The most annoying people on your freshman floor (and how to avoid becoming one of them)

Hi, freshmen, and welcome to Washington University! Today you begin a transition to a life completely unlike high school. The biggest change is living by yourself away from home and surrounded by 40 or so of the smartest people you’ll ever meet. For the first two weeks or so, returning to your freshman floor feels like entering the cool cabin at summer camp. However, as you adjust and acclimate, you’ll notice that some of the other residents’ quirks have started to bug you. For the conscientious among you, here’s a guide to the most annoying people on freshman floor and how to avoid becoming one of them yourself.

Drunk guitarists

The typical specimen returns to her room after a night of boozing and proceeds to pluck away at her guitar. She usually chooses the worst times to jam, like 3 a.m. on a Sunday or the night before a chem test she doesn’t have. Okay, great, we get it; you’re drunk on a Wednesday night and you know the first few bars of “Mean”. Please, show us another time, more quietly and with better articulation. Note: this also applies to flautists, violinists, cellists and especially bagpipes.

How to avoid being one:

We’ve modified some of Dave Matthews’ classic advice for aspiring musicians: “Don’t drink the firewater.”

Smarty pants

The floor smarty pants can’t adjust to the fact that he’s no longer the smartest person he knows. As far as he is concerned, everyone else is pseudo-intellectual, and he’s the only one with the perspicacity (whatever that means) to deduce truth. He’ll probably do his best to quote Galbraith or Unamuno in every other sentence. “Remembrance of Things Past” is his favorite book, and “The Catcher in the Rye” changed his life during his freshman year of high school, two years ahead of everybody else.

How to avoid being one:

There’s no shame in being smart, in fact we consider intelligence a virtue here. Most of us have some pretty high-brow interests, too. Cut the condescension, remember that you can learn something from everybody and always choose a word with fewer syllables whenever possible.

Ultra-hipsters

These are the kids who think Jeff Mangum was a sell out, that Pitchfork is too mainstream, and that cakes need to be eaten straight out of the oven, before they are cool. For some reason, scarves are all-season attire, and nobody will ever be cool enough for them. Condescension is next to Godliness, and Godliness is next to Mumblecore. Sorry we’re not progressive enough for you, now shut up already.

How to avoid being one:

If you’re already a hipster, stop buying pants well below your size. The blood restored to your circulation should enable your brain to identify all the other bad choices you’re making.

Kids who never shut up about “the city”

For someone from small-town, Virginia, I was really confused when I first heard everyone talking about where they were from, “the city.” I couldn’t tell if they meant New York, Chicago, Houston or San Francisco. Turns out, “the city” is where anyone who think’s they’re too cool for St. Louis. Yes, of course the St. Louis Art Museum isn’t as big as Chicago’s, nor is “Nighthawks ” in its permanent collection, but where else can you see so much Max Beckmann? Perhaps the Galleria and Plaza Frontenac pale in comparison to Rodeo Drive, but where else can you visit the courthouse where Dred Scott plead his case?

How to avoid being one:

“Si fueris Romae, Romano vivito more.” St. Louis has a lot to offer, and you’ll enjoy its opportunities more if you stop complaining about how it isn’t home.

Militant feminists

I’m a feminist myself, but I’m sick of those who think “Miss” is among the most damaging words in English, or that their social status varies directly with the frequency at which they say “patriarchy” or “Judith Butler.” Believe it or not, basically everyone here agrees with you, and nobody’s looking to oppress anyone else. Even the nearest Chick-Fil-A is four miles away. You’re out of the combat zone, so there’s no need to preach to the choir.

How to avoid being one:

That being said, there is still no shortage of LGBT and sexuality related problems on campus. Consider joining S.A.R.A.H., the University’s sexual assault helpline, or C.O.R.E., which educates students about rape prevalence on college campuses. These clubs are a lot more productive and beneficial than harassing your floormates with words like “heteronormativity.”

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