Q: What do you call a fake noodle?
A: An Impasta
I student taught first grade this semester, and I quickly learned that a six year old’s sense of humor is very different from my fellow Barnard students. They loved it when I did the unexpected. If I said the month was July instead of December it would cause an uproar. At first I was puzzled at what they found so funny about going against expectations, but then it hit me. Little kids have just figured out the system. A little kid has just figured out that December follows November. When I kid and say the new month is July they laugh because they are finally in on the joke.
College humor is a bit different. There are definitely some things that never change, as the dick that is often drawn in the snow outside the Quad shows. But for more “highbrow” humor, adults love biting illuminations of the system. Shows like The Daily Show with Jon Stewart and The Colbert Report thrive on showing the ridiculousness of government. Topical humor is based on the idea of bringing a new light to common experiences. Adults, and especially college students, crave this humor because we’ve realized that we don’t know the rules of the system. We may know the months of the year, but we don’t know what we are doing a year from now. We love it when it seems like someone else knows what’s going on.
It’s hard to know the rules of the system when the system is always changing. Once you’ve mastered high school you get thrown into college where a whole new host of expectations await. Once you’ve finally understood all the campus jokes and explored the tunnels it’s time to graduate into the “real world”. It’s scary and daunting. But unlike a six-year old, you have experience that proves your strength. It’s hard to tell a child that everything is going to be all right because they don’t have any empirical data to back it up. “How do you know my friends will still love me if I don’t sit at the same table as them, even if there’s no room? I’ve never experienced that before.”
But as college students we have. We have been faced with challenges and have proven our mettle. Even if it may seem like we haven’t done much, just the sheer fact that we have made it to where we are, wherever that may be, shows our worth. We may not know all the rules, but we have the experience to know we can figure it out.
As I graduate and move onto the next chapter of my life I want to leave a few parting words. Laugh at the elucidation of the system. But also laugh at the unexpected; the mistakes you should have stopped making years ago. Like trying to balance hot coffee and a full stack of papers. Or believing that a 9 AM lab on a Friday will encourage you to go to bed early. We are all still figuring it out. Some of us are just better at faking it than others.
Just remember to be well and always look on the bright side of life.
So long Barnard, and thanks for all the feminism,