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The Carletonian

The Carletonian

The Carletonian

Why I get dirty looks this semester

<ve a question. How many people go to Carleton? Actually, I looked it up, and Wiki tells me that 1,958 students are currently attending. Is that accurate?

Regardless, that is just about the same size as my school, so we can all agree that it isn’t hard to know who everybody is on campus. And even if you don’t know somebody’s name, odds are you can give a pretty decent description of the group with whom he or she associates, and then your friends can narrow it down. (Oh, the OTHER group of hipsters. Like, alternate hipster group that main hipster group dislikes. Yeah, I know exactly who you’re talking about.)

So when a new face makes its way onto campus, it quickly becomes everyone’s obligation to wonder why this new person has never been spotted before. Where did this person come from? Is it just a visiting friend of another, more known character on campus? Is it just a theater kid? Because that would explain it.

Well I have news for you. My face is not new. I just went abroad.

I have gone from amused to disgruntled in regards to my treatment as a recently returned student. As a second semester junior, I can pretty confidently say that I am somewhat familiar with the inner workings of the college, such as how the line at the cafeteria functions.

Yet, while I elbowed my way through the over-crowded dining hall yesterday evening, I got an overwhelming amount of confused looks from passerby. Do I want to make this a pointed criticism at second semester freshman? Well, yes, kind of. It’s not their fault that they’ve never seen me before. On the other hand, I remember a time when we didn’t serve brand name coffee or have a Sub Shack, so I guess if we are keeping score, I win. Last night a girl took one step into our cafeteria, looked at me, then announced to her friends, “But seriously, where did all of these people come from?” And then I tripped her.

The comedy of the situation is based solely in the fact that most colleges’ off campus programs heavily prepare their students for extreme culture shock upon returning to America. I had never been out of the country prior to going abroad, so I had no idea what this phenomenon consisted of. I actually pictured myself collapsing into a heap of snot and tears upon facing a McDonald’s for the first time. Needless to say, that didn’t happen, but I did get a tummy ache.

The real preparations should be made for the students who will be shocked by my presence come the new semester. This phenomenon is called Katie Shock – when you are shocked to see me. Is it completely self-centered of me to think that people who do not know me should be forewarned about my impending presence on campus? At a daunting 5-foot-4, I totally understand where I could be seen as an intimidating figure.

I know it’s heartbreaking to find out the senior you’ve been talking to all semester is back in the arms of his girlfriend who is fresh off the plane from Scotland. I know there are too many people at dinner now and, yes, the dynamic of your hall is probably askew. In spite of these things, though, I would like to interject a small point:  We’re people, too, and we were here first.

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