The Essayist

Faced with the stress of classes that are harder than ever, early college applications and newly assumed leadership of the school, Seniors have enjoyed a joyous distraction in the past few weeks: college information sessions.

Though the Latin mottos vary and the mascots change species, patterns of student behavior stay consistent from meeting to meeting. Students fall into five categories: the F. Scott Fitzgeralds, J.K. Rowlings, Gabriel García Márquezes, Virginia Woolfs and Ernest Hemingways.

Picture Armory Blaine, the Romantic Egotist, lounging in a folding chair near the back of the room. The Fitzgerald is the picture of contrived disdain. He avoids eye contact with the college representative, holds homework materials loosely in his lap and frequently glances at his Rolex. But underneath his feigned boredom, the Fitzy doesn’t have any real beef with the presentation. At his core, he just wants to look cool, even if he won’t admit it to himself. The Fitzy will never leave a presentation early, stumble in late or talk during the meeting. He just stares at the ceiling, counting tiles the whole time.

Rowlings are the essence of eager Gryffindors in muggle form, the non-magical Hermiones. Instead of wands, they wield spiral notebooks, filled with incisive questions rather than spells. A J.K. is prone to frenetically raising her hand during the presentation, staying after to ask additional questions and copying down the email of the admissions representative to ask them the 15 questions that will come to mind in the time it takes them to leave the presentation. For every J.K. at the meeting, the time it takes to wrap up will likely double.

The Marquez retreats from the tension of the info session to a real yet magical world in which statistics are distorted, fellow attendees possess mystical powers and the dictator (the unwritten college essay) is the object of analytical attack. The Marq scribbles disjointed phrases onto the back of a map of Peru, which he mulls over long after the presentation has finished. Instead of asking “Which colleges am I applying to?” he asks “Why am I applying to college?” concluding with “Flee to Macondo.” College meetings remind him of the myriad of absurd social conventions and, of course, dictatorship.

The Woolf seems to be floating, somewhere in the middle rows, an enigma to other attendees. She gazes at a glossy brochure, but she is really contemplating independence and escape. She finds significance in the meaningless, metaphors in the incomprehensible. The drone of the admissions officer puts the Wolfy in a melancholy mood. She spots a moth on the windowsill and feels an overwhelming sense of despair.

The Ernest sits in his chair. He strokes his two-day stubble. Across the room, a J.K. raises her hand. He swivels his head and observes. He could ask the same question in two words, but he doesn’t think about that. He just watches. The Ernest is there to research, but then again he’s always researching. The J.K. has no idea she’ll be a character in his English paper next week.

Fitzy, JK, Marq, Wolfy, Ernest. They’re all applying to college. If only we could read their essays.

This Editorial represents the views of The Phillipian Editorial Board CXXXIV.