Alumni Weekend came as quickly as an undersexed 35-year-old with a full-time cubicle job as soon as he spots something fertile. Like a dark, ominous cloud — holding not refreshing showers, but a disturbing concoction of flat keg beer and alumni semen — it hovered over I.V., raining down upon us with the reminder of old flames we thought we’d never have to see (sleep with) again.
But to be fair, there is something inordinately thrilling about having one last (until next year) go-around with someone who can’t stop repeating the phrase “Only in I.V.” as you physically recount your relationship one thrust at a time.
There is something even more thrilling about being that little gem of nostalgia your alum will keep close to heart on dark nights, when they’re filing their tax return, musing on how badly I.V. screwed them up for the real world of dating. (Who knew that a bro tank with “DTF Sluts” on it wouldn’t work as a stand-alone pick-up line?)
Despite the discomfort I felt watching a middle-aged man at the Study Hall slosh shamelessly from bar stool to bar stool, waiting for one morally questionable undergrad with daddy issues to jump on his promises of financial stability, this weekend did instill a sweet, misguided pride in me for the alumni that UCSB produces.
Sure, once the tassle has been turned, we’re left with thousands of aimless faces looking around at each other like, “Shit, are you the only ones who will understand me out there?” Yes, we probably are. But the uniqueness of our explicit ventures here in this little town of wonderful misfits is that they prepare a wildness in us that will be fondly (and desperately) held onto — like that last saliva-diluted plastic handle at the party — for as long as our livers permit us to keep on keepin’ on.
I.V. is a magical place. Yeah, I said it. And I’ll continue to say it till my UCSB sweatshirt has moth holes in it and “Loopy” better describes my mental state than my absurd, vodka-laden, bar-hopping Saturday afternoon with a bunch of lovable disasters I’m proud to call my best friends.
This weekend reminded me of the damn awesome-as-shit spirit of you people — both beneath the sheets and, you know, in life. There’s something remarkable about seeing that guy who used to end up with a mop duct-taped to his torso every weekend return with a vengeance after three years out of college. And that old flame? Hell yeah, I hope you hit yours too, because there are few things so excellent as the realization of “Damn, that was worth all the emotional trauma it resulted in a couple years ago.”
So, to the middle-aged troll at the Study Hall, to the alum I’ll never forget (at least until I get around to washing my bedsheets), to all of us who are still here, waking up Friday, Saturday and Sunday morning, questioning our character while we scour last night’s clothing for any telling stains: I salute you. And I will be the first to buy you a drink next year.
Jana Barrett is the Daily Nexus Opinion Co-Editor.
It’s May 2. Writing that fills me with a degree of nausea I’ve never before known in my life. I’ll find a job I love and keep in touch with the important people; that doesn’t worry me. I’m much more worried about my social habits. Isla Vista is a unique and magnificent place — but how well will that translate into the work world?
I have a very distinct vision of how my work parties will unfold. My nightmare transpires like this: I’ve found a job I love and am slowly but surely proving to my colleagues that I’m cool, mostly with marginally offensive penis jokes. Thursday night rolls around and a co-workers innocently and fatally invites me to a happy hour gathering. I prepare to take it easy this first time, reminding myself that I’m actually much more fun to be around when my eyes aren’t crossed and I’m not slurring offensive “would you rather”s about railing your own father. We arrive at the bar, I order a beer, one thing leads to the next and BAM, I’m taking body shots off my boss. God forbid I’m ever in a professional setting with a wine bag … do adults drink Franzia?
As Gauchos, we’ve spent four years perfecting a very specific skill set: making obliteration sexy. Perfecting may be a generous term, but we didn’t get into UCLA, and perfection is relative. Unfortunately, LinkedIn has yet to recognize blacked-out blowies as a legitimate professional attribute, so I guess we’ll just have to adjust. This isn’t anything to get discouraged about — instead, let’s view it as a challenge. There will come a day when you have to feel a bit guilty about boning down in a grimy bathroom, but why dwell on the future?
Freshmen: You spent the last two quarters regressing from Smirnoff to Heritage, while struggling to balance three bullshit classes per quarter. Don’t worry if you haven’t figured out how to incorporate sloshed sex yet — that’s what sophomore year is for.
Sophomores: If you’re on track, slutty is no longer a label but a lifestyle. Well done.
Juniors: At some point this past year, you felt directionless. You entered into a losing philosophical debate with yourself about the purpose of drinking so much and struggled to see your self-worth. Well snap out of it; you’re a Gaucho, goddammit.
Seniors: You’ve come to terms with the fact that you no longer deserve your parents’ love and are panicking imagining a world of courtship and consequences. To you I suggest going out with a bang — bone down in the library, Bill’s bus, OTT’s bathroom and your roommate’s bed ASAP. There’s something to be said for packing it in at the end. You know, taking some for the road.
In reality, we’re going to take a lot away with us from UCSB — a degree, a wealth of knowledge and an outlook on seizing the moment that dangerously flirts with alcoholism. I talk big about conforming to professional standards, but let’s be real: It’s going to take years to undo our undergrad damage. And if that’s going to make me a ho in the workplace, then so be it.
Jenna Ryan is the Daily Nexus Opinion Co-Editor.