It’s the second week of school — perhaps the most important week of your life — and it’s all culminating in this glorious moment: Activities Night. You’re with your newly made dorm friends, held together amongst the crowd by the indelible bond that is being randomly selected to live in the same section by a computer-generated algorithm. You’re already 30 minutes in, and you still haven’t signed up for any activities. The pressure begins to build – Jenna from down the hall has already signed up for seven clubs, and you need something to show you’re serious about extracurricular commitments.
You look at the tables around you: World Taekwondo Federation Club, Competitive Video Gaming Consortium, College Republicans. It’s decision time. You feel Jenna’s eyes boring into the back of your head as though she’s reading your common app résumé section and disparaging your leadership skills. Frantically, you make for Competitive Video Gaming, and find yourself signing up for a men’s water polo tryout.
It’s two weeks later, and the stress has passed. Your section-mates think you’re really into balancing your academics and extracurricular involvement. You get your first email from Notre Dames! This one’s easy: read all of it, swear you’re going to go to the upcoming meeting and leave it in your inbox for at least three weeks.
After that, progress slowly. As you get the emails, open each one before you erase them. Maybe even read a few words before, calmly and coolly, you hit delete.
More time passes. You’ve got three exams next week to worry about. You no longer take the time to read the incessant stream of updates and agendas. You recognize the senders by name, and feel a slight twinge of guilt when you delete John O’Connor’s Art History Club update.
It’s Nov. 23. It has snowed every day for the last week and a half. Everyone keeps telling you this is “unusual” and “bound to stop soon,” but their reassuring words can’t quell your rising blood pressure. You open up Google Chrome to see seven emails in the last four hours from these presumptuous club presidents who think you want to know what they’ll be talking about this Wednesday night in the Dooley Room. Haven’t they noticed you never email back? Why don’t they just delete you from their Listserv? They can’t be that busy (it’s not like they have a club to run or something).
At this point, furious rage seeps forth. Let it wash over you and fuel you. Activities Night is never truly over, and this is a very important step in its follow-up. You don’t even care that your overly decorous roommate is hearing you drop the f-bomb, slandering these nefarious Peace Studies majors who dare to take up seconds of your time on a weekly basis.
Finally, you reach a place of stoic acceptance. It’s -15 degrees outside, your roommate never shuts off her alarm and you’re done emotionally investing yourself in a tidy inbox. You receive four unimportant emails, and you aren’t even launched into spending the next 30 minutes complaining that it was Indian food night at South Dining Hall.
That’s when you know you’ve made it. You’re a pro. You can do anything. You delete those emails without a second thought, nonchalantly mutter profanities like you’ve simply stubbed your toe and then stare into the Dooley room every Wednesday night wondering what in the world is going on in there.