MY FRESHMAN FACEBOOK (PAPER EDITION) STORY 📂

(Ed. Note: this is a very old draft I felt needed more editing, but viva la draft week!) Inspired by the divine Miss @zoe's list item from weeks ago about how she did not submit a photo for the freshman Facebook because she "DGAF." I, unfortunately, REALLY REALLY REALLY GAVE A FUCK. I gave all the fucks. Here's what happened.
  1. First of all, for the young'uns in the crowd, before the coming of Mark Zuckerberg, a "Facebook" was a paper book handed to every freshman on the first day of college.
    It featured every freshman, their picture, hometown, and dorm/phone number.
  2. I'd been told by older friends that having a great picture in The Facebook (we called it that because Justin Timberlake hadn't yet told the world that just "Facebook" was cooler) was of the utmost importance.
    THIS IS HOW GUYS KNOW IF YOU ARE HOT!! Apparently the only way, like guys wouldn't be able to find you in real life and suss it out for themselves? 34-year-old me can bust a lot of holes in 18-year-old me's reasoning, but let's keep going.
  3. So high school senior year spring, I took passport photos at the local camera store, as that was the size and format The Facebook requested.
    I then decided that I looked awful in them and was destined to be an ugly and therefore unpopular freshman and then my life would be ruined because we all know it's all downhill from college.
  4. At home, I came up with a new plan: get my mom to take an entire roll of film of my smiling face and then go back to the camera store and have them cut the best one into passport size.
    I'm a genius! My mom is a saint for putting up with this.
  5. Hot picture? Taken. Yale forms filled out? Picture sent? Done and done.
    Achievement unlocked. I am going to slay the men of New Haven, I thought as I dropped the envelope in the mail.
  6. Insert quick montage of snapshots - senior spring, prom, graduation, summer, summer job, pre-college nerves flaring up, packing for orientation camping trip, going on orientation camping trip and not complaining once about how camping is terrible, returning from orientation camping trip for move-in day.
    I am going to crush college. And slay the men of New Haven. I bounce toward my dorm and my new roommate who is clearly going to be my BFFAEAE and...
  7. It's all wrong.
    I walk into Farnum A-21 and it's the smallest room I've ever seen. It's a double they've turned into a quad, essentially by jamming bunk beds into rooms that used to be singles, meaning all four desks and all four wardrobe have to live in the not-much-bigger-than-the-bedrooms common room.
  8. Since I was the only one who'd opted to go on the camping trip from my suite, the other three girls are already there and mostly unpacked.
    I get the worst bed (top bunk) and the worst desk/wardrobe configuration.
  9. Even worse, Dana, my roommate, is looking at me like I'm Swamp Thing.
    In hindsight, it was a bazillion degrees and everyone was totally nervous and stressed and DID I MENTION OUR ROOM WAS THE SIZE OF HARRY POTTER'S? At the Dursley's, I mean.
  10. I drop my camping gear and excuse myself to take a shower, which is also tiny (and freezing). My parents, continuing their path to sainthood, start hauling in my stuff.
    Do not cry, I say to myself in the shower. Do not cry.
  11. My three new roomies, our parents, and I play a special type of human and suitcase Jenga as we attempt to simultaneously unpack.
    Or maybe it was more like Twister. "Mandi, right hand on green duffel, left leg leap over Dana's flute case to hand over pink backpack (in left hand)."
  12. We discover our computers won't be able to get onto the Yale network without something called an Ethernet cord, which none of us have.
    This was 1999 - it was dial-up all the way! For a long time I thought "Ethernet" was a word Yale made up for the Yale Internet. IT WAS 1999 AND ALSO I'M KIND OF DENSE OKAY?
  13. I volunteer to get out of that hellhole for ten minutes and grab cords, which are apparently being distributed across Old Campus (basically the freshman quad).
    I walk over, hoping I'm not as sweaty and gross as I feel - how is it I went camping for a week and a few hours of moving have left me more bedraggled? - and enter the building where the promised cords supposedly reside.
  14. A sign directs me to the second floor. As I head up the stairs, I see a put-together-looking girl and her mom heading down.
    They're not focused on me, they're fixated on the glossy tome the girl holds.
  15. Oh my god. It's The Facebook!
    "Excuse me?" Put-together, whose name turns out to be Becky, looks up, the Van Cleef Fleur de Lis chain around her neck announcing she is Very Fancy. I feel like a country bumpkin in my tee and shorts and so much sweat but I soldier on. "Is that The Facebook?" She smiles and extends it to me. "Wanna see?"
  16. I take the book from her, trying to hide my eagerness, which was definitely not something this bejeweled brunette was going to find cool.
    I rifle through the pages, passing names like Bernstein, Koch, Massey, Rovzar, not knowing these anonymous grinning faces would become some of my best friends for life - all I cared about was getting to Schweitzer.
  17. And then I do.
    Next to my name - rather than the grinning mug I'd painstakingly worked to achieve - is a picture of a statue, aka the thing they put in the FB for people who forget to send a pic (or are too cool to care).
  18. I look above my name and see Allison Schwartz.
    ALLISON SCHWARTZ HAS MY PICTURE!! WHEN GUYS ARE LOOKING FOR HOT FRESHMEN IN THE FB THEY WILL SEE MY PIC AND CALL ALLISON SCHWARTZ!! AND NO ONE WILL CALL ME!
  19. "What's wrong?" asks Van Cleef, all innocent but clearly salivating at my distress.
    Do not cry, do not cry, do not cry. "Oh, it's no big deal," I croak. "But they messed up my picture." I show Van Cleef and Mom Van Cleef the Allison Schwartz situation.
  20. "Oh my God," VC titters. "That's terrible!"
    I mumble my thanks for letting me see the book and scurry off to get the cord I came for. College is officially the worst, I think, before finding a corner in which to silently sob.
  21. It turns out college was, in fact, not the worst, but that first day was pretty rough.
    PS: guys still figured out how to contact me despite the picture snafu. Who'd have thunk it? PPS: turns out guys thinking you're pretty is not anywhere near the most important or fun part of college. Though it'd have been nice if the creators of the Yale Facebook hadn't made me learn that the hard way.