Life & Other Drugs, On "The Hill"

Campus Tour Anxiety

October 9, 2016

It’s 2:00 p.m.  I’ve finished all of my classes, I’ve grabbed a smoothie (with greens in it, because I’m ~healthy~), and I’ve plopped onto the side green. It is, as the kids call it, prime “fuck-around” time.  By this, I mean that I have immediately opened my laptop and pulled up Netflix to continue watching The Office, for the sixth time, as I online shop mildly in the background.  I’m perfectly content and have slipped into my own world, almost able to imagine I am Pam and Jim is my husband (I mean, John Krasinski went to Brown after all….).  But, this perfect Eden is squashed.  A mass of students with palpable stress, in the midst of the college application process, meander by—a.k.a. a college tour group.

I stress entirely too much in general, so when I noticed that the passing tour groups tend to incite my anxiety, I figured it was a “me” thing.  BUT, following observations of my classmates in the same situation, I have found fellow sufferers!

Common symptoms include:

  • Succumbing to the overwhelming compulsion to look like a prototypical Ivy League student
  • Unconscious straightening of the spine
  • Immediate termination of online shopping sites, Netflix, Tumblr, Facebook, and Twitter windows
  • Frantically opening a blank Word document and beginning to type gibberish
  • Artfully tucking a pencil behind the ear
  • And, as Sofia La Porta ’20 states, “Feeling like a fish in a bowl.”

My experience of campus tour anxiety is limited, in that I’m only exposed to it when I choose to ‘study’ on the green.  Some, however, have the unfortunate living situation of being on the first floor RIGHT in view of any stopping tour groups.  This manifests itself in either permanently drawn shades or severe guilt for sleeping in, and the occasional saucy strip-tease for a tour group.

Despite these less-than-fun consequences, tour groups also spark the measly nostalgia that I can have for an experience from a year ago.  Not so long ago, we were each that nervous high school senior who desperately wanted to know what each person on campus had managed to do to get in.  We’re the ones that made it—yes, you can sit on the green at 2:00 p.m. and watch The Office and STILL have gotten accepted.  Let’s stop with these false personas and be honest with visitors that you can be a small piece of shit and still make it to the Ivy League.  Or, maybe that’s just a Brown thing…

Cue the singing of an Alma Mater I’ve yet to learn.

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