When I was seven, a hornet stung me in the eye. It was an awful experience and it soured my taste for any sort of bee. When I found out I was going to a school that embraced the yellowjacket as its mascot, I began to reconsider my Lehigh application. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve heard of the universal misunderstanding, of which the bee is a victim. It’s been given a bad rap even though it’s one of the most integral parts of the insect world, transferring nectar and pollinating flowers – not to mention its storied affair with the bird, damn those tabloids. But its unfortunate sweet tooth and indelible desire for all things yellow make it a menace to everyone except the greatest insect enthusiasts. I eventually decided that high-fiving a sorority girl in a bee costume would hardly bring up traumatic childhood memories. What I found when I arrived on campus, however, was an interesting dichotomy that can only occur at a college whose mascot is an insect and whose school flower is a weed. The bee at Rochester is simultaneously a hero and a villain, a source of school pride and spirit and a constant pest that plagues the student body.This is most apparent around the steps of Wilson Commons, where the bee’s literal Hive nests adjacent to our own. However, there is no foosball at the bee’s hangout, just a garbage can and a pack of bloodthirsty yellowjackets. On my first day of orientation I made the mistake of eating on those steps. I soon discovered a group even more excited about the prospect of fresh meat than fraternity boys. My friends and I were forced inside the building and abandoned any hopes of fresh air. People all around campus consider the bees a pest and avoid them at all costs, even if it means avoiding Wilson Commons all together.While this certainly solves the problem of loitering, it raises a plethora of other issues. No one wants to see Wilson Commons become as feared as the pedestrian bridge. Nor should hundreds of UR fans recoil in post-traumatic stress when our mascot comes out to do cartwheels during football games. The sight of a bare thorax should make us feel warm and fuzzy inside in the same way that a miniskirt does. After all, it gets cold up here, and it’s either that or the jungle juice.The Yellowjacket is no worse a mascot than the Volunteer or the Fighting Irish. However, I doubt that there is a concern in Tennessee about a roving pack of Red Cross members, and any epidemic of rowdy Irishmen in Notre Dame probably has more to do with the prevalence of cheap Guinness. These bees are a bane on campus, and thankfully it’s only a matter of time before Mother Nature sweeps away the problem with one of her patented Rochester winters. Hopefully, the only yellowjackets in the tunnels will be those that are painted.Wrobel can be reached email@example.com.
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