Hey Seamen! Welcome back to campus! I hope you had an amazing summer thirst tweeting about state senators or whatever it is you do.
Despite all the excitement that comes with a new semester, the adjustment period can be difficult. Returning students often experience quite the culture shock coming back after a summer of getting misgendered at a retail job, while new students may feel that Lewis & Clark is home to a language entirely unknown to them before arriving on Palatine Hill.
This mystique is no mis-interpretation. The secret, storied dialect of LC has been perfected by the student body over years, combining internet slang, academic buzzwords and culturally appropriated expressions. It can take months of immersion and rigorous study to develop fluency in this localism, but who has the time? Not you, dear reader, who has barely made it 100 words into this article without skimming for a dick joke. For your convenience, nay, survival, here is the Backdoor’s guide to LC Lingo.
Troom (n.): A portmanteau of the Trail Room.
T*mpleton (n.): The deadname of Fowler Student Center, who donned a fresh coat of paint and came out as emo as the end of last semester.
Situationship (n.): An entanglement between two (or more!) people who are sexually attracted to each other but are still getting over their exes.
Boning (v.): When two LC students love each other very much, they go to the dining hall and PDA like there is no tomorrow. Keep it up you guys. Everyone loves this and thinks it is cool and normal.
Slay (n.): I cannot do this one. Please just, like, ask a friend. You ask so much of me, and it simply cannot go on like this.
If you hear a Lewis & Clark student say the common phrase “I have been super stressed out lately”, what they mean is “I have been doing ketamine on weeknights and allowing my untreated dyslexia to destroy my relationships.”
This, however, is not a commutative statement; “I do a lot of ketamine” translates roughly to “I thought I took ketamine once, ignored the friend who said it was probably a crushed-up baby aspirin, and fell into a placebo K-hole.”
“I feel super unsafe in this space right now” means “I am a little cold.”
“I did Model UN in high school, but now I am a STEM major” is a less common phrase, but important to know, as it means “I am the fucking worst, but at least I am self-aware.”
“I am going through a really hard time right now” means “I use my mental illness to justify treating people badly.”
“I love your outfit!”: This means nothing. Equivalent to “hi’ or even “like” or “umm.”
“I love your outfit!”: This is a lesbian come-on. Though many have tried, it is impossible to tell the two meanings apart.
Here are some common responses for the above:
“I thrifted this top” means “I paid the equivalent full price for it in downtown Boulder but it also doesn’t fit me right.”
“Oh yeah this is vintage!” which means “I dug it out of the bins, half-heartedly hand washed it and now I feel like a celebrity when I wear it around campus. It was made in 2017.”
“You were slaying that class debate” means “I loved when you said something you saw on TikTok out loud like it was original after nobody else raised their hand to answer a professor’s question.”
“As someone with an invisible marginalized identity…” is more common in a discussion or debate setting. This means “I am gay and/or trans, and this makes me not white for the sake of this argument.”
Outside of the classroom, here is some language related to academics to know:
“I am going to kill myself (ideation)” means “ I have minimal responsibilities typical of a student/young adult.”
“I am going to kill myself (intent)” is slightly different, and means “I have homework due in the morning for a class I forgot I was in.”
“I have recently gotten really into crocheting” actually means “I am going to kill myself.”
“I play jazz bass” translates to “I am a virgin and I cannot drive.”
“I play jazz drums” is notably different, meaning “I am not a virgin and I can drive but the issues run so much deeper.”
One of the best ways to learn a language is through conversation. Try out some of these introductions to strike up a conversation of your own.
“I am from the Bay Area.” You should follow this up by arguing about what cities count as The Bay. People love this. Yes, Marin counts. No, Modesto does not.
“I am from SoCal.” This is a good start, but people really want you to list the names of cities near LA as though everyone has heard of them. Ojai is pronounced how? You made that up. The Griffith Observatory? That is from Bojack Horseman, silly!
If those sound intimidating, consider giving some of these short, beginner-friendly phrases a shot!
“I am a comedy writer.” Say this one to a man. Know that he will take it as a challenge, so be ready for him to tell you why Sarah Silverman is not funny.
“I am a poetry minor.” Say this one to a woman— I promise it is a good idea and you will not have to read draft after draft of mixed metaphors about a sapphic summer, bitter sweet turned sour at the tip of her tongue or whatever.
“I am in a band.” Use this one with caution; it is a strong aphrodisiac, bordering on mind-control.
Though it may seem impossible, most students are able to attain at least an intermediate level of proficiency with these words and phrases by fall break. If all else fails, here are some rules of thumb to follow: Always snap to show approval, avoid eye contact at all costs and get really comfortable saying “c*nt”. Good luck, and welcome back!