The Firing Squad: You go to NU, speak like it

Kathleen Flaherty

Northwestern students are boring. Don’t get me wrong, I’m both awed and inspired by how multidimensional my classmates are. A single student can devote time to an assortment of organizations like SEED and African Drum and Dance Ensemble on top of four, maybe even five, classes. And at the same time, they can manage to keep up on their hygiene – aka not skipping a shower, even if it means giving up that extra five minutes to cram in another five points worth of information for an exam.

But you wouldn’t know they spent the weekend protesting genocide in Darfur or “conducting research” for NORML from how students talk about themselves. For all the activities we invest time in, we don’t have much to say when we stop on the street to converse for a minute or two.

I ran into an acquaintance of mine the other day, and I asked how he was doing. “Busy,” he said. Yeah, what else is new? Was there seriously nothing else going on in his life that was worth mentioning? Had anything added color to his week instead of draining color from it?

It’s a given that everyone at NU is busy, whether they’re filling out research grant applications, memorizing monologues for their upcoming shows or splicing DNA in a research lab. We’re not mindless drones and we shouldn’t talk like we are.

I ran into my friend today at Willie’s Food Court, and I asked him how he was doing. And he at least managed to say, “just chugging along…” I liked the imagery. At least he articulated his overwhelming NU life in a creative way. Because honestly, I’d rather just not talk to someone and keep on walking if all he’s going to say is “I’m busy.”


Campus Reporter