Maybe it’s because THON Weekend is here again — an undeniable source of optimism for students, but every spring remains the same. The semester’s midpoint is near, and my tolerance for those around me is fading with every cliché spoken.
I’m not sure what it is, but Penn State students seem to be drawn to terrifically bad clichés, which rob language’s quality with every syllable. Maybe university leaders impress them on us with every monotonous utterance of “May no act of ours bring shame” and “For the glory.” Maybe it goes deeper, stemming from growing up in a state with municipalities with names like the City of Brotherly Love and the Steel City.
Here’s what I’m thinking when others spout out ridiculous clichés.
Everything happens for a reason
Well, of course everything happens “for a reason.” Are you familiar with cause and effect? It’s one of the universe’s undeniable constants: Something has to cause something else to happen. People squash defenseless insects under their feet because they happened to step there. Getting into a car crash or getting mugged has little to do with gushy fate, but with chance.
All suffering is not cosmically linked by some invisible, long string. In the face of insane human suffering, this cliché incorrectly implies meaning where there often isn’t any. Saying “Something divine intervened today,” as a religious gesture is fine, but applying a cliché so broadly is hilarious.
I’m graduating with no regrets
Wait, you literally never made a poor decision in college? How? Reveal your secret to the imperfect underlings, Mr. or Madame President.
Please, stop telling this lie. In three or four or seven years, graduating without regret would be supernatural. The sheer alcohol per-square-inch in State College prevents a regret-less graduation from being remotely truthful.
More likely, use of this cliché is simply naivety. It might mean, “I’m graduating having known the love of my life,” or “I YOLO-ed my way through college,” or something like that. Don’t imply perfection and come down to live with the rest of us.
That’s so random
Is it though? Is it random that your friend decided to stick her tongue out in a picture? Is it random that Tina Fey said something on a TV show? Not really.
It’s “random” what passes for random nowadays.
I can never find the connection between these cheeky acts of “hilarity” and true randomness. For instance, it would be random if instead of quoting popular song lyrics from the 1990s, a girl whipped out her samurai sword and started slicing watermelons in half.
For those like me who don’t follow this cliche, instead use a word with meaning like “spontaneous,” “funny” or “stupid.”
I’m so poor, help please
No, I will not buy you pizza because you spent your allowance on alcohol or the like. When it comes down to it, most students at University Park are the products of a family with some money who should probably take a harder look at their spending. The “poor college student” needs to go away in idyllic towns like Happy Valley, or send a job application to Rita’s, at the very least.
These well-off children tend to mutter this collegiate cliché when their disposable incomes run out because of long-held expensive habits like buying new clothes every week. No one commiserates.
Of course, there are many students who really are in financial desperation. They can use this.
Mike Hricik is a senior majoring in journalism and is The Daily Collegian’s Monday columnist. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.