I have recently been asked by the powers that be here at The Minaret to write yet another article about freshmen. Those who have been keeping up with The Minaret Online or have read its archives know that this assignment usually ends in disaster. As someone who self-medicates all his problems with caffeine, I can barely remember what I was doing six hours ago, let alone what it was like to be a UT freshman in 1914.
Most of my interactions with freshmen came not when I was one – as a 21 year old freshman I had to dodge my peers constantly, lest I be asked to pop on over to Scotland and buy them absinthe – but as a Resident Assistant. Tragically, my career was cut short last year when I was injured pursuing the supervillain Dr. Doom (who briefly taught at UT’s Biology department) across the rooftops.
I retired at the rank of lieutenant colonel and was beloved by all, if I do say so myself. Though I no longer associate with ResLife officially in any way, I would like to give some pointers and reminders about things that occasionally cause friction between students and RAs. I hope this will be illuminating to the fresh and not-so-fresh alike.
Many dorms are “dry.”
This means alcohol may not be possessed or consumed on the premises. Naturally, if you are not 21, you may not possess or consume alcohol anywhere on campus. As such, rolling kegs down the hallway at 3 a.m. is frowned upon by your Resident Assistant. In fact, kegs are also prohibited. All of this holds true even if you are dressed from head-to-toe in a Disney-themed fur suit. Please do not expect your Resident Assistant to write up “Tigger” in your place.
Your RA is not Batman.
He or she does not hold power over life and death, and is not judge, jury and executioner. In fact, your RA is part of a vast and convoluted bureaucracy, and does not have the power to overlook your transgressions. Many RAs need their stipend and cannot afford to lose it. This is often just as true for Head Residents, who may be pursuing a career in law, politics or vigilante justice. Keep it real.
Do not use your underwear as a hat.
In days of yore, streaking was a dress code violation, which shows that someone, somewhere, has a strange sense of humor. However, it has now been upgraded and is taken very seriously. Yes, even if you lost a bet. No, we don’t care that the Mets are due for a win. Most buildings have cameras, and your RA will probably round the corner just in time to see, much to the regret of all.
There is no right amount of pot.
Zero tolerance isn’t just a good idea, it’s the law. Contrary to rumor, RAs do not ritualistically poke rubber plugs up their nostrils when they join the company. I’m not sure where this rumor started, but the point is, RAs can, and often do, smell.
Animals are not your friends.
There’s only so much space in the average UT dorm room. If you try to conceal a Bengal tiger, someone is going to find out. If the occasional gurgling scream in the night doesn’t do it, the tennis ball sized droppings are a dead giveaway.
Other animals you may not have at UT include, but are not limited to, elephants, vultures, rhinoceroses, orangutans, aardvarks, bats, or any other Amazon rain forest creature.
What you move in, you will someday move out.
Though that day seems like a long way away, it will someday be tomorrow. There are only a limited number of hand carts in the universe at any given moment and they will all be in use. On top of this, even if you move out in December, it will be 107 degrees without a cloud in the sky. Sadly, your RA can’t help. Start sending your extra stuff back home next week.
If you are in the Boathouse…
One of your “walls” will actually be a towel, so remember, “good towels make good neighbors.” The Boathouse is one of the best places to make lasting friendships, but not having a towel is like auditioning for Big Brother. The hanging of the towels is traditionally one of the Boathouse’s first community-building exercises.
Remember these few things and you’re bound to get along well with the few, the proud, the thin blue line that protects our campus from utter annihilation, the Resident Assistants. Naturally, this will enhance your campus living experience whether you happen to be a senior, a junior, a sophomore