Exclusives: Raising Kate
PAW web exclusive column by Kate Swearengen '04 (firstname.lastname@example.org)
to help the frosh move in
finds the new kids in the quads, well, different
By Kate Swearengen '02
Henry Martin '48
I'm not sure what to
think about this year's crop of freshmen.
For one thing, there
are too many of them: The Class of 2005 has 1,185 students, 20 more
than Fred Hargadon bargained for. But hey, so what if our dean of
admission is bad at math? Given my high school math grades, I should
be glad that I have an ally in West College.
And, really, I should
be grateful for other things. I haven't yet run into the crowd of
bottle blondes who spent their pre-frosh weekend queued up to buy
cigarettes at the Wa last spring. Apparently, they all decided to
go to Dartmouth. Still, after hearing frosh exchange the following
remarks on campus, such small consolations are inadequate:
"Hey, man, you
won't believe what happened. I woke up this morning with a cut on
my face, someone else's prox in my pocket, and no shirt."
"So if I buy porn
and charge it to my U-Store card, the bill will be sent home to
nothing in the Housing Department guidelines that says you can't
Take a look at the parents
of the Class of 2005, and you'll understand how the kids got that
way. I spent Saturday morning skulking around in a Butler College
T-shirt, offering to help the freshmen find their dorms and to carry
their bags. Reasoning that an earlier shift would mean fewer people
and, therefore, less work, I had signed up to work at 9:00 a.m.
All that an earlier shift means, though, is that you're stuck with
students and parents from the tri-state region. If I had been smart,
I would have signed up for a later shift, one filled with polite
Midwesterners and laid-back Californians. As it was, these were
the kind of people who I got to deal with:
"Did you know that
Leonard was cotreasurer of his senior class?" someone's parent
Seeing as I had only
met Leonard three minutes earlier, I had to admit that I didn't.
"Well, he was.
And he scored a 1420 on his SATs. He's a pretty impressive kid,
Most of the parents
I met were unwilling to ask a girl to carry heavy baggage, and motioned
me away when I asked if I could help. Ordinarily, this situation
would have annoyed me, but I relished the opportunity to avoid further
contact. Sadly, my luck did not last.
"Do you need any
help?" I asked one man.
said, opening the tailgate of his Jeep to reveal a massive refrigerator.
"How about giving me a hand with this?"
said doubtfully. "I guess the two of us could probably lift
"No can do,"
he said sadly. "I just had surgery for a hernia last year.
You're on your own for this one."
"You know, on second
thought, I'm not sure that your refrigerator complies with the Housing
Department regulations. It looks kind of big to me."
is exactly 5.2 cubic feet," he said proudly. "The maximum
allowable size. And I drove all over New Jersey to find it."
But what business do
I have complaining about other peoples' parents? My own parents
planned to come on Saturday, three days after I had arrived on campus,
in order to bring me wire hangers. I tried to dissuade them from
coming, telling them that one of my friends would have extra hangers,
and that I had stored everything from last year on campus.
"We already have
the tickets," my mother said. "And besides, we'll be able
to take you to Target and K-Mart. And to the Princeton Diner. You
can't get there on a bicycle."
So my parents joined
me in Princeton, bought me groceries at Wegman's, and took me out
for lunch and dinner. Toward the end of their stay, my mother commented
that this year's group of freshmen looked less preppy than my fellow
"That's about the
only positive thing you can say about them," I told her grumpily,
as I limped to the rental car.
You can reach Kate Swearengen