The Juice Debacle

On days like this, I can’t help but think that college has robbed me of the best of my youth: When I was 18 I was an energetic young thing. I knew how to do basic algebra and I could swim half a mile (Alright maybe it was just a quarter mile and maybe it was only once but still, I was athletic, OK?) and I lived a serene, debt-free existence.

It may be futile at this point since Jordan and I have already problematized and deconstructed our way through over three years of institutionalized (individualized!) robbery, but we want to make the most of things before senior year is over. So we’ve been trying to systematically suck the juice out of NYU before it finishes sucking the juice out of us.

The idea makes sense in theory. On a campus this size, there must be at least 50 free events that include expensive catering and booze on any given day. Not to mention all the free shows and lectures any bright young mind would wish to attend. So we thought.

We set ground rules to make sure things couldn’t get out of hand. No nefarious activities would be allowed: All stealing was off limits, we decided. And that included taking toilet paper from university bathrooms and carrying entire pineapples away from the dining hall. Neither of us has ever done either of those things by the way. Maybe.

But it was soon clear that the plan was flawed. We just couldn’t find any time in our schedules to get more out of our NYU experience. Jordan was the first one to crack.

The juice-sucking nightmare culminated on Tuesday, when in a fit of midterm desperation and post-GRE stress I decided I would rely on the university for every need for just one day. I wouldn’t spend any money. I would go to a billion lectures and instantly become a genius.

I started by sleeping in the library. If I hadn’t, I would have spent $2.25 on the subway, which was against the rules.

Around 10 a.m. Jordan came to my temporary campsite, and he tried to help me brainstorm ways to get the best of NYU.

“Why don’t we go to an exhibit at the Grey Art Gallery?” he asked. “That’s free.”

“Ugh, not art. Art is dumb,” I quipped back, still grumpy and drowsy following the few hours of unsatisfying sleep I had gotten in Bobst.

I had done a bit of research beforehand. I was planning to go to the International Relations club meeting to nab some supposedly fancy French pastries, and the Student Health Center for some snacks.

Tuesday was also the opening night of NYU’s Uruguay Film Festival.

“You guys should go. There’s a reception afterward,” my professor had told our class on Monday. I heard the word reception and pictured myself eating a giant piece of lasagna while the Uruguayan intellectuals in the room looked on coldly. I licked my lips.

But everything went terribly, terribly wrong.

I started out on a pretty good note — after my night in the library I headed for the class I am auditing. AUDITING. That’s right: 2.5 hours of free learning just for the sake of learning, every week.

Arielle: 15. NYU: 0.

After my next class I was supposed to head for pastries and snacks, but I had a standard half-hour meeting with my adviser to breeze through first. Or so I thought: The good professor, bless her soul, kept me there for over two hours.

I emerged at 5:30 p.m., devastated and starving — I had missed all the food events. NYU was in the lead.

I needed a shoulder to cry on. So I called the Wellness Exchange to schedule the first of my 12 free counseling sessions. They put me on hold, and my cell phone flickered out of service. I gave up.

I made it to the film fest with the knowledge that food was right around the corner at the reception. Wrong again! They were serving wine and apple juice — no lasagna in sight.

I quietly accepted the sweet apple juice and a very bitter defeat, whipping out my wallet to buy some Chinese food and a subway ride home. You won this round,  NYU, but I’ll be back …


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