Written January 2012, Ecuador
We may be a bunch of socially-awkward nerds, but don’t fuck with us. Tonight I witnessed a spectacular feat of alma mater defense as some incredibly intelligent K women verbally duked it out with a poncho-sporting bro who was currently living and working in Ecuador before returning to the states for his Master’s. He was also a recovering drug addict, which he mentioned to me in passing, kind of like a bragging right, which I mention in passing because I feel that it speaks to his character.
To his credit, I’m pretty sure he was trying to agree with us. We had started off the conversation by complaining about the incredible amount of work we had to do, how ridiculous some of the requirements for our volunteer work were and what a joke some of our classes had been. (Does this sound at all familiar, K College?)
He didn’t get us. He lamented, I just don’t understand why you guys would pay somebody to make you volunteer and go to school. Why wouldn’t you just take an extra class or something?
We didn’t get him. Our general response was: Duh. Because I’m actually actively participating in this culture while you’re trying to say that “giving back to the Ecuadorian community’” means maintaining your dreads and occasionally giving money to kids on the street while upholding some bullshit imperialist agenda. (ZING!)
K College students complaining about the K College workload, K College extra-curriculars, and K College classes are more-celebrated student traditions that streaking the quad or Day of Gracious Living. But as soon as someone else steps on our turf and tries to talk down on our alma mater, their ass is flatter than our million-dollar-a-year quad grass after everyone ignores the “Please do not walk on the quad” signs.
So when Druggie Dread Buddy gaffed at our 100-hour ICRP requirement and six-class schedule, things got heated.You’re in Ecuador. You’re supposed to live! he stated between puffs of his hand-rolled cigarette.
But after going to this school for over two years, I have come to understand that this is living. Life for an overwhelming amount of K students is about putting the majority of your energy into stressing out more than you need to about your homework and then throwing everything you have left into engaging with whatever weird little community makes your brain tick and your heart tingle.
This is the other part of the K complex. We can be critical about Kalamazoo College. You should stop blowing smoke rings in our faces and show a little respect to people who do more in four years than you might do in a lifetime.*
And I heard you say you don’t like Detroit, ya little bitch, and I don’t think Detroit would like you very much either.
*Editor’s Note: Only after six months away from Kalamazoo College would I ever feel so motivated as to take ownership over our cheesy catch phrase. Let this be a reminder of the powers of nostalgia.