Last week, I uploaded a picture of some red cups and my dad commented this:
“Chelsea. You drink too much. I never expected this behavior from my little girl. If you are too hungover tomorrow to call your grandmother on her birthday, she will cry. Love, Daddy.”
Sorry Dad. Growing up is difficult. Obviously, there are times when I would rather be that 7-year-old sipping Tang in my tree house; then again, she had a weird haircut and not many friends. My long-awaited metamorphosis into a semi-adult has certainly been worthwhile. But freshmen, I’m looking at you now. Why make your own mistakes when you can learn from mine? Here’s a list of the noteworthy ways I’ve flopped and evolved at Duke.
Prior to Duke: My drinking experiences went as follows: Host slumber party. Make sure parents are asleep. Sneak into liquor cabinet. Steal anything dusty and/or gift-wrapped, (cinnamon schnapps, crème de menthe, Manischewitz, etc.). Grab “mixers” from the fridge, like that fancy pomegranate juice or coconut water you’ve been eyeing. Watch Legally Blonde or equivalent. Claim drunkenness after three sips of weird drink. Never-have-I-ever/skinny-dip/prank-call cute boys. Dad complains of noise. Go to bed feeling like a badass.
At Duke: It’s been a process of trial and error. Duke taught me what I like to drink, how much of it I can drink before I get freaky, how to care for drunk people and how to care for a hangover. It took me a freshman year of Franzia migraines, throwing up in weird places and developing (and killing) certain habits, such as licking things I shouldn’t and inappropriate Facebooking, to develop my alcohol savoir-faire. If Duke hadn’t taught me such etiquette, imagine what might happen after too many mimosas at brunch with my fiancé’s parents? Or too many martinis at the company Christmas party?
Prior to Duke: All-girls boarding school. Imagine spending your week locked up with 300 wonderful girls who sweat at the sight of an adolescent male. Aside from gawking at the Starbucks townies, my interactions with boys involved being attacked by the first one to approach me at each weekend’s coed dance. After tons of sober making out, dry humping/dancing and occasionally sneaking behind the squash courts for some scandalous canoodling, we were sent back to our respective schools. No occasion for any civilized conversation. So many hormones + so little time = let’s get physical. And maybe text each other during the week to reminiscence in Saturday night’s awkward glory until next time.
At Duke: The best thing about high school was that the males were easy to avoid. Break up with your boyfriend? He’s locked away at the boys’ school so you never see him. At Duke, however, having an icky hookup means you’ll bump into him when you’re anxious in the student health waiting room or scarfing down that haystack at the Tower at 4:00 a.m. (with bacon in your hair, of course). These situations, while unfortunate, actually teach us things. Handling an awkward encounter with poise is a useful skill. Next time you want to kick that boy out of your room in the morning, here’s what I’ve learned: “Hey! Fun time last night. Anyway, I’m going (jogging, to the gynecologist, to church, etc…), wanna join?” They never do.
Prior to Duke: I was a GPA-crazed freak whose worst fears included B’s, junior varsity teams and safety schools—pretty typical for a current Dukie. I prioritized grades above developing social skills (see item number two). I put minimal effort into my appearance. No boys meant messy hair and that shaven legs were only a necessity when boys would be seeing them, and even then…. The lack of a dress code meant men’s flannel shirts, anything tie-dyed at summer camp, leggings with holes in them and L.L. Bean boots (before they were cool) comprised my wardrobe. Yes, I was a twitchy ball of stress in weird outfits with hairy legs.
At Duke: My GPA took a huge hit thanks to freshman year calculus. I cried for too long (more than five minutes) and then realized I was still alive and with actual shaven legs to boot! One bad grade did not equal death. This was my academic near-death experience. Dangerous stress levels and too much time in the Chinese Reading Room were not conducive to sanity or a good math grade. I also ditched the pre-med track and thank goodness, because afterwards I realized that my girl-crush on Grey’s Anatomy’s Cristina fueled over 80 percent of my interest in medicine. Regarding my social skills, now I can usually converse with the males without twitching or talking about the weather. And as for my appearance, well, Dukies are beautiful and so I’ve starting brushing my hair and wearing hole-less leggings (most of the time).
Well folks, I hope you’ve enjoyed this peek into my formative years. And when in doubt, always remember: The most questionable decisions yield the best stories. I’d also suggest going easy on the Franzia (years later and I swear I’m still recovering).
Chelsea Sawicki is a Trinity senior. Her column is part of the weekly Socialites feature and runs every other Wednesday. Send Chelsea a message on Twitter @ChelsTweetzz.