“All first year students, including myself, were invited by the 2nd years to a small shindig in the final days before the start of school.”

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All first year students, including myself, were invited by the 2nd years to a small shindig in the final days before the start of school. We met at a refurbished colonial house with fake columns, a small courtyard, and the essence of a future we’d been waiting for. Inside was a long winding counter that led its way from the kitchen to the patio. I grew accustomed to the patio through the habitual need of alone time. Others understood this time as smoking.

By the sight of the party, you would believe the counter was enchanted by the ad-gods themselves. All the students mingled against it, making a slight valley towards the patio. I soon cherished my Gumby-like, 6’3 185-pound physique as I slithered by my peers for a taste of fresh air sponsored by Marlboro.

On my way to the patio, I brought Clay, a close friend I had met at Brandcenter. We had only met a few weeks ago but had grown close due to our affinity for quiet in the turbulence of chaos, and this party was indeed chaos. It was filled with first years conversing over the same angsty three questions – what’s your name, what’s your track, and where are you from – and inquisitions to second years of a future we couldn’t understand, respect, or prepare for.

Outside we sat alone, thinking to ourselves. I fiddled with my cigarette and looked up, pondering above. All I saw was the roof, but it was white, and that seemed good enough for the time being.

In the past Clay and I had spoken of how these next two years would be our epicenter. This would be the thing that would make us radiant to employers, parents, and, if we played our cards right, women we wouldn’t dare speak to. This was going to be the resume builder that would start our new, promising careers. Excitement was high. Nerves were higher.

I pivoted my head facing Clay and asked,

“How do you feel about the second years?”

“They seem nice. Very inclusive and willing to share.”

“Ya, they’re great.” I pounced on his words. “They seem so different than me, or you, or anyone I’ve met.”

“I noticed that.” He waited on his words, “I haven’t quite figured that out, but there is a certain air about them.”

“Like you can tell a second year from a first year just by their stance, or the first sentence they speak.”

Clay moved his mouth back and forth in thought,

“I wonder what they were like when they were in our position.”

“Not sure, but I can’t imagine becoming them.”

“The last time I changed that much,” he said, “someone in my family died.”

“This time I think it might be me.”

We chuckled and I looked back to the roof.

-Dominic Johns, Copywriter class of 2018