By The Numbers

I have officially survived my first semester as a JA.  In light of that fact, I have compiled a handy summary of the past four months, a la the Williams Prospectus:

19: # of Frosh in my entry

17: # of Frosh I Facebook stalked before First Days (oops!)

1: # of Frosh adopted along the way

75%: Approximate percentage of Frosh that I feel sufficiently bonded to

100%: Approximate percentage of Frosh that I wish I felt sufficiently bonded to

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8: # of beds that I assisted in lofting on move-in day

780: Approximate caloric intake from Dunkin Donut’s Munchkins on move-in day

2 hours: Approximate time my Co and I spent shopping for men’s cargo shorts on move-in day (don’t ask)

1: # of parents I wanted to defenestrate on move-in day

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6: # of times I have personally supervised vomiting Frosh

3 hours: Approximate time my Co and I have spent bonding in bathrooms while supervising vomiting Frosh together

2: # of hand-drawn “I’m sorry for vomiting last night” cards currently on display in my dorm room

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2: # of sleep-interrupting fire alarms in Mission this past semester

0: # of fire alarms caused by my entry (Woohoo!)

1: # of trees confiscated from my entry on the basis of fire safety violations

.

$833: Entry funds spent thus far

20: # of attendees at our End-of-the-Semester Entry Dinner at Jae’s Inn

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4-1-0: Record of our Entry IM Soccer Team

9: # of cut-off sweatshirts worn on the playing field as our official uniform

1: # of championships we think we should have won

$250: Cash prize for IM Broomball Champion in January.  Bring it on.

.

5: # of entries I have personally showered in this semester, per official Entry Shower Competition rules

92.4%: percentage of entries showered in by at least one of my Frosh, per Official Entry Shower Competition rules

1: # of times I have been questioned as to why I am in a towel in the middle of Frosh Quad

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2.7%: Percent decrease in my GPA over the past semester

46/100: Score on my Organic Chemistry midterm exam

0: # of times I went to bed before 2am in the month of September

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0: # of regrets I have about all of it

Okay, so that last bit was a little cheeky, I know.  Don’t get me wrong- this past semester has been far from perfect.  So far from perfect that I have already reached a point where I can look back on my August naïveté and laugh.  I really thought that I would be able to have it all- perfectly balancing my schoolwork and my social life with the demands of JAdom.  I hoped to develop meaningful relationships with all of my Frosh, see eye-to-eye with my Co on every issue that arose, and maintain a positive attitude throughout it all.  Needless to say, things didn’t exactly turn out as planned.  Looking back on this semester, I think that I could have worked harder on including some of my more marginalized Frosh, could have worried about things a lot less, could have communicated with my Co better.  But I’m the sort of person who looks forward and not back.  I don’t believe in regrets.

So here’s the positive stuff: I absolutely LOVE my entry.  In true proud-Momma fashion, I think my kids are the greatest thing since sliced bread (probably since before then, too… I don’t even like bread).  They have continued to astound me, day in and day out, with their ingenuity, their sense of humor, and their extreme loyalty towards the entry and one another.

And here’s the negative: My entry isn’t perfect.  Unfortunately, I was reminded of this fact through a particular incident that occurred during Finals week.  I’m not going to go into details here, but the experience was a huge reality-check for me and my Co.  Not only did our Frosh let us down in a big way, we also had to step in and be “the bad guys”, something that we both dread doing.  I felt terrible for having to assert my authority in such a way, especially because by now my Frosh have become real friends to me.  But it’s a reality of being a JA; sometimes we have to be “the bad guys” for the sake of safety, and sometimes the two-year age gap can seem so wide.

Luckily, the aftermath of that incident has largely been positive.  In the apology letter that my Frosh drafted together and signed, they outlined both what had gone wrong and how they vowed to fix it.  In my darkest hour as a JA, this letter was a shining example of the maturity and fidelity that I had come to expect from my Frosh.  In short, they reaffirmed my faith in the whole system.

So I’m going in to the next semester not with regrets, and not with firm goals, but instead with an understanding that being a JA is as unpredictable as it is worthwhile.  I’m going to try to do a better job at a lot of things, but I’m also going to try to be realistic.  My time as JA is almost halfway through, and I need to appreciate it while it lasts.

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