Rustur is the Worst
There are a lot of things that I don’t like, that other people like: rollercoasters, walnuts, blueberries, driving above the speed limit, music festivals and the rubbery sound that tulips make when their leaves are squished together. I admit that I can be an anomaly, and should perhaps keep the horrors of bicycling and tulips (seriously, though, they are an obnoxiously flashy flower) to myself. But not this time.
This article is not for you people who are looking forward to the social cabin trip also known as Rustur. This is not for you, if you think back on it fondly and perhaps will apply to arrange it next year.
This is for us. The hidden minority who hides their true feelings, who lie or obfuscate when asked about the prospect of cabin-dwelling. We, who have happily moved on, never to ever go though that again. The social shame ends here. I will stand for it no longer! It is my duty to stand up for you, the introverts, the shy, the easily bored, and state the truth, the undeniable truth that so long has been suppressed, the thing no one says, but strives in the dark, surviving on our nagging doubts. I will speak the out loud the voice, the voice in the back of your mind you try to silence with copious amounts of alcohol. No, you are not having fun. No, you are not enjoying yourself. Why?
Because Rustur blows.
How? Let me count the ways…
1. Why do only shitty animals start with the first letter of my name?!
Rustur forces you to put up a weird caricature of yourself that everyone will immediately judge you by. When you are put in an tense and awkward situation and told to act nice because all of your future happiness depends on it, you aren’t really giving off the best of first impressions. But first impressions we go by, and we have somehow found a way to make that even worse. Name games – urgh, I shutter at the words. Whether it is in a circle, with balls and balloons or presentations and stories, it combines three horrifying things: competition, memory and social pressure. Remembering 40 names in four minutes is a pretty specialized skill, and if you’re like me, you haven’t really memorized more than one new name per quarter, and getting 40 of them in one round is a lot of pressure, man. Unlike tequila shots, which also combines three awful things, at least in the end there’s a uplifting sensation that makes you appreciate the hardship you just went through. With name games there is just stomach-wrenching regret at why you fail at being a human being. Pressure and shame are the only two motivators in this cruel game, that hinges on half the people laughing at you when you get their names wrong and the other half being offended.
But why? I rely on social pressure to shame me into not stealing rice snacks, but why do I give a shit that a bunch of nobodies know that I can’t remember the name Camilla? Alas, I do, so my pulse rises, my body tenses up and I concentrate more than I have in my entire life. When it’s my turn, my voice comes out funny, I fuck up and then I’m punished by having to do it again. It’s pure evil, inflicted upon us by our benevolent dictators, the intro guides, supposedly for our own good.
“Of all tyrannies, a tyranny exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive.” So said C.S Lewis, and he never even had to go through intro week. We trust in our tutors to get us through this with some dignity and they shatter that on the very first day. We might as well have it written on our little name-tags: “I won’t remember your name, except if it’s weird and funny or I’m trying to sleep with you, in which case, I won’t remember it tomorrow, so fuck off with your introduction. Please.”
2. Talking to you is like reading a Wikipedia page – factual and I really want to know about something completely different now.
I’ll spoil the surprise for you here and tell you that there is only one type of conversation on Rustur: the conversation in which you pose the same five questions to each other and tell the same three funny jokes. You should memorize them now, you will be repeating them ad nauseam. Everyone knows nothing about anyone, nobody will remember it, but you have to interact for a minor eternity so you ask each other the same five questions: Where are you from, what did you do in your gap year, where do you live in Copenhagen, what else were you going to study and, if you’re at IB, how far above 12 did your GPA get? By the time school rolls around, you will want to murder anyone who asks you one of these. The problem is that you don’t know anyone well enough to ask them about anything interesting and you don’t want to be one of those people who over share. The only thing worse than inane questions is the person you’ve just met telling you intimate details of their recent dental surgery. Wait, they could be telling you about their Højskole, which is decidedly worse.
3. Don’t worry, you’re only a 5000 kr. cab ride away from home
By the time you’ve gotten to the actual cabin trip, you’ve publicly humiliated yourself and forgotten the personal information of about 20 people you’ve talked to. It’s now time to lock you in a communal facility from which there is no escape. You will be dragged out in the middle of nowhere, where you now must sleep in a room full of people, shower with a bunch of people, eat with a bunch of people and play humiliating games with each other. You can’t go home and you can’t be alone. Any alone time is excruciating for you because of the social pressure to be active socially all the time. If you sit with your phone, a book, your computer or go for a walk alone, you will be met with only suspicious inquiries. Even if you crave one minute to yourself, not asking people you don’t care about to please please like you, your brain takes over and a hellbent torrent of self-criticism. You will walk self-consciously alone to the showers as you gaze longingly at all the other people who seem to be having so much fun. A few of those people might actually be having fun. Why can’t you have fun? Do you have fun disorder? Are you physiologically and psychologically unable to enjoy four hours of beer-bowling? If you could return home for just a few hours, you would find that amongst people you like and who like you back, you are perfectly able to enjoy sleepy tipsy afternoons in the sun. But you can’t, because no one can leave Rustur. No one gets out. Thus saith the almighty peer pressure.
4. I’m sorry, I didn’t quite catch that over you vomiting on me
This may be an age thing but, seriously, day drinking is about the least interesting thing one can get excited about. Only teenagers get this excited about drinking. And this is coming from a person who thinks that a new meme is pretty exciting. The problem with the excessive alcohol intake is not the purposed health issues, or even our crippling inability to approach people without it, it is that the drunk people you do talk to become incredibly boring. Throwing up, blacking out, and babbling incoherently is just not that interesting. I love drunk people. I truly do. I love to see Danes having fun and I like the candidness that comes with their lowered inhibitions. But some of those inhibitions are there for a reason and I want to be able to either leave, sleep, or at least have one interesting conversation during the night. Every drunk conversation basically goes: “Come here and tell me about your relationship with your dad, while you do a shot and we make out.” I am simply done with that stuff. Perhaps I was born 80 years old… but that, for weeks on end? Also, my idea of managing a hangover does not include getting up at 9 to stand in line for a stale buffet while I avoid eye contact with the dude who saw me try to light the wrong end of a cigarette last night.
5. The ending of Lord of the Rings will seem short next to this
You might find yourself having an abundance of thoughts going through your mind on the last days of Rustur. Thoughts like “Oh god, you could stand this for a couple of nights, but please this has been going on for too long, just let me start school already, is this some sort of evil test? Why can’t I fucking get to know people on my own time? Gaaah.”
While Master’s students don’t have to spend too many days of this nonsense and usually don’t have to pay to be taken to the cabin-trip-of-awkward-horrors, bachelor students are presumed to spend weeks on end going pub-crawling, sitting in parks, playing get-to-know-you-games and take up casual smoking just so that you have something to do in the long hours of socializing madness. It’s odd because friendships will eventually form, and the people you talk to on rustur might not be the people you talk to a year from then. The little groups you get put into certainly won’t last the month. Unlike what the school system in Denmark believes, students are able to meet new friends or even decide that they have a lot of friends and that school is mostly for learning, not drinking. Maybe you are a lot older or younger, maybe you don’t fit the stereotype of your educational choice. Maybe you just want to talk to people eventually and just start out studying. By all accounts the length of University Intro is against human rights.
Don’t misunderstand me, I’m not saying you shouldn’t go. There’s no debate, you have to go. We’re Danes, you basically have no chance if you don’t learn to conform and conform fast.
All I’m saying is that it is okay not to enjoy it. Put on a smile, have eight thousand awkward conversation or no conversations, sneak of to bed early and long for company that you like. Stay strong my friend, it will soon be over and then you can begin making lasting connections with your future friends, co-workers and lovers. Nothing you do at Rustur really counts anyways.
Disagree with this and actually think the intro trip is amazing, or will be awesome? Read the more positive article “Rustur is Truly the Best Experience Ever” to get a second opinion.