Advice to Josh

As the wise and respected social leader on campus, FM was inevitably going to be asked how to be “cool” one of these days. Recently, a first year we’ll call “Josh” (because his real name is Josh) came to us asking how to survive the brutal social life of a male Freshman on campus. Four of FM’s best weighed in to turn Josh’s social woes into social woooooahs.

As the wise and respected social leader on campus, FM was inevitably going to be asked how to be “cool” one of these days. Recently, a first year we’ll call “Josh” (because his real name is Josh) came to us asking how to survive the brutal social life of a male Freshman on campus. Four of FM’s best weighed in to turn Josh’s social woes into social woooooahs.

1) With final clubs and sport team parties out of the picture, where can a typical freshman boy party on a weekend night?

FM1: Ah the ol’ “I’m a social pariah on campus and can’t find a place to party” question. Two answers come to mind, Josh. 1) Make your own party. Yes, hard to do in a “dry” freshman dorm, but there are time-tested ways to pass beer cans through the gates behind Mower that will guarantee successful booze smuggling in times of need (note: method may be time tested, but it does not provide any guarantees). 2) Sigma Chi. Frats are neither of those two things you mentioned, so I’ll call that a loophole and tell you that frat parties are where it’s at for youngin’s like yourself. 3) Yes I know I didn’t mention a third option, because I was honest and said that two real answers came to mind. The third option is a last-call move of desperation, so use it only when you’re absolutely starved for party nourishment. I’m talking, of course, about dhall parties. Too large of a space, too few people, and too many youtube ads interrupting the music the shitty DJs are trying to pass as dance anthems. But, if you’re like most freshmen, you’ll be showing up to the party in a crowd of 20 to 30 people anyway, so you can really take it over if you want a place to show your moves.

FM2: You might not think so now, but soon enough you are going to fondly remember the days when you wandered in large groups in search of a party. In fact, you might go so far as to think that this wandering was the party itself. And it is! So enjoy it while you can. Open liquor laws don’t apply to minors and Freshman year is the only time you can get away with shotgunning a beer in the alleyway behind the Signet.

FM3: Wait, really? Just join some clubs. Do a club sport or a capella or a PBHA program. They’ll all have parties and you’ll actually know the people at them. Otherwise, just follow the music from the courtyards. It’s pretty likely you’ll feel pretty weird if you don’t know anyone there, though. Just keep standing in that corner and telling yourself you’re having a good time.

FM4: Josh, it’s going to be hard finding parties as a freshman guy. Don’t go looking for the parties; instead, make the parties come to you. How do you go about doing this? Well, (presumably) you’ve got a contact list on your phone full of college co-eds, all of whom, believe it or not, are as bored as you. Text them something along the lines of “My roommate’s out of town haha so bored haha,” and, eventually, one of them will swing by. It’s a numbers game: if you’ve got 20 contacts, all of whom have a 5% chance of accepting your invitation, chances are that one lucky lady will spend the night with you in Greenough. Go get ’em tiger!

2) Is it possible to move beyond a pre-game without going off campus?

FM1: Josh, I’m going to be honest here: I have no idea what you’re asking. I should hope it’s possible to move beyond a pregame without going off campus, as I have not been off campus for a party more than twice in my entire time here at Harvard. So either I’ve never “moved beyond” a pre-game, or you’re one of the most outgoing and adventurous students on campus when it comes to venturing into the urban jungle of Boston clubs.

FM2: The better question to ask, is it possible to pre-game while moving off campus in search of a better party? Yes. Keg stands on the T. Post-game in the Cambridge Police Department.

FM3:. It is not at all outside the realm of possibility. Real talk, going off campus is a pretty weird idea. Is there even anything past Darwin’s worth going to?

FM4: Yes? Sorry to answer your question with another question but it is possible to move beyond a pregame without going off campus. Refer to our answers for question (1).

3) What lies can you tell older guys to keep them from swooping the Freshman girls?

FM1: “She’s got a boyfriend who got kicked out of the marines for excessive violence. I wouldn’t go there, bro.”

“Listen man, maybe some other night. I know for a fact that she had explosive diarrhea earlier, and you don’t want to be there when that comes back.”

“Dude, she’s only 15.”

“She keeps her nail clippings in a jar by her bed and calls the collection ‘Jerry.’”

“In my entryway, we call her the ‘scrotum scraper.’ You know, just FYI”

“Oh, you’re going after _____? Interesting. What? Oh no reason…no reason at all…”

FM2: It might also be good to consider what lies you could tell a freshman girl to keep her away from seniors. For example: “Isn’t that your PAF?”

On second thought, that might just encourage her. My PAF was kind of hot.

FM3: Honesty is always the right move. Tell the older guy how you feel. He probably won’t respect you afterwards, but he’ll pity you enough to let you be.

FM4: There are two ways to handle this situation. The obvious one is to pretend you’re a senior and swoop in yourself. The only problem with this tactic is that some douchebag seniors with Harvard Facebook access may go ahead and debunk your claim. You can avoid this if you choose the other option: take it one step further and pretend you’re a graduate student. It’s the perfect cover-up; you’re suddenly the most interesting person at the party, and no one is there to verify your claim.

4) A whole slew of questions around the girl that thus far has kept her boyfriend from high school… How does a freshman boy go about anything with this girl? Is the Turkey Dump a thing? Worth investing in a long-run game with this kind of girl?

FM1: Step one: Don’t do anything. Step two: Really, don’t do anything that might be a problem for a girl in a relationship. Step three: Now that we’re on the same page here, I’ll say that the Turkey Dump is kind of a real thing, and that most long-distance relationships just don’t make it in the end. Sorry, couple-who-swears-they’re-different-from-everyone-else-because-they-really-really-really-love-each-other-and-know-they-can-overcome-the-long-distance-thing. In the meantime, I’m not sure what your “long-run game” is, but definitely don’t pretend to be this girl’s friend if you’re just trying to stay close so you can subtly drive her relationship into the ground and be there to pick up the pieces afterwards. Not cool, bro.

FM2: I say go for it! Her boyfriend can’t compete with you. Is he at Harvard? No. Is he near Harvard? No. Do women look for any other qualities in men? Probably, but according to my real estate agent (who is also female!) it’s all about location, location and hardwood flooring. You, my friend, are a winner.

FM3: I mean if you say hi to her in Annenberg that probably falls under doing “anything” with her so that’s fine by me. And yes, turkeys poop. How long is this run? 5k? Half marathon? Really it depends on what kind of shape you’re in, you really don’t want to lose to a girl no matter what kind of racing game you’re in.

The j-term dump is probably more common. After that break, it’ll be another semester slog of weekend trips and videochatting. Most couples can’t get through that. Don’t be creepy, though, Josh. Respect their weird choice to think that they’ll be the couple that “makes it” and “proves everyone wrong.” We all know it’s not true, but still, if you are too forward, it’ll only backfire.

FM4: If you’re really serious about this girl, I would wait until Thanksgiving. The Turkey Dump is a thing; either she’s single after Thanksgiving (at which point she’s fair game), or she’s taken (meaning she’ll end up marrying the guy). Either way, if you can wait it out until Thanksgiving, you’ll have your answer. As for the last question, if you really want to know about investment and long-run scenarios, I would suggest taking Ec 10 since it looks like you’re the only freshman not enrolled in the class.

5) Which extracurricular groups does a freshman boy join? What is the difference between social life in different groups? Does it really make a difference whether or not the group has a house?

FM1: Just going by previous years’ trends, seems to me like you should join the following: freshman lightweight crew, On Harvard Time, Sigma Chi, Crimson Key, or an a capella group of your choice. And yes, having a house matters. On a campus where dorm parties get shut down either at 2am or when your room gets too loud (or “too awesome,” as some say), having a space that no proctor, tutor, or Cambridge police officer can challenge is pretty valuable.

FM2: I’m gonna go with FM1 on this one. As a freshman girl I joined On Harvard Time and the basement of Sigma Chi. I have no regrets. Or memories.

FM3: Really, it’s about the list-servs you join. Get on a whole lot of lists. You’ll be up-to-date on all of their events with barely any effort.

FM4: You’ll never know what your life would be like if you had made different decisions. What if you turned left at that corner instead of right? What if you had joined this club instead of that one? What if you had simply let that kid keep his candy instead of stealing it, eating it in front of him, and then throwing the empty wrappers back in his sobbing face? We’ll never know, so just live with your decisions and make the most of them.