Tears, vomit, strippers and love in the New South jungle

December 4, 2008

As a sophomore I learned that being a Resident Assistant in New South is a lot like sipping the bitter nectar of new parenthood: vomit cakes the bathrooms and hallways most weekends, screams rebound unflaggingly ‘til dawn’s first light, and torrents of tears make Justin Timberlake’s “River” seem like a tributary.
As Georgetown’s most embattled frontline in on-campus living, New South demands that her RAs play the roles of custodian, police officer, peer mediator, and role model. In return, she offers a glimpse into the budding college student’s most perverse, mundane, and, yes, laudable tendencies. A supplementary education, of sorts, my experience as an RA left me with a few lessons worth sharing for their anecdotal and cautionary value.
Lesson #1: Give an inch and they’ll take a mile. My co-RA was notorious for being a strict enforcer, leaving me with the dubious distinction by default as the “nice” or “cool” RA. (Read: psst … the guy who’ll let you get away with stuff, tee hee!) This might explain why two girls from my floor approached me one evening, asking whether they could illicitly invite a “visitor” to the floor.
“Well … what kind of visitor are you talking about?” I asked.
The girls responded tentatively that the stripper would be coming for a good cause–their friend’s birthday–and would, of course, be gone by the time quiet hours started.
The pieces began to fall into place. As far as I knew, I told the girls, the student code of conduct says nothing about strippers—what lack of foresight!—but the Hall Director, a chaplain-in-residence, and a Jesuit priest all lived on our floor. I didn’t think they’d respond too positively to a male stripper.
My response was a resounding “no”—at least in my mind. All the girls heard, however, was, “Ambiguity in the rule book = PARTAY!” Ah, the collegiate spirit of intellectual questioning.
Before you could say “hairy bits and pieces,” a young man in his late-20s or early-30s, clad in naught but a red thong, was jiggling what his mama gave him to the fuzzy boom-bap of a portable stereo in the room across the hall from my co-RA. He had infiltrated the building dressed in a fireman suit, and appropriately so, since if ever there was a fire to put out, it was in the hearts (and southern regions) of over a dozen libido-crazed freshman girls.
The incident vied to become the most awkward situation I confronted as an RA—until the Hall Director found the bare-assed gentleman’s business card in the elevator.
Lesson #2: Violence and/or destruction is never the answer. It should be a given, but over the course of a year, several of my residents—typically of the male tendency—consistently challenged the veracity of this intuition.
To illustrate: One evening, for no apparent reason, a resident threw a tennis ball from his fourth-floor window and struck a non-Georgetown student in the courtyard below. The victim ran up four flights of stairs and initiated an all-out brawl with a group of residents a mere dozen feet from my doorway.
This primordial inclination toward violence isn’t the only vestige of the elementary-school experience to have resisted the tempering sands of time in many freshmen. Apparently, guys still really like penises and misogynistic diagrams, as evidenced by the “artwork” which suddenly graced the halls and stairwells of New South after our basketball team lost in the Final Four.
Lesson #3: Actually, most Georgetown students are quite pleasant. In the end, no matter how many times Georgetown’s brutish minority shook my confidence in the sanity of our student body, there were always kind reminders that most Georgetown students are responsible, respectful human beings.
Whether by helping with floor activities, signing an oversized card for RA Appreciation Day, or dropping by my room to say “hi,” most of my residents made me proud and happy to be an RA in New South. Too often I find myself focusing (even in this very article) on Georgetown’s boisterous outliers rather than on its polite majority, and for that I apologize. Most Georgetown students are potty-trained, respect their peers’ need to sleep, and appreciate the value of moderation when consuming alcohol—and hell, even big babies grow up eventually … I hope.

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hong kong phooey

thats totally not how it happened. this is offensive to small people everywhere.