How do you introduce yourself to the people with whom you might spend the next four years of your life? Act as normal as possible. Be cool. Don’t stand out too much, but make sure you stand out just enough. Who are these prospies, who want friends so badly but won’t risk embarrassing themselves in the baby stages? Bwogger Mia Lindheimer considers this phenomenon.
It’s December 20. A little over a week since Early Decision students received acceptance emails, and the Class of 2020 Facebook page is already blowing up with lists of 10 facts and posts compiling everyone’s social media accounts. Is this the right time to post? you think, is this what fashionably late looks like?
Questions like these plague your mind: How does one introduce themself to a group of hundreds of future friends without setting off red flags? What is the perfect first impression? Why didn’t they teach me this in high school? You decide you need to post, while it’s still the time. You scan other people’s introductory posts to see what’s popular, and find a general theme of bragging about intellectual books people “read for fun” and a list of TV shows people like. Seems simple enough. You rattle them off: “Hi guys, just thought I’d introduce myself! I’m so excited to join you all at Columbia next fall! I just finished War and Peace. I loved it, it was so gripping, I read it all in a day! Have any of you read it, too? I’m currently binge-watching Jessica Jones. Love the strong female characters!”
Oh no, was that too many exclamation points? Am I too excited? You decide to leave it up, because editing your introductory post would be weird. You politely reply to every comment on your post, hoping these other Tolstoy fanatics may one day be your best friends. Before you know it, you’re booking your flight for Days on Campus.
Arriving at Columbia, you see other kids acting embarrassed when their parents want to take pictures of them on College Walk. Your parents didn’t come, so you just kind of walk around until an event starts, skipping some panels to “go explore the neighborhood” with some people you met at the first thing you went to. You’re acting the most normal you could ever be; you’ve perfected normal in high school, and agreeable conversations here are easy.
You get back to campus on the first day of NSOP, and smile at someone you recognize from Days on Campus. They don’t smile back, and it hits you: you were trying to leave the best possible first impression, but instead you left none. You are the hardcore normcore. Your revelation leaves you looking ahead, with bigger dreams: NSOP is where you’ll give the perfect normal first impression.
Illustration by Nikki Shaner-Bradford