Jessie Ford ’07: Senior scramble, wanna play?

Thursday, April 19, 2007

There comes a time at the end of any era in your life when you realize you are about to leave the people you have been with for the preceding years. There comes a time when it dawns on you that you may not see many of these people again.

I am sure we have all experienced these kinds of transitions with the passing of high school, moving to a new place or even cutting ties with some girl from your church group whom your mom thought was a bad egg because she was caught drinking on the community-service trip. Maybe that just happened to me. In any case, as sad as these transitions are and as much as I would like to lament the passing of time, I am writing to tell you that there is something you can do about it. There is something you can do to make your college experience even more worthwhile. There is an activity you can participate in that will leave you with no regrets. It’s called senior scramble.

Generally, the term “senior scramble” refers to the desperate move to find someone – anyone – to hook up with during senior week, the final week of festivities before graduation. When people wake up and suddenly realize that they are not going to see many of their intelligent, good-looking, challenging peers again, they make the move in hopes of spending some special nights with someone new as a last hurrah in their existence at Brown. The “scramble” no doubt refers to the rather aimless desperation that some students feel when trying to take advantage of their last week spent with their classmates.

Take the example of my friend Susan, who while writing one of her final papers last spring spotted her friend Steve. Steve had been a longtime source of great sexual tension for Susan, so she wrote a flirty AIM message to Steve asking, “Wanna play?”

What Susan really meant was: Do you want to take a study break and catch up on old times? Luckily for both of them, Steve took this to mean something entirely different. He responded, “Thirteenth Floor wanna check out the stacks? Meet you there.” Susan figured that you only live once and took the elevator up. No need to go into detail, but suffice to say that the two did indeed “check out the stacks,” and they were plentiful.

Now, I am certainly not proposing that everyone needs to go get jiggy with it in the SciLi – or any building on campus for that matter. I understand that this connotation of “senior scramble” may sound meaningless, desperate and like a good way to get pregnant or contract a nasty STI before leaving Brown.

Some of you may have significant others, some of you may be waiting for Mr. or Mrs. Right and some of you may have no sexual interest in anyone here at Brown. All of this is fine, because a scrambling night of desperate connection is certainly not the only meaning of the “scramble.”

Instead, I propose that we, myself included, partake in a more benign senior scramble.

Today is April 19. We have a little more than one month left at Brown. We have less than two months to do all those things we are supposed to do before graduating: streak the Main Green, do an all-day Ratty sit, do the SciLi challenge and, of course, participate in senior scramble.

The main thing you should understand is that senior scramble does not necessarily have to imply sex. It could mean a confession, a kiss on the cheek, a nice handhold or a compliment. It could mean something much simpler. The important part is that it involves you approaching another Brown student before graduation and telling them how you feel about them before it is too late.

After four years at Brown, whether you are single or involved, gay or straight, reserved or experimental, there must be certain individuals that you have been attracted to over the last four years. It could be a cute girl who was in your section three years ago. It could be some hot guy on the football team with a great butt. It could be some guest columnist right here in The Herald. It could be a source of unrequited love, some sexy engineer you’ve noticed a few too many times late at night in the lab, or it could someone sitting next to you right now, as you read this.

None of this matters. What matters is that you come clean with yourself and admit that this person – or these several people – have intrigued you over the last four years. If you claim to have no special interest in these individual(s), admit that you are lying to yourself. I know there is someone out there who has caught your attention during college. Even if you simply think they are smart, or funny or smell nice. This is your chance to throw it out there – no holds barred.

The first step is to admit to yourself that someone has caught your attention. Now you can take action. This is where the time of year is on your side – don’t be afraid to approach and compliment your target, or confess to them. As worried as you may be of rejection or embarrassment, it doesn’t matter, because we only have two months left. If things go badly, you’ll never have to see the person again.

Most likely, things will go better than planned. Take the story of my friend Nan, who after an indulgent night of dancing and one too many flirtini’s, found herself at a classy bar on the corner of Angell and Thayer, confessing her true feelings to a good friend. Although Nan has a serious boyfriend and had no intention of following up on her confession, she later told me that just airing out her dirty laundry gave her the much-needed closure she’d been craving for months. It seems that even an empty confession or proposal can be a very positive thing.

I think it is hard sometimes to acknowledge that we really are about to finish college. Even with the job interviews and the job offers, it doesn’t seem real.

But it is. This is your last chance to be honest with yourself and your peers. I challenge you to tell someone that you like them, to compliment someone, or to try to move to the next level with someone.

If you have not had the courage to do anything about your true feelings, now is the time. Even if you are rejected, at least you can say you tried. You can say you took a chance and you will never look back wondering, “What if?”

Jessie Ford ’07 realized, at the beginning of the eighth paragraph, that her grandmother might be reading this column.

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