You knew it well before graduation, before finding your way into the real world. You knew it before you celebrated your 21st birthday when you had your first legal sip of alcohol, surrounded by 35 people who truly did mean the world to you. You knew it before you signed your bid card. You knew it before you fell in love with the ivy growing on the library, with your future husband, with your best friends. You knew it before you discovered the cute coffee shop on the corner that really does serve the best coffee in the world. You knew it before you spent 27 hours straight studying for a final exam, breaking only for giggle fits and pizza. You knew it before a girl you’d known for only six months held you in her arms as you cried after breaking up with your high school boyfriend. You knew it before you took your first college class, and before you went to your first college party. You even knew it before you penned your college application essays, before you took your SATs, and before you ever stepped foot on campus.
These are the best four years of your life.
This is a time to be silly. A time to form friendships. A time to make mistakes — really serious mistakes. Mistakes that will devastate you, temporarily cripple you, and ultimately turn you into the person you’re meant to be. This is a time to learn. It’s a time to grow. And it’s a time for alcohol. Lots and lots of alcohol.
It’s a time to wake up at 6 a.m. and bang on pots and pans as you take shots in celebration of homecoming. It’s a time to fall in lust with all the wrong guys. It’s the time, if there ever is one, for one-night stands. It’s the time to go streaking. It’s the the time to dance on tables. It’s the time to do everything your parents told you never to do, and everything society will eventually tell you never to do again.
In your whole life, you’ll never be as young as you are right now. You’ll never get these years back. Your time here is fleeting, and you have to make the most of it right now. As quickly as it began, it will end.
Why, then, do we have this obsession with judging people who do just that? We’ve come to a point in our sorority subculture where we handle every altercation between women the exact same way.
You dig down into the meanest, ugliest part of your soul, contort your face in such a way that makes you look arrogant about feeling constipated, and with a sickeningly syrupy sweet tone, you spit out the ultimate insult of our generation: “That’s classy…” You walk away feeling pure hatred, but somehow vindicated after having said it. She’s pure filth to you, and you showed her she’ll never be half the lady you are.
It makes me cringe.
Talking about class is just about the most classless thing you can do. Feeling empowered by talking about class makes it worse. Using a façade of class to be the most heartless, judgmental, and mean person you can be? That’s downright deplorable. The classiest girls I’ve ever met are the ones who realize their lifestyle is their choice, and that their choices aren’t right for everyone. Their behavior is not for status or attention. It’s not a ploy to ensure they’re perceived how they’d like to be perceived. They do what feels right, and are perfectly content in letting others do what feels right for them. The word “classy” never crosses a classy lady’s lips. But even if, for no other reason than your pure insistence on the matter, people believe you’re classy, please keep in mind that nobody cares.
Nobody cares about the things you aren’t doing. Nobody cares that when your friends stripped down to their bras and panties and jumped into the creek that night, that you watched their clothes and gave them dirty looks because they were nearly naked in the presence of men. Nobody cares that you’ve never very publicly made out with a guy on the dance floor of your favorite bar. Nobody cares that you know that three glasses of wine gets you tipsy, but five shots of tequila gets you wild, so you never drink tequila. Nobody cares that you never said “Fuck off, you shrimp-dicked piece of shit” to the asshole who hurt your best friend because that type of language is unbecoming of a lady. Nobody cares that when you were 19 years old, you didn’t buy that tight, low-cut dress that made your boobs look amazing and your butt look even better because it was too revealing. Nobody cares you’re undefeated in “Never Have I Ever.”
But someday, you will.
You have the rest of your life to be the perfect embodiment of a Stepford wife. Your future is filled with restrictions, responsibilities, and a reputation to uphold. You only have right now to do all the crazy things that make life interesting, so do them! If it excites you, intrigues you, or simply nags at you until you’re filled with curiosity, do it! That doesn’t mean put yourself in situations that make you uncomfortable. It just means don’t feel uncomfortable putting yourself in the situations you want to be in. It’s easier to live with an “oh well,” than a “what if?” Your mistakes will blow over. You’ll learn from them. But you’ll always regret the things you didn’t do.
So, stop judging girls for living their lives in a way you’re too afraid to live yours. Stop letting the opinions of jealous, catty people get in the way of you making the most of your college experience. And for all that is good, please stop living your life and wasting your youth solely on the basis–and the obsession–of whether or not you’re being “classy.”