Flyby Remembers: Things We Didn’t Used to Say
Our vocabulary on campus has changed quite a bit since before the pandemic. For better or for worse, here are some of the new things we say these days that were never really a thing before.
On Class Years
“I’m a social junior!”
Look, I know you’re sick of hearing this. AND I’M SORRY these four words have become a part of my daily vocabulary. Can you blame me, though? I can’t say I’m ~really~ a junior because that’s basically telling people “Hey! I’m more than halfway through college!” and we definitely can’t have that — I’m far from being a real adult. My mind is youthful. My possibilities are endless. So I’m telling myself.
“Okay, fair. So why don’t you just say you’re a sophomore then?”
Because I am a sOciAL junioR!! I am not officially in the Class of 2024. I was here before the pandemic. I don’t need directions to Sanders Theater. Yeah, I’ve been to Pfoho Igloo. I am super cool.
On Public Health
“Oops, I forgot to do my Covid test.”
You miss your mom. You miss the shuttle to class. You miss your Covid-19 test every week and now Color harasses you like the Duolingo Owl. You don’t remember the last time you were up-to-date with your testing schedule (because you never were). Get it together, man. Call your mom. Stop using the app and be better at guessing when the shuttle arrives. Shove that plastic swab in your nose. Sneeze five times. Submit your Covid-19 test.
I know that being a Harvard student didn't always involve a biweekly Covid-19 test. I know you could roll up to your midterm cocooned in a blanket with an entire Kleenex box, blow your nose loudly in the back, and not have your classmates wonder “Is this midterm really testing my knowledge of macroeconomics or the strength of my Covid-19 vaccine?”
Being a sOciAL jUnioR, I, too, remember the way things were. But things have changed. So do your Covid-19 test and don’t go to your midterm in a sickness cocoon.
On Dhall Meals
“I’m grabbing a to-go container from the dhall.”
Remember the days before the plastic to-go containers? The bring-your-own-tupperware days? The how-many-disposable-coffee-cups-filled-with-food-can-I-stack days? I do. So thank you, to-go containers. Thank you for making it possible to leave the dhall with my food as often as I want — zero judgment.
We don’t love that it took a whole a** pandemic for to-go containers to become available. But, hey, it’s finally normal to walk out of the dhall with a mountain of tater tots, and I’m here for it.
On Fashion and Section Crushes
It’s 2019. You missed the shuttle. You got rained on. You’re late to class and there are no seats left — except one, next to your section crush. You make eye contact and sit down quickly, trying to forget that you look like a wet squirrel. “Take notes,” you tell yourself. You try to look cool and studious, but it backfires. You drop your pencil. “This can’t get any worse,” you think. And then, as you bend down to pick up your pencil and you see a glimmer of hope — your crush’s Yeezys. W o w. Your heart starts racing. Can this person get any cooler? You lean over and whisper “cool shoes.” And it works. It’s a match made in heaven. You spend the rest of your lives together.
It’s 2021. It didn’t work out with Yeezy man. You missed the shuttle (again). You got rained on (again). You’re late to class and there are no seats left — except one, next to your section crush (again). You make eye contact and sit down quickly, trying to forget that you look like a wet squirrel (again). But you notice their mask — it’s not a blue surgical mask. It’s a cloth mask with stars and stripes. “Stars and stripes,” you think, “where have I seen that before?” You can no longer remember, but it doesn’t matter, because the only star that matters is your crush. They’re glowing. You lean over and whisper, “Cool mask.” And it works. It’s a match made in heaven. You spend the rest of your lives together.
Tl;dr: I have a theory that complimenting someone on their non-mainstream mask is a great way to make conversation that wasn’t an option before the pandemic. Try it sometime and let me know how it goes.
I can’t really decide how I feel about a lot of things we say these days. I’m currently looking for a less annoying alternative to “sOciAL jUniOr,” so let me know if you’ve got one. But otherwise, it looks like most of this new stuff is here to stay.