Alternative Title: The Survivalist’s Guide to Christian College Campuses
This enriching, thorough guide to the natural habitat of the Christian liberal arts college campus will help you, the brave adventurer, better understand its complex inner-workings, especially its indigenous species: the “College Student”. Before we begin our deeper observations, you must be able to blend into the campus and hopefully be assimilated into its culture to best observe its population. To begin, you must camouflage yourself.
APPEARANCE: To best adapt to blustery New England, you must seem the part. First, change your name. If you are a female of the human species, adopt the moniker “Rachel” or “Sarah”. If you are particularly daring, you might even consider “Hannah”. If you are a male, you only get “Brian” or “Matt”.
Now as a female you have three options of dressing:
THE ATHLETE: To prove your athleticism in this “survival-of-the-fittest” habitat, you must wear running pants every day of the week. Added with a sweatshirt (adorned with the Gordon logo to alert outsiders of your dominance) and an elastic headband, you are ready to look windswept from lacrosse practice everyday.
THE HIPSTER: Although the naturalist might assume that this is where one may wear whatever they want, there is a strict code to “Hipster” dressing. You must own an ungodly amount of jean jackets and thick-framed glasses. You may wear high-waisted skirts and dresses over tights with an ironic oversized sweater on top. Please recycle 90s artifacts.
CLASSIC NEW ENGLANDER: Black leggings, knee-high riding boots, Northface for chilly days, and flannel any other time. All must be expensive brand-name but to look like you found them at a garage sale. With a to-go coffee cup, you are well on your way to blending in!
As a male you may only chose between THE ATHLETE (baseball hat, sweater) or THE HIPSTER (decorative scarves, tight jeans ((must also be suitable for Ultimate Frizbee or pretentious discussions about Wes Anderson)), glasses, plaid).
CAMPUS LIFE: When walking around the campus, please avert your gaze to your fellow classmates; any form of human contact outside their cliques scares these sensitive creatures. You may notice the “herd affect”: large groups of girls walk with purpose to classes while large communities of males will congregate on the quad (please refer to “QUAD CONGREGATION“). People will move with purpose during the cold weather season but will linger outdoors slightly at the turn of the season. They are particularly sensitive to sunlight.
While everyone will identify themselves with social positions (ie. Student Body president, AJ Gordon fellows, soccer team player) and boast of their academic pursuits, no one will actually seem busy, but constantly working. Prepare yourself for the paradoxical observation that everyone is doing everything yet never does anything, all at the same time.
While some events to try to socialize these herds may take place (such as a dance or concert), they will most likely be poorly attended. The naturalist must be wary of such events; if they are trapped in one, adopt a nonchalant, ironic attitude to survive.
For their actual courses, the naturalist will best assimilate into one of two majors. BIBLICAL STUDIES will help the naturalist better understand the liberal religious undertones on campus while COMMUNICATIONS/VISUAL ARTS will open the door to exciting and pretentious pursuits within the hipster culture.
QUAD CONGREGATING: Please refer to “THE MATING RITUALS OF THE CHRISTIAN COLLEGE STUDENT”
FOOD: The dietary habits of the Christian college student are unique. While they will forage through the dining commons for edible sustenance, they will also resort to delivery pizza, and if desperate, microwavable food.
ENTERTAINMENT: Some of these species will take to the outdoors, so they can take pictures of wildlife to share with Instagram. Others spend their hours at the gym, in a sort of “preening” for the mating season. But most students spend their time in the dark indoors, cowering from the light and hunched over the dull glow of their laptops. *Warning to the naturalist: Do not take away their Wifi connection! This is proven to anger the student to the brink of aggression*
FRIENDSHIPS: The naturalist at this point might be wandering how he/she may best integrate themselves within the community, instead of being a third-party observer. Alas, this delicate, fragile species has yet to learn common social codes. They are so close-knit to their tribe that they are borderline xenophobic. To the naturalist, take heart. While they are easily confused and bamboozled by strangers, time and persistence has garnered some success.
Equipped with this information, the naturalist may now enjoy life at a New England Christian college campus!