Put down the bowl and get over yourself

By Claire Deason, Rosa Signy Gisladottir

In The Mac Weekly last week, a news article (“Students find fault with Res. Life’s drug policies”) exposed a growing problem at Macalester: more students are leaving the dorms and moving off campus because Macalester does not tolerate underage drinking or smoking marijuana. When we first saw this article, we thought it was a joke. But after reading it in its entirety and finding no Onion-style sarcastic punch line, we felt it necessary to respond.

As one fairly normal European and one fairly normal Minnesotan, we can honestly say that it was a culture shock to discover the Macalester student body’s affection for marijuana. We don’t know where you weed people are from, but it certainly doesn’t sound like a very cool place. We thought smoking was for losers – in fact, we can’t think of anything more un-cool. Not only is it incredibly smelly and unhealthy (want some damage to your memory, messed-up learning capabilities and perception, and impaired problem solving, anyone?), but smoking weed is also extremely unattractive. The practical problem of un-date-ability (namely, overall unattractiveness associated with marijuana) is nothing, however, compared to the rationale the weeders adopt. “Smoking marijuana supports the pillar of internationalism at Macalester?” “My relationships with my closest friends and family have been strengthened and shaped by the communalism of the bowl?” Seriously?! Let’s just repeat that for the slow smokers out there: SERIOUSLY. We can’t believe these people think it’s reasonable to expect Mac to allow marijuana on campus. Perhaps it’s all the smoking they’ve been doing…

A culture that accepts that the cream of its intellectual crop uses marijuana to “remove barriers to social interaction” must be seriously socially handicapped in the first place – and if its potential leaders spend precious time in their most productive years messing with their cognitive abilities the prospects can’t be good.

The truth is that in the real world, not everybody smokes weed. What do you expect to find on the other side of the Macalester bubble? A glowing and lovely world where you can toke up on your lunch break? Good luck holding down a job. If you really can’t kick your nasty habit, fair enough. But whatever you do, stop complaining about the law and the Macalester policy. You can’t simply move off campus and start a hippie commune to escape the law. The fact is that there is nowhere to “create a community” compatible with these kinds of values because “valuing” drug abuse is illegal and destructive. Those students who don’t drink underage or smoke weed (and there’s more of them than some students would like to believe) have a right to a comfortable environment because federal law gives them that right. The cold reality is that we have the law on our side for a reason.

After all, does respect mean nothing? Think of all the great things Macalester has made available to us. We pay an unimaginable amount of money to be here for a reason. After providing us with brilliant professors, a beautiful campus, state-of-the-art technology, sometimes great food, and amazing classes, this is the thanks you smokers give to our school? By expecting our administration to ignore federal law so that you can smoke it up with your friends in the comfort of your newly-renovated dorm rooms? Because college is “an opportunity for young adults to grow and learn from adult experiences?” Well, we’ve got news for you. If you’re old enough to argue that you need to “grow and learn from adult experiences,” then you’re old enough to respect the law.

And, really, international students at Mac should be mature enough to understand why “you can’t drink and why it’s wrong,” even though it’s legal in our home countries. The hassle we have to go through at immigration should remind us to respect the US law because those tough immigration officers mean business.

Finally, (here’s the cheesy part) some of us are here for an education. Some of us feel privileged and honored to be given the opportunity just to set foot on this campus. And we work our asses off to pay for it. We go to class each day and stay up late reading each night so we can get to grad school and land a decent career to pay off our loans after this whole thing is over. When other students act as if this experience is just one big experiment, it’s offensive. This is not an experiment. This is your life. It’s your one shot at making something of yourself. Now put down the bowl and get to work. (In case you’re dismissing us as some boring bitches, we’ll remind you that non-doped-up blondes and brunettes do have more fun. Oh, and please, if you’re one of our friends, don’t tell us you smoke.)

Contact R’¨sa Signy G’¨slad’¨ttir ’06 at [email protected] and Claire Deason ’06 at [email protected]