This past weekend, some friends and I ventured to our hallowed home state to visit a few of our closest high school compadres at Cornell. We’d braced ourselves for what we expected would be a campus hugely different from ours; what we experienced, though, wasn’t a “campus” – it was a goddamn capital. Dun-dun-DUN…
The panic ensued promptly upon our arrival. As we frantically navigated from one end of campus to another in search of my best friend’s sorority house, we found ourselves driving over bridges and passing what were, apparently, skyscrapers—buildings that, I shit you not, could accommodate all of our college’s facilities (like, I’m sorry, but are you guys actually practicing building houses and shit in your Milstein Hall? Because I’m preeeetty sure that’s the only plausible reason that thing should be so massive). Truthfully, we felt like fucking rubes – like little country mice lost in a bewildering little city. Where was the snug little student center to greet us as soon as we drove through the gates? The central quad? The one main street where cars break sans-stoplight? Turns out, despite all our mental preparations, we were totally lost at sea.
Not without the help of the GPS, we finally found the house. In an astonishing turn of events, we were running exceptionally late, and our hosts had already left for the *mandatory* pregame for the night’s ultimate destination: the GOPiNK Gala (disclaimer: I really don’t meant to trivialize/poke fun at the event as a whole; it supported a sensational cause, I just can’t help but giggle at the thought of a bunch of degenerate 20-year-olds gathered at a “gala”). Frazzled, we threw on fresh clothes, heels, some deodorant for good measure, and scurried over to our Greek terminus, otherwise known as Psi U. For you Western ignoramuses: the U stands for Upsilon. Don’t get it twisted.
I should mention that although our school doesn’t have Greek life, the frat scene wasn’t entirely unfamiliar. Really, it was just a hyper-aggressive, hyper-ostentatious, hyper-inebriated version of the kind of parties that go down at athletic houses here in good ol’ collegiate Western Mass. (Side note: I spotted more Rolex-clad wrists in that frat than I did at the debutante ball I crashed last year – so perfectly, deliciously predictable). We took a few shots with our bitches! and began our festivities-bound hike.
To my absolute delight, the fête was well populated with girls in glittering Hervés and boys in Gucci loafers. There were linen table clothes, vases full of pink gumballs and M&M’s, and professional photographers snapping shots of sorority-squatters in front of those super posh red carpet backdrop things with the event name printed all over it so that you didn’t forget that you were, in fact, at the GOPiNK Gala.
After the party, we made a brief cameo at the bar, which was largely uneventful, although I did get to witness a few choice members of NYC prep school royalty try *make it rain* like they were at the top of the Standard… so, not a total bust. By the night’s end, we were totally exhausted and overwhelmed – tuckered out, if you will – by the hustle ‘n’ bustle of the big “city.” Don’t get me wrong, we really did have a good time. Not so secretly, though, we missed the cozy comforts of our small school. Everything there just seemed so disjointed and distant (both literally and figuratively) – like there were just too many unfamiliar faces to see and places to go to feel at all at ease. Frankly, it just felt like we weren’t at a college—at least not by our definition of the word. We were, rather, at this strange college-city hybrid. It was a blast for the weekend, but, at the end of the day, I’m just not *with it*.
The verdict is, then, as follows: I’m not a city girl. I’m a City girl. Give me New York (and if I can’t have her, then Paris or Sydney or Barcelona or Rome) or give me sheltered college country. Ain’t nothin’ irresistible in between.
Featured image courtesy of gradschool.cornell.edu