It's interesting, being at Stern. There's a mixture of people, and everybody here is here for different reasons. Some people are party girls; others are studious and academic. Some are here (and admit this candidly) to "catch a husband." Whatever the reason, we have a whole mix of people here.
The entertaining part is what I shall call "the looks." You see, due to a complicated set of circumstances, I attended a non-denominational, non-sectarian (in other words, non-Jewish) private school for the last two years of high school. I also opted not to go to seminary. Hence, when people ask which high school you went to, and you tell them, the eyebrows raise, the eyes widen, there is a meaningful look....and an extra look for people who didn't go to seminary...and you immediately feel demoted, or as though someone is looking down upon you.
Well, I take rare pleasure in allowing some of these people to think what they will, but I do explain to other people because I know they are confused more than they are meaning to be insulting. But it has been highly entertaining to be asked, "So how do you know Hebrew?" and the like.
Isn't it sad that even in our supposedly more 'Modern' school there are still labels, categories, sections, divisions? That there is a proper "path" to follow, and those who deviate are problematic? It's ridiculous that I should be looked at for not going to seminary, for example. The non-Jewish school I can maybe understand but the seminary/ non-seminary...what the hell? There are so many reasons I might not have gone. How do you know my parents wouldn't let me? Or maybe I don't have enough money to go?
Now, those are NOT the reasons I opted for Stern over seminary. But what if they were? Who the hell gives YOU the hoity-toity sophomore back-from-Israel student the ability to judge these people? I've already met a couple people who couldn't go for those reasons. And they shouldn't have to feel as though they must immediately explain why they couldn't go to Israel. Who cares? You're here now and that's what matters. Isn't it?
God, but it's exasperating.
So...off to receive more looks! Don't worry, though, I can handle it.