Emory was recently named a top-20 school by U.S. News and World Report and a top-17 school by The Wall Street Journal and Times Higher Education. However, even the glow of our new prestige can’t mask the fact that after almost six weeks on campus, students are starting to recognize that they’ve developed questionable lifestyle patterns. The initial spark of the year is gone. We’re all doomed until we fix our mentality on class-based privilege and stop starting drama. Peace out, mortals!
Emory’s a pretty fancy school, right? But as of 2014, 48 percent of the students here were on need-based financial aid, illustrating Emory’s economic diversity. I attended a public high school, but come from a rich county and honestly just am not used to being around people with such different backgrounds. It never occurred to me that when I ask someone to grab dinner off-campus, they may not be able to afford it. I want to be considerate without being offensive. I know I sound spoiled and ignorant, but I really am just trying to make friends. Any advice would be much appreciated.
Checking Dat Privilege
Dear Checking Dat Privilege,
As an immortal being, it is very difficult for me to understand the plights of the delicate, slowly expiring humans. However, I don’t complain about how on my 1,000th birthday party, none of the DJs I had reserved many years in advance will be able to perform. Be classy. Don’t talk about how you wanted a Range Rover but your parents gave you their old BMW instead. More importantly, don’t complain about how much you hate that car.
Feel lucky for what you’ve been given. Be careful about making broad statements about people less fortunate than yourself. Be thoughtful: if you’re having a gift exchange, make sure everyone can afford the costs by setting a reasonable price limit. When going out to eat with others, don’t just assume everyone wants to split the bill evenly. Some people actually factor in the price of the food when deciding what to order.
While people back home have likely worked hard to achieve their current success, it’s not as though people who aren’t as financially successful as your family aren’t just as hardworking. Money issues are complicated; even if you’re not eligible for financial aid, it isn’t easy to come up with $60k tuition every year. Learn from your friends: hear them out when they’re talking about their own financial situations and find out ways to become an ally to communities fighting socioeconomic injustice.
So basically I hate drama, but I keep getting sucked into this crazy first-year experience. It all started when I was in Dobbs visiting my friend Lindsay (who I kind of hate because she’s a total dirtbag but who you’d totally love. She’s the sweetest.) I was walking down the hall, and I saw my friend Monica with this random blonde girl, who asked me who I was in the rudest tone. Can you believe that? “Who are you?” Like excuse me, ask me for my name like a person with some manners. She is the worst. I want her dead. People here are the worst.
Dear Drama Llama,
Look at your life. Look at your choices. Look at your grades. Look at the poorly worded email you sent your Philosophy of Religion professor begging for an extension on a two-page, double-spaced paper. How much has living life this way hurt you and your peers? Calm down, kid. You’ve been here six weeks; you can’t start hating people yet. Save that for junior year. Only hang out with the people you genuinely like — none of this “she’s my best friend but she’s also completely terrible and I hate her” nonsense.
No more lying. No more manipulating. No more backstabbing.
Just follow one of my favorite quotes: “Think before you speak, breathe before you sing, dance like nobody’s watching.”
I got my foot stuck in the toilet again. Back in Oregon, I always had my mommy and daddy help me get it out whenever this happened. What do I do?
Dear Potty Mouth,
Exams really do bring out the weird in people. Try to get enough sleep, so you can function normally!