First Years: It is time to prepare for war

Napoleon2

Napoleon Bonaparte after a particularly enjoyable conversation at the orientation ice cream social, ca. 1812.

Listen up, First-Years.

As you arrive on campus you will be greeted with good wishes and encouragement. I was in your shoes only last year, so I remember those heady days well. But take my warning, friends, and do not let yourself be lulled into complacency, for hidden between the happy team-building activities lies the greatest battle of your life: The ice cream social.

“The Ice Cream Social?” You ask. “But that sounds like so much fun! Surely you are mistaken.”

I am not. To survive the evening of mingling and make-your-own-sundaes you must become a social warrior, raising a shield of vague responses as you charge through barrages of small-talk.

Agamemnon did not sail for Troy alone, and you should not show up at the social without a buddy. Pair up with your roommate, or anyone else that you already know a little bit. You and your roommate can cover for each other in group conversations by laughing at your own lame jokes and making references to your room (or any other commonality that you’ve already discussed). Battling through the social together is also a great way to bond with your roommate. Just ask the guys from Band of Brothers. [Ed. This might be a borderline exaggeration, but you’ll have to see for yourself!]

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