I stumbled across the foreign word shortly after committing to Wellesley. On a spring evening around 9:03 p.m., I’m lying sprawled across my bedroom floor, my phone screen a dim glow in an otherwise darkened room as I learn all I can about my prospective college. Rather than perusing articles coherent or credible, I have discovered a new, far more intriguing if questionable source of wisdom—the “Overheard at Wellesley College” Facebook page.
I feel I’m an insider now I feel as if I’ve been initiated. With a voracious curiosity, I scroll through hundreds of posts both ancient and contemporary. That’s when she pops up—the sentence I’d forget quickly enough and then recall some three months later: “I was treated better at 3 a.m. in a Vegas nightclub than I was at Remix.”
I wonder, fleetingly, why “Remix” necessitates a capital R. Thinking I must be missing an inside joke of some sort, and I am, I scroll on by.
Upon my arrival at Wellesley, however, I heard the term again, this time spoken with a strange sort of reverence. Awed first-years whispered amongst themselves: “What do people wear to Remix?” “Do you think you’ll go to Remix?” “Have you heard about Remix?”
Facebook post aside, I had not heard about Remix. In fact, when I first heard the word in passing, I figured ‘Remix’ was a verb—a variant of ‘mix.’ I figured it related to blenders in some way; if one’s blender is broken, you have to ‘remix’ the food within, yes? I concede that I was rather confused. What clothing would one don to ‘remix?’ I don’t know, perhaps an apron?
Soon, though, I remembered the “Overheard at Wellesley College” post I’d read in the spring. Remix, I realized, must refer to some sort of campus-wide event—an event that, judging by the amount of laugh reacts on the Overheard post, possesses a boisterous reputation within the Wellesley College community. Confused and intrigued by this allegedly unsavory yet long-awaited phenomenon, I listened as blasé seniors painted Remix into an almost mythological event. As Sept. 14 drew ever-nearer, Remix brought to mind not poorly-blended fruit, but inebriated Tinder dates creeping through the shadowy corners of suburbia.
Friday night rolled around, and—with the air of an anthropologist entering foreign territory—I joined the throngs of party-goers in their trek to the West side of campus.
Unprepared was I, however, for the grim reality of the situation: a sudden and veritable flood of cis men.
After living for a mere three weeks within Wellesley’s slightly stifling but not wholly unpleasant atmosphere, the appearance of these seeming intruders was rather dizzying and the Facebook post suddenly made sense. Tall, oblivious Babson business majors elbowed their way wildly through the masses; Olin students skittered meekly along the outskirts. I arrived at Remix with no expectations and a fervent desire to not be be thrown up on. I left, thankfully sans barf-spattered clothes,with a firm appreciation for the fact that I attend a historically women’s college.
Many of my peers, however, did arrive with expectations. Evidently, they had compared their Friday night ventures with the glamorous tales spoon-fed to them by elder students; they had wanted their Remix escapades to possess the otherworldly mystique of which their elders spoke.
Indeed, it seems Wellesley’s competitive atmosphere may extend beyond the classroom, influencing—in a sly, surreptitious manner—one’s Friday evening plans. If we compete for grades and test scores, might we not also be subconsciously competing for fun? Competing to see who can best balance the stress of academia with the thrill of debauchery?
A few days after Remix, for instance, I sat with a fellow Wellesley student as she scrolled through social media. Strangely, this activity seemed to inspire a fair amount of stress. “Everyone else had so much fun,” she remarked, looking woefully into the distance. Shortly thereafter, she began brainstorming ways that she, too, could experience instagram-worthy “fun.”
Competition, I believe, is an inherently toxic notion, idealization a dangerous practice. Both lead to shattered hopes and weary hearts. For many first years, Remix did not live up to its hype simply because the present cannot live up to a romanticized version of the past—be it our own past or someone else’s—and urban legends are merely that: urban legends.