Columns / Discourse / September 26, 2013

More 12 than 21: Observations from a dorm room

Everybody, at some point in their academic life, wonders what college is going to be like, and I was no exception. However, in all my wondering and worrying, I never pictured anything even close to reality. In the two weeks that I‘ve been in college, I’ve already had some pretty interesting experiences, which of course included joining clubs, meeting new people, adjusting to life in a new place, and most of the other things you’d typically expect from your first week or two in college.

However, there were also a lot of unpredictable things that happened, like going to the poster sale with my roommate and seriously debating buying an Alice in Wonderland poster (the book, not the movie), talking about turning the entire suite into a blanket fort (complete with plastic tubes connecting the hallways), bringing home a container of homemade cookies for the suite one afternoon (only to find all but one of them gone by the time I woke up the next morning), being forced out of my suite by three fire alarms, all in the span of twelve hours, two of which within a half-hour of each other (Seriously, what was that about?) and telling my roommate that if Santa Clause really did exist, he would have to be a communist (If you want, I’ll explain that theory in a later column).

Weirder still, he accepted it without the slightest argument (Though admittedly it’s a lot more fun when I have to explain why). However, if there is one event that stands out amongst all the excitement and hilarity of the first few weeks, it is definitely when we voted, almost unanimously, to watch Miyuzaki’s “Princess Mononoke” for our first movie night.

When you hear about college, usually it’s in the form of drinking stories, wild parties and people experimenting with being an adult for the first time, being alone with nobody supervising them. For some reason it never comes up that there’s a flip-side to this coin, that while some kids will deal with independence by trying to do more adult things, others revert entirely, acting more like they’re 12 than 21, because just like the no drinking lecture is no longer monitored, neither is the “act your age” one.

Suddenly, we’re free to veg out in front of the computer watching video game commentaries, fall asleep in front of a Japanese anime flick and snack almost exclusively on Kool-Aid, Double Stuffed Oreo cookies and decaffeinated soda (my doctor says I can’t have a lot of caffeine) without fear of judgment.

There is an anonymous quote that states “growing old is mandatory. Growing up is optional,” and I couldn’t agree with it more. Back in high school, I was always that loner who sat by himself, lost in thought, rocking back and forth like I’ve done for as long as I can remember. I’m terrified of horror movies and still refuse to see one. That’s also why I won’t drink, smoke or anything even remotely close. Heck, even drinking caffeine feels like rebellion.

I always looked up to my brother, Andy when I was growing up, and to this day, most of the music I listen to is stuff he introduced me to. (No wonder most of it is from the early-to-mid-2000s.) Arguably most pathetic of all is that I’m scared of going to bed too late because if I don’t get enough sleep then my schoolwork might suffer, so yeah, I’m immature. Inside of me there’s a little kid who’s been in charge since day one and still refuses to relinquish control, only now it’s different. Now he has real power, and he’s loving every minute of it. The only advice I can give him is the famous quote from Spiderman (one of his personal heroes:) “With great power comes great responsibility.” Other than that, rock on, little dude. Rock on!

Tony Rogde-Hinderliter

Tags:  adulthood anime College Knox College Miyuzaki Princess Manonoke Spiderman

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