The days of waking up hungover on a Wednesday and eating cold bedside-table macaroni are winding down. That’s right, finals are upon us yet again. For most of us, that means creeping out of bed at an ungodly hour (Nosferatu-style), and spending a bleak amount of time within the confines of Otto G.’s voluntary-admittance prison. Last semester, we got to know some of the fateful personas that a majority of you will succumb to this finals season. We now look to those who have pretty much given up. Those who have faced the last four years of finals with the vigor of Medieval Times fake knights. Those who are teetering on the edge of a cliff that will plummet them into the mundane real world of taxes and credit scores and other things that I don’t quite understand.
To the Procrastination Prudences and Rookie Ralphs reading this in Richter right now, pay attention. These are your senior year doppelgangers. Your future. Your demise. If you need to be taking notes on anything, it’s this.
Peter just wants everyone to have a good time. He orders another preemptive pitcher for the table before the gang has made a dent in their first round. He’s kind, considerate, and generous. “Your favorite beer is Blue Moon?” And with a single wag of his dehydrated little finger, he has ordered your preferential brew and promised not to worry about Venmoing—the pitchers are on him. However, Peter often takes a dark turn after pitcher number three. Refuse the next drink he has picked out special for you, and watch our once-sweet Pete transition into a rage-filled werewolf of sorts. Although he is literally foaming at the mouth (beer burps) and has lost all capacity for human speech, everyone is well aware that his vicious growls and table-banging signify he just really really really wants you to have a good time.
Friends of Peter:
Peter’s most common trigger phrases include: “no thanks, I’m good” and “I think I’m gonna hit the lib”—avoid these at all costs. If you truly cannot handle the next order on Peter’s mental list, make sure to notify him sometime after pitcher number one but before pitcher number three. It is crucial that you let him know in a way that also softens the blow. Before kindly refusing the drink, let Peter know how much of a BLAST you’ve been having with him. Some useful buzz phrases include “ultimate Rat day”, “best friends for life”, and “being with you just makes beer taste better”. If this tactic fails, have the waitress water down the rest of his pitchers. He’ll level off and probably doze off by the time everyone’s ready to leave—single Yes-No fry still in mouth.
Mel is easy to spot. Her laptop sits on the table, bordered by cups of beer at a dangerous proximity. She types viciously. She keeps one eyeball glued on the screen and one eyeball glued on her friends—she will not miss the punch line of Carol’s story again. She missed it. She laughs nervously as she tries to remember whether this essay needs to be in IPA or MLA format. She is too buzzed to realize that IPA isn’t a type of format, but the drink she has so foolishly pounded two of since sitting down. Poor Mel doesn’t want to miss out on her last few weeks of pallin’ around but also might not graduate if she blows off her finals. She sits and wonders why the most brain power she’s seen everyone else use was during a questionably aggressive round of Rat trivia.
Friends of Mel:
Let Mel know that—despite losing any remnants of sobriety yourself—you support her academic ambitions. Suggest that she go somewhere less distracting to complete her essay or study sesh. This way, she can finish faster and meet back up with your degenerate friend group afterwards, when she can really commit to drunk chuckling at Carol’s stupid stories.
Much like Mel, Fabio has quite the stressful finals schedule. Unlike Mel, Fabio likes to throw around the phrase, “fuck it!”, then proceed to blackout and wake up with half his body in the popcorn machine. Molecular Biology final? No thanks! Who cares! Senior year! Fuck it! Fabio hasn’t gone to class in three weeks so he’s missed all the reviews, but that is totally fine by him. He’s here to make memories and spend time with his friends, as he will slur over and over to you. He’s not worried. He’s not worried at all. He’s seriously not even a little bit worried. Fuck it!
Friends of Fabio:
His spirit is in the right place, but his brain is getting all mushy and you’re pretty sure he spelled his own name wrong yesterday. Encourage his Crappe Diem mantra to an extent, and then exercise a little reprimand. “Let’s go to the Rat!” “Maybe after your final, Fabio.” Much like a new puppy, you must condition him with a metaphorical spray of water until he understands the work-reward process. Maybe give him a literal spray of water too—homie needs to be a tad more coherent for that presentation.
We all know when graduation is. We all understand what graduation means. We just don’t like to talk about it is all. But of course Emotions Emily finds way to break this unspoken agreement time and time again. This hot mess of a human seemingly only carries conversations in terms of graduation. “You got a 94 on your project? Oh my god, that is how many hours (plus 242) that we have left until we leave this amazing school forever!” Followed by a recall of the most important memories she’s shared with everyone at that glider. She’ll be laughing and celebrating the years of friendship one moment, and drunk sobbing to your waitress the next. Honey is a basket case.
Friends of Emily:
Change the topic, change it now. Simply tell her you don’t want to talk about it because you’ll get “too emotional”. Obviously that’s a lie—you’re far too drunk and the only thing you’re “feeling” is yourself—but it’ll be enough to convince Emily she’s doing you a favor. Emily will do you lots of favors in these last few weeks. She just loves you so much. You mean so much to her. She had a pillowcase made at Walgreens with both your faces on it. Just don’t tell her you used it as a post-Rat day barf bag—she’s far too fragile.
You may remember Teddy from a previous article entitled, The 6 People you Meet at Richter During Finals. Tis no typo; our dear friend Teddy has traded in his makeshift couch-cushion fort to awaken his untapped beer-guzzling potential. Teddy feels much more at ease within the walls of his new home where the rent owed may be a bit steeper, but at least it doesn’t require three anxiety attacks a month and a small part of his soul (plus utilities). Due to years of inhabiting experience, Teddy knows all the right tricks to optimize his surroundings. He has a special relationship with each of the wait staff and seems to always know the obscure hour when the popcorn is made fresh. He resides at the same, central glider each day with little interruption. In fact, you can’t remember the last time you didn’t see Teddy at the Rat. And sure, it’s a little odd that he keeps his retainer under the seat cushion, but at least he’s happy.
Friends of Teddy:
Remind him that the Rat isn’t everything. Remind him that despite the memorable Snapchats that resulted, spilling an entire pitcher of Bud Select on himself does not constitute a real shower. Remind him of his actual bed. Remind him of his actual home. Maybe begin to question whether he has an actual home. Embrace him when he breaks down and admits he has forgotten his own address and coax him into your car, which you will want to probably line with saran wrap beforehand. Shhhhh. There, there, it’s going to be okay. Don’t forget your retainer.
Not unlike the diverse and dysfunctional community formed in Richter, each of these muskRats is longing for a common purpose—though a good grade is probably not what weighs heaviest on their liquor-laden minds. The Rat gives these misfits a place of salvation. A place where they may all binge drink and blatantly ignore the major life shift approaching, while by the same token, silently acknowledging its presence (at least until Emotions Emily takes a sip of Yuengling). So seniors, this finals szn, look out for your fellow Fabios and Mels. Take advantage of Teddy’s secret relationship with one of the waitresses and use his discount damnit! You earned it!
Most importantly, don’t forget: there isn’t a solution to your second-semester worries that can’t be found at the bottom of a pitcher.