College is really about being a junior.

Freshman year is about being a freshman, and meeting people, and crying a lot. Sophomore year is about not being a freshman. It's about knowing people, and feeling palpably relieved that you know people, and crying when people are mean to you. Senior year is about being a senior, and leaving the people you know, and worrying about what job you're going to get, and crying because soon you're going to have to say goodbye to all of the people who have been mean to you for the past four years.

But junior year is simply about being in college. You know people, but who cares--you knew them last year, too. You're going to graduate eventually, but that's like years away. The only thing that's special about being a junior is that there is nothing that special about being a junior. Half the people in your grade flee the country, anyway. This is what college is really like. The excitement is in the small things; full beds, stoops, drinking rotten Gatorade at 5:43 a.m. to keep from throwing up, drinking rotten Gatorade at 5:43 p.m. to keep from throwing up. Drinking tons and tons of rotten Gatorade.

It all comes down to the fact that it is 3:41 in the morning, and I can't sleep and I am anxious. It is the Day of Atonement, and until a few months ago I wouldn't have used a computer on this holiday but due to a religious crisis here I am. I am almost halfway through a 25-hour fast and all I can think about is that I drank a ton of rotten Gatorade freshman year, and sophomore too. (God. Gatorade sounds so good right now.) And the question is raised: who needs junior year at all? I have two reasons this vestigial year could be of particular concern to me, detailed below.

1. A friend who graduated convinced me that I was the kind of person who would get bored of Penn.

2. My therapist refuses to prescribe me medication for an exceptionally high anxiety level because, she believes, anxiety prevents me from being bored, which is the state that could really threaten my psyche.

a. I can't sleep more than a few hours a night, meaning that to stave off boredom I have more time to fill than most people.

i. See www.slate.com, www.salon.com, www.friendster.com, www.eonline.com, www.wonkette.com, www.fametracker.com, and www.smalltime.com/dictator.

ii. See also HBO On Demand.

iii. See also Hearst/ Conde Nast/ Time Inc. publications.

Yet, I am muddling through with aplomb. It's like this is what I was meant to do. That sempiternal drunken feeling, coupled with confusion, hunger and restlessness -- I own that.

Just so you know, I wasn't supposed to like it here from the start -- so this whole thing could fall apart at anytime. But, the Penn social hierarchy is horrifyingly fascinating, and I wouldn't be shocked if the study of it is fodder enough to carry me through to graduation anxiety.

Here I am, stuck in the middle with you.


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