There are many emails that send shivers of fear down my spine: results are out, your assignment has been published to Blackboard, your most listened-to artist on Spotify of 2018 is Taylor Swift. None of the aforementioned emails, however, provided me with quite the same level of stone-cold fear as the one that landed itself into my inbox last week. The subject line contained just five words, but it said enough to destroy my night and the following day: Congratulations! You’re a Class Rep!
That quantity of exclamation marks would be enough to ruin my day already – I was exhausted just reading that exuberant, overenthusiastic subject line. But the content was far, far worse. It confirmed to me that my worst fears and most dangerous nightmares had come true: I was now a Trinity College Dublin Students’ Union class representative.
Even ignoring the exclamation mark overuse that added to my chronic overexhaustion, it was the content of the email that really fatigued me. After a rather brief and extensively traumatic foray into the students’ council in my secondary school, I had vowed to keep as far away as possible from student politics for the remainder of my life. It now appeared, however, that my best of intentions were not to be realised.
I would have given up my soul, my sanity and whatever morals I have left for just a taste of those MSG-infused nibbles.
Suddenly, in that one email, a whole new world was opened to me: Tuesday nights spent at council instead of my beloved Conradh, getting to go on the class rep training weekend to see for myself whether it really is the most ridiculous use of TCDSU resources and apparently other glories and treasures that would transform not only my life, but the life of every other student in College too.
It almost sounded too good to be true – except for one problem. I didn’t want to be class rep.
Freshers’ week passed in a haze for me, alternating between constantly refreshing mytcd.ie for my supplemental results, staking out Front Square at unsociable hours to get a prime stand location and nights out. In short, I spent most of the week crying, complaining and consuming liquids of various degrees of severity, from coffee to Bacardi.
It’s hardly a surprise, then, that my interest was piqued when I saw throngs of people roaming about Front Square, cramming salty ambrosiac hyperbolic paraboloids into their dry hungover mouths. Their bouquet floated over to me as I sat under a falling gazebo, wrapped in a blanket, coughing and refreshing the results page. It wasn’t quite a cure, but it was a promise of one. The saline zephyr permeated my nostrils, entered my brain and refused to leave. I would have given up my soul, my sanity and whatever morals I have left for just a taste of those MSG-infused nibbles.
I could only imagine the anger, betrayal and self-hatred I would be feeling right now if I had been similarly hoodwinked with a box of the sour cream and onion variety
I had to investigate.
Now, a few weeks on, we’re here, and I’m class rep: all for the sake of a box of salt and vinegar Pringles. Was it worth it? I take a small amount of reassurance from knowing that at least I received the superior flavour: I could only imagine the anger, betrayal and self-hatred I would be feeling right now if I had been similarly hoodwinked with a box of the sour cream and onion variety.
But of course it wasn’t worth it. A year of responsibility stretches before me: a long year that I can only envisage involves hundreds of emails, thousands of hoodies and the weight of every problem in the student movement on my back. And all for what? For a few, brief moments of potent salty goodness?
I took every precaution with the class rep form. My student number was wrong. My name and email were incoherent scribbles. But they found me. They found me, and they dragged me into a job that I never wanted. I just wanted the goddamn Pringles, and I got them, but I also got so much more. A year of commitment, and a probable lifetime of regret. So, in the midst of warnings about rental scams, I beseech you, dear reader: beware these other, more malicious scams too. These scams that lasso in the most unsuspecting of hungry students with promises of flavour and crunch, only to throw responsibilities and obligations upon them. Don’t make my mistakes. Don’t be complicit in your own self-destruction.
As the old adage goes: there’s no such thing as a free box of Pringles.