladly accept kudos for the cliche. But I do wonder whether the very desire for a new identity and/or niche drove me, the not-so-anonymous non-journalist, to write this editorial
Oh God. I promised myself I wouldn’t make this a serious think-piece. I really did try to keep it witty and fun (a la my journalist idol, Miss Carrie Bradshaw). In fact, I had a whole list of puns I was trying to work into the article, but they proved too irrelevant. I digress.
The point is that when you upperclassmen see a freshman that thinks (or wants you to think) he is the bomb diggity, play along. And when you see that wannabe-artsy-nerd girl, don’t test her knowledge of the Dada period. She probably hasn’t gotten to that chapter yet. Let us fend for ourselves in this vicious world of alter egos. Let us be the victors of our own pasts in order to set the stage for victories in the future. And let us struggle to see that, at the end of the day, being ourselves is a lot more fun that being who we think we should be.
So while I’d very much like to be the damsel in distress with long, rope-like hair, trapped by a dragon in the Berkeley tower, only to be saved by her senior-class stud/knight in shining armor, odds are that it will never be so (mostly because my hair won’t grow that long). But let me find that out alone. Don’t tease me because you see through the thin layer of confident Carmen down to the soul of terrified Taylor. Because inside each of us is the inherent desire to fit in.
So here’s a toast to the class of 2012: For God, for country, and for searching desperately to find who we really are at Yale. Drink up.
Taylor Lasley is a freshman in Berkeley College.