Jay De Man

dear reader: freshman people

Dear reader, it has come to my attention that a certain reality of my situation has not been expressed. You may be aware that Calvin’s dorms are arranged in suites, with a centrally located bathroom between two rooms, each room housing two? Perhaps you’re also aware that, almost always, suites have a freshman side and a sophomore side? 

The most rare and holy suite itself! 

The most rare and holy suite itself! 

Well, I must tell you, my experience is an anomaly. It is a unicorn. It is a sighting of the white whale, and truthfully every now and then some few men and women make pilgrimage to our suite to see the wondrous thing that hath been wrought. For I tell you, our suite is only freshmen! 

Now, hold still your mind. I know you’re probably thinking that nothing sounds worse. For really, freshmen are ignorant, giddy, inexperienced, and hold even into college the glow of high school fantasy — surely a suite of ignoramuses cannot amount to more than idiocy! But I have to tell you my experience has been one of gladness. I feel I can safely write this, having now lived through some difficulty with these people, and can now attest to a more rich understanding of their quality and the joy of their company than I would have before, when I was more prone to the rose-tinted perception of “just having met.” 

A truly sublime nap time featuring a suitemate. Endless joy! 

A truly sublime nap time featuring a suitemate. Endless joy! 

In astronomy, we’ve been talking an awful lot about nucleosynthesis. This ten-dollar word describes the process by which pressure and heat cause hydrogen to fuze into helium, helium into carbon, carbon and so forth. Any element that’s heavier than hydrogen had its origin in the core of a star, which is to say many of the things we know and love on earth are the consequence of circumstances great in pressure and heat. Further, the material for things we use daily (certainly not the least of these our own bodies) arrived at the hands of singular focus — in short, those moments of focus produced great binding-together: a binding-together into things unprecedented and different than at the beginning. 

My very own roommate, basking in the light of heaven. 

My very own roommate, basking in the light of heaven. 

I hazard the comparison of my own suite to the core of a star. Pristine and singular individuals, by some exterior perturbation brought together under singular pressure. By the academic desire, social activities, sporting opportunities and potent personalities of my brand-new suite, those things we’ve adopted compress, and I daresay we are closer now not only by necessity but by choice: we’re binding together into heavier, more complex, more interesting things which perhaps one day will take on a life of their own. 

To that I say hurrah, hurrah forever! 

These new ones are becoming old to me in the sweetest way. We are all the normal freshman things, but now a little more.