If you would like to submit an article, a letter to the editor, or have a subject that you would like me to approach next, email me at

Friday, September 7, 2012

My musings on C-Day

Dear Sweet, Beautiful, Patient, Readers,

I've had several of you ask me when I'm going to be posting my perspective of C-Day. I do realize that C-Day was on Tuesday, and it is already Friday afternoon as I type this, but the truth of the matter is this: I could not write a response so soon. Why, you might ask?

Simple: C-Day was a disaster, a clusterfuck, and a complete waste of time.

The reason I didn't write this article on Tuesday is because it would have literally been that last sentence repeated over and over again. By the end of Tuesday, September 4th, I was in a bad state. I had spent the day trying so hard to believe it was all going to be okay, only for it to collapse into awfulness.

I'm feeling a bit more collected now, though. I've had time to regain my senses, think, and review the day for what it was. That being said, I still feel about the same, but now I believe I can manage to put it into words that can be spoken in front of impressionable children or in polite society.

A quick warning: My experience is limited to what I personally did during the day, so I can't say that I speak for everyone. Of course, when have I ever spoken for everyone? Regardless, I'll break up my analysis based on the events as they happened for me.

The day started out with me waking up way too early. I had the strangest dream that I had received an important memo via email about the procedure for seniors that were walking during convo. Oh wait, that was no dream: I had received an email about 2 weeks ago. Of course, I forgot, so I rushed and showed up--I thought--about 20 minutes late. As it should so happen, though, I wasn't the only one who forgot the memo. Most of the guys I talked to had either "not received an memo" or forgot it themselves.

Convocation went well enough. It was hot, Dr. Howard opened the speeches by proclaiming that God must, in fact, be a Tiger. *holds for snickers*  I couldn't help but notice the lack of sophomores and juniors at the events, but hey, who can blame them?

Despite my complete cynicism, though, some of the speeches (particularly the student speeches) were actually pretty good. My favorite part (and please forgive my memory, but I can't recall the student the said it), was when the honor code was applied to the individual: The idea there is that each of us should never lie to ourselves, never cheat ourselves of possibilities, and never steal from....ourselves. I gotta say, I was moved, and spent the next few minutes wondering why I was still attending HSC. Have I been lying to myself? The truth is, yes. I do lie to myself, frequently, but I do it to survive. I pretend like everything is peachy and that people are capable of change, and not really worthy of the contempt I often have for them, but unfortunately, It's not all peachy, and people can be pretty damn awful.

Of course, I'm not leaving this place. Screw that. I've only got the one year left here, and then I'm off to brighter horizons!

Class Speaker
This is where the day took a nose dive straight into the heart of the shit-storm. I have to say, I did not think too strongly of Mr. Thaddeus R. Shelly III of the class of 1975. His discussion on prostitution and pimping--I mean Marketing Myself When My Product is Me-- was filled with the same type of useless drivel that I've been hearing about since my first year in high school about the interviewing process. Quite unfortunately, this was the only part of the presentation that I thought might be useful to an average human. Even that would've been fine, though, if it weren't for the 40 minutes of the presentation that were spent self-glorifying himself and insulting the audience. Naturally, since Mr. Shelly (I'll break here to mention that rule number one is that you are absolutely forbidden to call Mr. Shelly anything but Mr. Shelly unless he invites you to do so.) Since Mr. Shelly is the CEO of Lazard Wealth Management, it is only natural that he would be talking about the business world. Unfortunately, Not only is HSC not a business school, but a lot of the people around me had no intention of entering said business world. For that reason, the message was pretty much lost on me.

To make matters worse, though, I actually paid attention to his one-sided discussion. Aside from my horror at the poor images in his power point (C is for Crappy ClipArt!), I also became subject to his criticism of the capacity of any individual to succeed on his own. "None of you will ever succeed in life if you do not talk to me first." That's the message that I took away from his speech. Now, I do not personally know Mr. Shelly, and I'm sure that he is a decent human being who is only looking out for his fellow man. I'm sure he wants everyone to be able to get jobs---oh wait...what? Oh. He's thoroughly supports outsourcing his jobs? Oh....that's fine too. So even if we do come talk to you, we wont get no...that's fine. We'll manage. . .

I almost walked out of this event. it was a waste of my time and patience. From what I hear, I wasn't the only person who felt this way. Now, I don't have any pure evidence aside from trusted witness testimonials, but I hear that the Junior Class Speaker, a Mr. Joe Ehrmann, was able to get away with saying the only purpose that women serve at Hampden-Sydney College is to be subservient to the men. I really hope that this was misinterpreted, but I wouldn't be surprised if this type of misogynistic statement was endorsed by the school. It wouldn't be the first time. (Also, I have more on that topic later. That has to be an entire post itself).

Community Lunch
..was exactly like lunch on any other day of the week, with only a couple notable differences. The main difference is that, as I walked down the stairs into the commons, I was oddly reminded of Attack of the Clones: everywhere I looked, there were white-shirted clone-spawns mulling about. Despite my horror at the blatant violation of the "No white after Labor Day" law, I was able to get over the fact that every freshman was dressed the same by rationalizing it: C-Day is all about Conformity, so obviously they should all be dressed the same. We need to Celebrate (one of the "C-Themes") our most diverse class ever by making them all look alike!

The food was good, though, and I really can't complain about anything aside from the creepy freshman cultists and the over crowded room (C is for Creepy, Cults, and Crowds).

I worked really hard to get my presentation for my quest station together. Dr. Weese, though, worked even harder. I was really excited for what we had going: we were both presenting on film. Dr. Weese was looking at cinematic techniques, and I would be analyzing film as a literary text. We were all set to go and excited to see some students. And so we waited.

and waited.

and waited some more.

Eventually a group of five students showed up: friends of mine that I'd asked to come see our presentation. I'm thankful for them coming to see it, but unfortunately it didn't really improve my mood. I had stressed myself out to prepared for C-Day, and for no end.

Now, from what I hear, other booths got some attention. I attribute our failure to our location at the top of Winston. Students can't be bothered to go upstairs, anyway.

At least I managed to complete my honors proposal during all of the downtime. I just wish all of our hard work hadn't gone to waste. . .

Club Fair/ Community Dinner
Every year during Freshman Orientation there is a Pig-On-The-Point dinner where the clubs get to set up tables to promote themselves, and the community gets to enjoy a pork dinner outside. This year, because the school was afraid of the rain that never came, the event was moved indoors. SO every club at HSC was forced to cram into the cramped space upstairs in Settle Hall. Although both of my club tables received a lot of signatures, the event gave me a tremendous headache. One couldn't hear in there, especially over the raffle announcements that were being projected every five minutes or so. Also, I never got to enter the raffle. The hell is up with that? Oh well. Life (HSC) isn't always (ever) fair.

My day ended at the dinner. I had a serious need to escape back to my room. I know plenty of people took the day off to stay in their rooms, and I wish now that I had done the same.

A short note on the "C-Themes" and I'll wrap this up, I promise.

Convocation: We did, indeed, come together to celebrate achievement, but my "communal bond" to this hell hole is weaker now that ever before, and I have absolutely no desire to "Reaffirm" (or just "affirm") a "commitment to the Hampden-Sydney mission".

Calling: I have yet to hear of anyone taking any of that introspection stuff seriously. I tried--didn't work. I think the best display of students considering their "interests, skills, and passions" were those students who stayed in their rooms playing Call of Duty all day.

Career: I noticed that the Tiger tracks sessions seemed a bit more involved that the Quest Stations, so taht's a positive note. And by working on my honors proposal, I was certainly able to work on my Career as a student.

Community: I think the Freshman service projects would've been a lot better if they had bright orange shirts instead of those white things. Then they would've looked like they felt: prisoners.  I talked to ten different freshmen about that part of the day, and they all agreed to skip the projects. "Why would you skip, though? Surely you'd like to help your community, right?" The answers I got varied between "I just got here. It's not my community yet," and my favorite: "I care, but I refuse to be forced to volunteer. If I volunteer, it will be on my terms, not the institution's."

Ceremony: I must have failed to recognize the importance of formal events. Maybe sweating in my graduation robes for a non-graduation purpose was discouraging me.

Celebration: I celebrated the end of the day, does that count?

Thus ends my rant on C-Day. My personal advice: don't waste your time with this next year. Seriously. I don't think it helped. For me, in particular, it actually hurt the way I feel about this school. Plus, I didn't win an iPad (not that I really expected to.) Thanks for reading!

--Your Editor (who is finally relieved to have this all off his chest)
-Walter McCoy


  1. Yeah I decided to skip C-Day after they took away my convocation award as it took them until the day before to realize I was not graduating. Nevermind my matriculation card that I had to check said I was not planning to graduate. To make matters worse they mailed my parents about it and encouraged them to come, which thank god they didn't pay the $800 a person flight plus lodging to see someone else get the award.

    1. So wait, they took your award because you weren't graduating? There were juniors there that won awards, though. Those shit heads.... I'm glad that your parents didn't spend a bunch of money for that type of crap.