Sometimes it’s surreal that I’m experiencing first-hand that which is the subject of so many movies, articles, songs, and jokes: college life.
Last night, my close friend Andrew and I went to visit some of our friends at UCLA. We had a great time.
It started with The Terminator. After an excellent sushi dinner in Westwood (a dinner in which the real men were identified by who cleaned out the most sushi — hint: I finished off the other three plates), our friend David saw Arnold Schwarzenegger drive by in a black SUV. David waved, and Arnold waved back. I had to console Dave. He wanted a "west side" sign, but I told him to accept Arnold’s gesture as awesome in its own right.
We then headed over to a sorority house of one of our high school friends. It was my first time in a frat or sorority house; Claremont has no such things. A pretty sweet set-up: 54 girls all living in one massive house, with private cooks, an admin, and plenty of hang-out space. We were only there for 15 minutes, but even in that short period of time the door-bell rang and a member of the same sorority from Michigan State asked if she could look around. It crystallized the networking benefit of being part of a national fraternity or sorority: it’s a whole new group of people with whom you have a special connection, independent of the network from your university. (The negatives also exist, of course. I heard stories last night of some sororities forcing its pledges to strip naked and then circling the parts of each girl’s body which are sub-par (e.g. a fleshy leg or something). Truly despicable.)
Next we hit up the UCLA basketball home-opener versus Portland State. UCLA is ranked #2 in the country. We had the pleasure of seeing Kevin Love, the #1 ranked high school player last year who committed to UCLA, play his first official collegiate game. Most experts say Love has long and fruitful NBA career ahead of him. My take? I want to see his outside game. At 6′ 10" he seems small to be a center or power forward in the pros, but apparently he can drain 3’s from the outside and has unbelievable touch down low.
Sitting around a friend’s apartment later in the night, as jokes were told, arguments hashed out, YouTube videos cited, and "new lines" coined, I thought of this paragraph from my old post on Tyler Cowen’s talk in Zurich:
He said America empowers youth as influencers — college students sit around and listen to music, start fads, build web sites, etc. They may not be "working" per se, but they are contributing enormously to American popular culture. Indeed, most of our popular culture is created by young people, and this is the culture that is exported abroad. If a country cares about the influence of its culture abroad, they should ask how much power is given to youth. He noted that Latin America and Asia have huge youth populations, making it prime for a lot of cultural influence in this next generation.
So true. You put a bunch of smart 18, 19, 20, and 21 year-olds in confined space and add alcohol, and you actually get a lot of crude creative output.
Thanks Dave, Teddy, Kevin, and Andrew for a fun night in LA.