Freshman ’15: Why NSO is a breeding ground for awkward turtles

Opinion by Bianca Chavez
Sept. 26, 2011, 12:20 a.m.

Freshman '15: Why NSO is a breeding ground for awkward turtlesAllow me to introduce myself: my name is Bianca Chavez, and I am “That Freshman.” You know, the one upperclassmen can see from miles away, even before they notice my inappropriate choice of footwear. (Tip: wearing high heels to class is not cute, unless your version of cute involves getting stuck in the grass as you hobble painfully for 25 minutes.) I’m the one who buys all of her books from the Stanford Bookstore. I’m the one who needs a map in order to locate the Quad–and will still probably need to ask for directions at least once. I’m the one who still thinks Stern Dining is good.

Basically, I know nothing about life in college, except for one thing: it can be horrifically awkward. Over the last six days, my fellow frosh and I have been forced to endure hundreds of handshakes, thousands of introductions and countless “ice-breaker” games that completely fail at breaking the ice. (Learning someone’s favorite food, Steve Carell-centric movie and adjective that begins with the letter ‘D’ does not make me feel more comfortable around him; rather, I usually just want to fight after hearing he didn’t like “Crazy, Stupid Love.”)

But a million lame introductions pale in comparison to enduring the awk-fest that was “The Real World: Stanford.” What’s more fun than listening to the horrors of sexually transmitted infections, date rape, alcohol poisoning and assault for two hours? Oh that’s right, being forced to discuss the horrors of sexually transmitted infections, date rape, alcohol poisoning and assault with 30 bros in my hall (I see you, Twain!).

Even though watching “The Real World” made me want to crawl under a chair and die, it was not the most uncomfortable part of NSO. I believe that honor goes to Saturday’s New Student Party–which my RA Akshay appropriately dubbed “The Awkward Freshman Party.” Where I come from (Bum-Fuck Nowhere, California), dances are magical events where hundreds of students sweat, gyrate and hook up in the school gym while listening to the musical stylings of Wiz Khalifa. Kids at my high school would call you a nun if you weren’t bent over on the dance floor. So imagine my surprise when I walked into the Arrillaga Alumni Center and saw, not hundreds of sweaty bodies moving in unison, but…board games. And instead of baby making, people were standing around in awkward, single-sex circles. (Apparently privileged white boys can’t dance. Who knew?) Besides the fact that I no longer had Rachel Berry bangs, I felt like I had returned to Thomas Jefferson Middle School.

So it’s safe to say that NSO may have been more than a wee bit awkward, but it has also turned out to be one of the most exciting weeks of my life. However, the parts that excited me most weren’t the lectures given by distinguished members of the University or the performances by talented student groups or the parties. They were the nights I stayed up till 4:30 a.m. talking to the kids in my hall, the times I had conversations deeper than “So what’s your major,” the times I formed bonds that I knew would last. And there is no doubt that I will need to rely on these bonds many times over the next four years. I mean, what could be scarier than living in a space the size of a matchbox with a complete stranger? Or your first set of midterms? Or being forced to use communal bathrooms that smell perpetually of mildew and burnt hair? Or that mysterious gray meat and vegetable stew in Stern Dining? Join me as I find out.

Are you a privileged white boy who can get low? Email Bianca at blchavez”at” or she may never believe your kind actually exists.

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