Hippo City

James Eric Prichard

I chose a liberal arts college because I wanted to learn the transcendentally useful skills that such a school supposedly teaches. I also wanted a diploma because sometimes having one helps you get a job. I did not come to college to make friends; I had friends back home (i.e. my brothers and sisters), and they did not cost me $35k a year. I would obviously rather have good friends than not, but the collegiate social scene is secondary. Additionally, Lawrence ought to help me socially only indirectly. If the Admissions Office is doing its job, there will be plenty of interesting, intelligent people within a two-block radius of my room who would be good to befriend.It is not Lawrence’s responsibility to make friends for me. As a responsible, confident adult I not only can make my own friends but also hold an obligation to myself to do so to the extent that makes me happy. This isn’t first grade and your mom isn’t going to make play-dates for you anymore. You must forge the relationships that you require.

Maybe, however, you are not a responsible, confident adult, but instead are socially challenged and awkward. Or maybe you’re a petty little b*tch whom no one will befriend. Either way, you might be unable to make the relationships you need in order to be happy. If this is the case, drop out of school. The collegiate path requires a great investment of both time and money, and if you are not a responsible, confident adult, you are not ready to make such an investment. If you cannot make your own friends you obviously need to work on yourself as a person before you enter into adulthood. Some schools pride themselves on producing leaders and not followers, but I don’t know how you can call yourself a leader if you’re too scared to introduce yourself to someone.

It’s not that being shy or awkward makes you worthless, or that an introvert has no place in higher education. I’m simply saying that if you’re not ready to make your own friends, you’re not ready for college. You should experience the world for a few more years before choosing how to start the rest of your life.

Residence Life, unfortunately, helps people enjoy college who should not have applied in the first place. Instead of saying, “Can’t make friends? Why don’t you wait until you’ve matured a little,” it says, “Why don’t you let us help you make friends?” Just look at all of the programs intended to not only entertain us, but also bring us closer together. Look at the RLAs trying to get their freshmen to be friends with each other, or the cutesy hall programs. The institution of Residence Life keeps kids in an infantilized state, treating them like third-graders during Welcome Week, except at Playfair, where they are pre-schoolers. It propagates the American tradition of sending unprepared kids to college, giving them crutches when they need corrective surgery. It plucks social responsibility from the hands of individuals and instead plans their activities as if college were a summer camp, directly contradicting the tradition of self-government evident in J-Board, Honor Council, etc.

Residence Life not only contributes to the immaturity of the student body, but is a drain on resources as well. Along with other “academic” institutions, it mollycoddles Lawrentians at the expense of our wallets. Community-building should be in the hands of individuals, not paid-professionals. I would rather pay for my education and not pay to usher others into adulthood.