Contact CU Independent Assistant Opinion Editor Hayla Wong at Hayla.firstname.lastname@example.org.
Disclaimer: Satire is written as mere jest. The people in this piece are fictional and not based on any real individual. We do not intend to marginalize anyone for their race, class, gender, sexual orientation or political views.
As the University of Colorado at Boulder revs up its diploma engine for the new school year, it also welcomes a new class totaling a whopping 6,400 fresh-outta-high-schoolers. Campus is abuzz with orientation activities, Greek life recruitment and people actually going to their classes. The theory that one’s year in college has an inverse relationship with the number of pamphlets they agree to take has been confirmed once more. CU’s online map resource was the most visited webpage in Boulder County this past Monday and Tuesday. The University moves into full swing and excitement about the upcoming year bubbles up in conversations everywhere. A renewed sense of academic commitment revives returning students, but for the incoming class of freshmen, this feeling is a new one.
Our staff here at the CU Independent have all been wondering: What could this new class of 2020 offer? What sets them apart from all the past incoming classes that have graced the 8×10-foot dorm rooms spanning across this sandstone campus? What do these students hope to accomplish at this university?
We spoke to one freshman who seemed to know— actually, be— the answer.
“I have ambition, plans, discipline,” 18-year-old Arnold Parker tells us. “While most freshmen struggle with their new-found freedom and the pressures of being a true adult, my plans to create a perfect future for myself are already in motion.”
Arnold hails from the Bay Area but summers on Long Island, N.Y., so Boulder is the perfect middle-ground between his diverse eastern and western backgrounds. He is the heir of his family’s successful rental car franchise on the west coast but he assures us that he would only take over the company by working his way up from the bottom. However, maintaining his family legacy is out of the picture as Parker has plans of his own that do not involve managing underpaid, polo-shirt-wearing employees. Definitely not following in the footsteps of his father, Arnold is a business major. He plans to immediately add Environmental Studies as his double major as well as a Graphic Design minor.
I share with you a segment of our exclusive interview with Arnold:
Arnold Parker: I really want my home base to be here in the B-School, but nature really calls to me. Why graphic design? Because I’m already in the process of starting my own environmentally friendly T-shirt company that appeals to college students. The gist of it is that for every shirt that is bought, we save one buffalo. The company is going to be crowd-sourced using college students to not only fund it from the beginning but to also be our producers. I’ve only been here for one week but I can already tell that Boulder is a place where big things happen. I’ve already spoken to a number of my hall mates and they’re all on board. We should be starting sooner than I thought. Look out! Then once I can manage that remotely, I want to move into the financial sector and manage hedge funds.
But seriously, I’ve had this dream since I can remember — no actually, I can’t call it a dream because this is real life. I’ve worked so hard, all by myself, to make college happen for me, to be an entrepreneur, and I am just getting started. This semester will be work, work, work. I’m working on finding investors, manufacturers and campus reps. I’ve got a 10-step plan and I’m already on step 4. I never miss a beat.
CUI: You talk about all these big plans. Could you please elaborate?
At this point Arnold pulled out a notebook detailing every specific step he will take here at CU, from broader personal goals down to the specific internship he would land himself in February of 2018. In the margins were written a number of motivational quotes such as “Do something today that your future self will thank you for” and “dreams + work = success.”
CUI: Thank you for sharing that with me. Do you think your class of 2020 will have a significant impact on Boulder?
AP: Well, I really think that we’re the generation of millennials who have really had the pressure put on us. We are standing on this threshold of infinite possibilities and it is up to us to be better than anyone before us. We’ve seen real pain early on in life. But high school is behind us now and college is really a place to bloom, to be bigger, to fulfill our missions.
CUI: Okay… Have you talked to any upperclassmen who have given you advice on how to navigate college life?
AP: Yes, but I don’t think they really get it. They all told me that college would not be as easy as it is made out to be, that it is never as smooth as we hope for and that there would be challenges that would change my entire outlook on life and my plans for the future. The way I see it, these older students think that college is a place where they should make mistakes and so they take advantage of that. They seem so burnt out and cynical toward this world. It seems like they weren’t prepared and so they did things that really derailed their plans. Or maybe they didn’t have a good plan to begin with.
In his spare time, Parker slack-lines and actively ignores the possibility of reinventing himself. “I’m already my best version of myself,” he told us at multiple points in our interview and in an unsolicited follow-up email. Despite anecdotal, historical, social and cultural research evidence that college is a transformative, exploratory experience, Arnold does not foresee a change in his plans or his character anytime soon.
As we wrapped up our interview, Parker observed some low-hanging clouds sitting on “the flatties.”
College forecast experts have identified these clouds as a rarely-benign weather pattern more common in mid-October or late-April known as “Quarterlife Crisisus” or QLC for short. When this pattern swoops in over the front range it brings with it a crushing sense of mediocrity and winds that push back student’s professional plans with notices of rejected job applications or the milder rejected internship opportunity. A frantic visit to Woodbury to change one’s major will push back QLC for another eight months or so.
To this date, no college student has been able to evade QLC. Will Arnold be the first?