As a prelude to this article, I’d like to share my first memory of college with you. While I was settling into my room during my first day of Freshman Orientation, a drunk student suddenly threw open the door. “Get the hell out of my room,” he demanded angrily.

“Actually, this is my room,” I defiantly responded.

“Maybe so,” he replied, “but this used to be my room, and before I moved out, I left my mark on it.”

“What are you talking about?” I asked with a tone of bewilderment.

“Just get a black-light for your room and you’ll understand,” he answered as he made his way out the door.

Intrigued, I raced out my door and began asking the other students living in my hall if they would loan me a black light. Finally, I was able to acquire a black light and, upon turning it on, the drunken student’s statement became all too clear. On the wall over my bed in huge highlighted letters read the statement, “Girls That I Hooked Up With in 2002,” and underneath, a list of roughly 30 names. It was only then that I knew I had made the correct decision about where to attend college.

With graduation rapidly approaching, I begun to reminisce about my past four years at UR. During each of these tributary sessions of recollection, I find myself overcome with memories of my college experience that cumulatively fill me with joy. Like myself, many of this year’s graduating seniors will regard May 20 as a day of happiness. They will take solace in the fact that after four years of having to make the weekly decision between spending Saturday night at Carlson or at the Frat Quad, their graduation entails that they probably made the right choice more times than not. Conversely, there are seniors who view their graduation as a time of sadness – as a day that marks the end of the greatest period of happiness that their lives will offer.

Of course, happiness and sadness are by no means the only emotions that students will feel during their graduation. Nevertheless, as a corollary to any emotions felt by students at their graduation, there is an assortment of memories associated with that given emotional experience. Generally, these memories are positive – the happy student will reminisce about certain events that contributed to his happiness; the sad student will reminisce about the same happy events and remorse those good times that have passed them by. There is a certain emotion, however, whose associated memories fall on the outskirts of this positive realm. This emotion is dedicated to amusing events of our past, which were greatly upsetting at the time of their occurrence. Take for example, the time in 7th grade when I asked the first girl I ever had a crush on if she wanted to dance. “Sure,” she replied, “just not with you.” Four years later, during a school dance, the same girl approached me and asked me to dance. “Sure,” I began “just?” I suddenly stopped.

“Just what?” she retorted.

“Just?.nothing, let’s dance,” I said with a resigned grin. Had I not gotten over her slight of four years earlier, I might have reciprocated in kind. Because I held my tongue however, she became a “first” of a very different nature the following day: the first naked girl I woke up next to in bed. The moral of this flashback is that in order to mature emotionally, we must confront and come to terms with our past emotional wounds. Accordingly, it was during my final week of college that I was finally able to come to terms with the first (and perhaps most) discomforting incident that occurred to me during my college experience.

Toward the beginning of my first semester in college, a student in my hall began to spread around a rumor that I was a cheater. By the end of that week, many of the hallmates that I once considered friends no longer wanted to do homework or study with me. By the end of the semester, these hallmates no longer invited me to their rooms for weekly poker games or on weekends to “pregame” with them. I often hear my college friends talk about how great freshman year was and the special bond of friendship that developed between them and their freshman hallmates. Unfortunately, for the entire second semester of my freshman year, the aforementioned rumor precluded me from experiencing any such “bond.” Instead, I became the social pariah of my hall and was forced to look elsewhere for friendship.

A couple of weeks ago, my former hallmate approached me on the academic quad and invited me to his room for a “freshman hall reunion.” As I considered his offer, I suddenly realized that in order to put the past behind me, I’d need to settle the score with my nemesis. Thus, after accepting his offer, I spent the rest of the week plotting an elaborate plan of retaliation. As part of my plan, I bought a special highlighting agent that can only be seen under black light. I then used my Facebook connections to find out many of the girls whom my nemesis hooked up with over the past four years. When the party finally rolled around, I had to wait for my nemesis to reach a sufficiently inebriated state before I carried on with my revenge. After I watched him win four straight games of Beirut, I knew the time had come. Stealthily, I snuck away from the party with the highlighting agent, and entered my former hallmate’s room. I then proceeded to write the names of his known “hook ups” on the wall over his bed with the highlighting agent.

When I saw him two days later, I greeted him warmly and thanked him for inviting me to his party. I then offhandedly said, “so I heard about that list in your room.”

“What list?,” he replied confusedly.

“That list of girls on your wall,” I answered assertively.

My nemesis paused for a moment, squinting his eyes and cocking his head to the side. “I think you’re mistaken,” he finally said, “you probably have me confused for someone else.”

“Definitely not,” I shot back, “I heard about this list from two separate people.”

“Well it’s news to me, but indulge me and tell me about this list.”

A smile came over me as I began, “The guy who lived in your room last year put together a list of girls that you can only see by illuminating your room with a black-light and?”

“A list of girls?” my nemesis said, cutting me off. “What is the significance of the girls on this list?”

“I’m not sure,” I responded.

“Well I’m going back to my room now so I’ll let you know what I find,” he told me as he turned to walk back to his room. Thirty minutes later, I received an instant message from him on AIM reading: “You were right, there’s a list of girls on my wall.”

“Can you tell what it’s a list of?” I wrote back.

“Yeah, the list’s title says it all: ‘Girls who have STDs.'” Schwartz is a member of the class of 2007.



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