I just came back from abroad, and I’m having a hard time adjusting. Everything is so different. I feel disconnected from the places and people here. Any advice?
—Yearning for Europe
Dear Yearny McNearny,
Like every other socially adept, well-endowed Duke student, I obviously went abroad. Because I’m not weird and wanted to go to a place that actually matters, I obviously went to Europe, not one of those freaky African or Latin American countries. I mean, I don’t want AIDS or Ebola or something. And Reggaeton? Blech, disgustante. Seriously, can we recolonize those places? Trig Palin could do a better job at running those countries than their current governments.
Going abroad was a pretty self-explanatory experience. You pay the price of one of Mitt Romney’s horses to spend an eighth of your college education exploring just how many places there are to get drunk in Europe. In the mean time, you take three-day-a-week classes at a third-grade reading level. This is how you become a global citizen.
My semester abroad was the best semester ever, as evidenced by how often I posted about it on Facebook. I mean, the whole five-minute showers thing was kind of a downer. Although it looks as if Europeans use a lot of hair gel, it’s really just excess oil built up from years of inadequate washing. Plus, nothing works in Europe. Electrical sockets, metros, Ryanair, people—absolutely nothing. I just surrounded myself with Duke kids so I wouldn’t risk talking to Europeans like, at all. And after its novelty wore off, the food kind of sucked. After months of basically consuming the stuff straight, if someone even mentions olive oil I instantly get constipated. But yeah, definitely the best time of my life.
Really, your abroad experience isn’t about you. It’s about maintaining the image of the United States abroad. Duke sends us to Europe as ambassadors—vectors of the American ideals we strive to uphold. The first and most important of these is that we are all fat. We do a pretty good job of perpetuating this one. Every Duke student who goes abroad leaves the U.S. as Kate Upton and returns as fat-size Kate Upton. Remember, ladies: It’s better to just deal with the FOMO than to stress-eat your way to a FUPA.
Another important part of our image is how great we are at getting wasted. Maintaining this particular typecast is near and dear to the hearts of Duke students. Americans funnel into the clubs about four hours before any actual Europeans show up. Once there, Duke guys then do what they’re best at: They walk up behind an unsuspecting European and start grinding their dick on her butt, successfully maintaining our global prowess in sucking at seduction. Alternatively, Duke girls fall all over the suave, tight-pants, manscaped form that is the European male. These lovely ladies help us to keep what is likely the United States’ most important stereotype: that American women give out blowjobs like Facebook friend acceptances. Strangely, ramming someone’s junk in and around your mouth, to no pleasure of your own, doesn’t appeal to most Europeans. After performing what is the apple pie (or, depending on previous sexual history, the malaria blanket) of sex acts, these modern-day Rosie the Riveters then get to experience the truly unique awkwardness of explaining your one night stand to your host mom.
But you can’t spend forever excessively photographing everything, treating Euros like Monopoly money and pretending to care about obscure European monuments that you know nothing about (and really, no matter how much I know about Bohemians, Prague will never mean more than a five-story discotheque). Eventually, you have to go home. And when you do, everything feels different. Pauly Dogs is gone, and Central is actually relevant now. Durham clubs are nothing like Ibiza. The Bryan Center looks like Wayne Manor at the end of “The Dark Knight” (or, actually, like any Wayne Manor party ever). Even worse, the people who stayed here moved on! It’s almost as if Duke was the same without you, and that people lived perfectly normal lives that you were not included in! I don’t know if I can emotionally process this AND the fact that Beyoncé lip-syncs.
Well, the Dookie has news for you: You’re not disconnected from Duke because it’s been six months since you communicated with your friends outside of annoyingly frequent Facebook activity. And no one is irritated that you don’t ask how their semesters went and instead just assume that yours was better because it was European. People love hearing everything there is to know about Oktoberfest. (“We had a WHOLE. TENT. Like, literally, ALL of Duke was there.”) The reason you’re having trouble assimilating back into the Duke social scene is not because Duke has moved on without you—it is simply an artifact of your cultural superiority. Just remember, when conversing with meager Durhamites, don’t speak of worldly events or foreign affairs. They will just feel lost and uncomfortable. Just remember that after that rigorous, immersive semester, you can check cultured off on the resume and step into an office with a view.
Your Dearest Dookie, who flies first class, as to stay separated from poors and geeds, orders a Budweiser at every European bar, as to support the troops. If you have a question for the Dookie, send it to firstname.lastname@example.org.