It amuses me to no end to watch prospective parents on tours around campus. You see fathers in suits, mothers with perfectly coiffed hair and shy eleven-year-olds walking timidly in their newly purchased kitten heels. They smile, nod courteously and ask questions at appropriate times. If you look carefully, you will also see the strained smiles, the mild looks of disgust and the expressions of blank-faced bewilderment that threaten to crack their polite facades. But don’t worry too much about it. It’s nothing about you personally. Still you should worry about it, just a little, because it’s about all of us as a student body, which means you are part of the problem.
As individuals, I am sure that every Marlborough student is a well-mannered, upstanding human being who probably understands that comparing leg hair over lunch is not appropriate social behavior. However, fit 500 hundred of us onto a campus smaller than Whole Foods, seal the lid and crank up the academic pressure, shake and voila! You have just created an alternate universe wherein social conventions don’t apply, and personal boundaries are next to nonexistent.
I get it. We’ve created a cushy environment for ourselves here. And don’t get me wrong. Most of the time it’s great. Such an environment allows for much closer friendships and gives us all the space to focus on what is really important (college apps and keeping up with Scandal). I do believe, however, that we as a whole need to revisit some rudimentary rules about being a living, breathing human in society. So I googled some personal boundaries activities for elementary school students that I think would behoove us all to review. Circle T if the statement is true, and F if it is false:
Strangers are people we have not yet met and don’t know. We can hug them and say, “I love you.” T/F
False. It is not acceptable to go up to someone you don’t know and proclaim your love. Likewise, it is not acceptable to come up to me and burst into tears about the college process. I mean, I’ll probably mumble something like, “Yeah, sucks,” while awkwardly patting you on the back. I know trauma bonds people together, but come on. We have spoken, like, twice.
Best friends are not our family, but we can give them hugs and kisses. We can take turns playing games and talk about private things. T/F
True. Basically, anything goes with best friends because that is sort of the whole point of having them. Just make sure you remember the qualifier “best.” You should be able to count them on one hand, or at most one hand and one finger. Don’t go blabbing about your deepest, darkest secret to every Dom, Chick, and Jane in your class. No one, except your best friends, wants to hear about it.
Hold your arms straight out and twirl around in a circle. This is your bubble. No one enters the bubble. T/F
Gotcha! Trick question. Bet you didn’t see that one coming, did you? That space is in fact your personal bubble, but people can come in. They just need to ask your permission first. Say you are sitting on one of the sofas in the Academic Resource Center (ARC) when a friend walks up to you and lays across your lap. It is perfectly acceptable to roll her off you like a hot tamale and shout, “Get out of my bubble, you freak of nature!” Or, on the other hand, if you find her warm and yourself especially sleep-deprived, cuddle away, you goon. #personalboundaries