The answer you give is “good.” Happy. Friends, professors, parents, home friends—they don’t need to hear that you feel overwhelmed, that you would rather be curled up in bed than go out, that you’ve ordered EBA’s sober and alone. They don’t need to hear that your schoolwork feels like it’s insurmountable, that the boy you’ve been crushing on didn’t text you again, that you feel like maybe you should’ve been off. That you definitely should’ve been off. They’re not asking about your love life because maybe they know your love life sucks—you don’t have a boyfriend yet. Maybe they think all seems fine; your Facebook photos make it seem like you’re having a great time on campus. Do they really care? Maybe—maybe not. How are you, though?
Yeah, no, I promise I’m doing well. This term has just been shittier because of my classes; history—government—religion. I don’t know why I thought it would be a good idea; all the classes sounded interesting, and I thought I could handle it. Yes, I’m a humanities student. No, I don’t give a shit. No, I don’t think I want to go into consulting (will I go into consulting?). And yes, I have a lot of fucking reading and I know you do, too. We all work a lot. We like to complain. I complain. Did I tell you I had three midterms last Wednesday? Oh, I did…sorry. I sometimes repeat myself, forget who I talk to. But tell me about you. That’s what I’m here for, right? I’m always ready to listen. So, how are your classes?
I’ve just been busy this term. That’s why it’s been different. I feel like I don’t have a moment to myself. In some ways, I’ve become a walking Dartmouth stereotype, and I don’t know how I feel about it. We’re a strong community for a reason; people adopt similar patterns for a reason. This term, I’m teaching skiing and giving tours. I’m not actually doing a lot, but I’m still overwhelmed.
Writing helps. Talking just doesn’t. I find myself closing up, not texting when I should reach out to vent to you. Because we all have issues we’re dealing with. It’s silly to burden you when I know you have an exam next week and your family is frustrating you and you have more pressing matters to figure out (like who you should ask to semi). I don’t want you worrying about me. I’d rather be there for you. So, I’m good. Who are you bringing to semi, anyway?
Yeah, I’m probably going out. Tonight just has to be the night that I’m going to meet someone who is down for an exclusive hook up that includes texting during daylight hours and maybe dating if our D-Plans match up. I’m sure I’ll find him in some unexplored corner of a basement. But eh, not tonight. Tonight, I’ll probably end up playing pong.
Someone once told me Dartmouth offers an exceptionally social education. We’re not the smartest in the nation, we’re not the most fun, but we’re the best we can be without sacrificing either. But still, I’d rather stay in and watch Mamma Mia. I just don’t have the energy to socialize. But if you’re going out, I guess I will too. I feel like this is all kind of hopeless. Should I just cave and make a Friendsy? Is Friendsy still even a thing? I want to make effort to find someone but I’m so damn lazy it’s pathetic. This school creates apathy I guess someone will make an effort to find me. Let’s play pong later?
I have energy. I care about things. I swear. I still go out a lot. Maybe I just haven’t been feelin’ it lately because I’ve been sick. I know how to be there. I want to be there for you. I just don’t know how to let you be there for me. It’s so easy to blame sadness on coursework, stress, other people. Yes, this school is hard. Yes, it’s self-inflicted pressure. But I want to prove myself. Maybe Dartmouth was your safety school. Maybe you’re a legacy. Maybe no one from your hometown has heard of Dartmouth. Maybe this was your dream school. Maybe Dartmouth is just not what you thought it would be. I still don’t know how my “Dartmouth experience” will play out — I guess this is it. Is this it?
It’s easier to complain to strangers. To tell them my secrets. They’re not obliged to follow up. If I don’t know you, I may tell you I’m feeling “shitty”…
No, no—I’m fine. I’m good!
I’ll see you out tonight?