Although a school that prides itself on diversity, Hanscom College is populated by students with similar values and socio-economic backgrounds.
In essence: We came from across the country to meet versions of friends we had in high school.
I soon befriended the obligatory sexless, plucky Asian. Candace “I’m from Michigan” Luo studied journalism, saying she wanted to write investigative pieces for Mother Jones but actually wanting to become an advertising executive.
Julian Jackson intends to major in American Studies with a focus on the history and development of hip-hop. He is Black and, in the vernacular of students who are not, “keeps it real.” Julian does not find this nor their constant invitations for him to play basketball offensive because they don’t know any better. Instead, he schools me at racquetball.
I hadn’t had to travel farther than my dorm floor to find these two and escape the purple haze that spread from my roommate’s half of the room to mine. Ethan Mecklenberg’s mother was a respected Hanscom College professor who got the school all kinds of grants and national recognitions for her archeological work about pre-Columbian civilizations. As a result, her burn-out son got to keep studying philosophy despite only showing up for the midterms and finals of his classes.
Anderson Complex-South also housed my lust object: Allison Shaler. Beautiful and urbane, she was also a bit dim. We met when she asked me how to use her building key. I imagined late night study sessions in which she swooned as I explained Aristotelian thought. But that would have to be after she abandoned her current preference for men far richer — in that they had more than a checking account — and better looking than I.
My first week of school was a blur of advising meetings, student activities fairs, and introductions. I was happy to settle into a routine of shifts arranging tables and chairs for meetings at the student union and reading the hundreds of pages assigned in each class every week.
When I did venture out during those first months, it was on an accidental date with a dude that ended in an awkward embrace that told me we could probably not continue being friends, a public make-out session with a fat chick at the freshman dance hosted at the Museum of Science and Industry (obviously to prove something to myself and others after the dude-date), and house parties sponsored by fraternities.
I cannot explain my attendance at such bacchanals because the fraternities were a discouragingly long walk from my room, but a friend begged Julian and me to go. Daniel thought he might get a bid by proxy because we “had the look” more than he did. This meant we weren’t Jewish, and he wanted to be in any fraternity other than the one affiliated with Hillel.
So we went, drank some beers, ate some pizza, and met some fraternity presidents.
A few days later, we were shocked to hear one of these men was dead.