ASK BANNER: Vassar’s new ‘weekly’ ‘advice’ column

Dear, Banner

I’ve been feeling discontent with my time here at Vassar. Give it some time, they said. Give yourself a chance to acclimate to the new environment, they said. Well, you know what? They all lied. I have friends, I’m thriving in my classes, I’m pretty damn fuckable and, if I’m going to be completely honest here, I’m over all hot shit. And before you even say it, Banner, I am not a freshman! Gosh. Anyway, I’m thinking it might have something to do with the fact that I spent my first two and a half years on campus living in Raymond. Even as a senior I still have flashbacks to mysterious brown liquids dripping from the ceiling (which tasted oddly of microwaved Gogurt and dried fish skin), the lack of hot water, asbestos (???) and the perpetual odor of vomit, puke, marijuana and burnt pube hairs wafting through the halls…you get the point. Please, Banner, answer me this: why does Raymond suck so hard and why can’t I shake my time there?


Raypride Syndrome 


Dear, RayRay:

My heart goes out to you (really, it does). Think of Raymond as the ugly stepchild of Vassar College—it’s the dorm that gets no love, no funding and no happy residents, which probably explains why the building is permanently in shambles. Sources tell me the Sorting Hat process isn’t entirely random, so odds are you were placed there to build a strong backbone for yourself. “Come in a weak sapling, leave as strong as a fucking California Redwood.” Pretty sure that was written in the original draft of Vassar’s mission statement, before Matthew Vassar himself decided opening a college would bring in more street cred than a greenhouse ever would. If anything, living in Raymond must make senior housing look like a penthouse apartment on Fifth Avenue! Count yourself lucky, RayRay, and remember this when your first apartment post-grad lacks not only hot water but also lockable windows, plumbing, friends, a lover and hope.

My best,





I’m a rather sickly individual. A cold ends, I get the flu. The flu goes away and BAM! my ankles swell up to the size of eggplants. Every time an issue arises I go to Baldwin. And for some reason they tell me, time after time, that I am pregnant. Doesn’t matter if I walk in because I need a strep test, think I have pink eye, there’s blood in my stool or if I have pus dripping from my ears. Doesn’t matter if I can’t breathe because of the phlegm build up. The answer is always the same. “You’re pregnant.”  Banner, why does Baldwin keep telling me I’m pregnant? It’s been a total of seven times now and I have yet to birth a child!

Please help,

Married to the Pill


Dear, Married:

If Baldwin announces that you are with child, thank the high heavens because you most certainly are (probably) not pregnant. Don’t take it personally. Baldwin doesn’t really have much going for it; however, Baldwin is really trying to get the word out about their new Underground On-campus Abortion Clinic. Apparently it’s the one speciality they have but can’t claim for one legal reason or another. It’s quite possible they believe that if they cry pregnancy enough, eventually they’ll get it right. But here’s a question for you, Married: can you imagine what it would be like if you were actually pregnant each time they told you? You’d have seven little Pills running around. Sure they might be adorable, but holy hell! Gee, that would be awful, huh?

My best,




To Whom It May Concern:

Let’s cut to the chase. How come BurgerFi, Burger King, Five Guys Burgers and Fries, Outback Steakhouse, Red Lobster, Hurricane Wings, Kentucky Fried Chicken and Buffalo Wild Wings don’t offer any animal-product free menu items? Don’t my needs matter? Am I not allowed to eat?


Cow & Chicken


Dear, Double C:

Absolutely you are allowed to eat. It is a basic need of all of God’s living creatures. Might I suggest—and this is just an idea; by no means am I saying you have to follow my advice (I am, after all, one Banner in a world of banners)—you eat elsewhere? Yes? No? Maybe so? Let’s chew on this together.

My best,


Yo, Banner

I’m getting pretty darn frustrated around here. Alright, I’ll paint the scene (so mad, haha). It’s Friday or Saturday night, right? And, you know, you’ve had about three shots of Everclear (no chaser, haha), so you’re starting to feel yourself, right?  You figure, why not go to the Mug, right? So the music is going and you’re grooving with it, right? It’s hitting that sweet spot and the beat’s dropping at the perfect moments, right? And you’re just trying to get your bump and grind on, right? Now you’re hooking up with someone in the Mug, right? And I mean big wet sloppy kisses, tongue all up in that, right? But then? Nothing. It ends there, right? You never hear from them again, right? (Ugh, so mad, haha) How’s someone supposed to make a love connection?


Drunk in Love


Dear, Loveless:

College is one of those weird places where it seems like everyone around you has found their one true love. Except for you, loser! It’s easy to get swept up in your own loneliness and want to find a body to make nice with, but is the Mug really the place? It’s dark, it’s sweaty, it’s exhausting. (It’s what I imagine sex is like, but, like you, Banner isn’t getting any. Can you really call it a dry spell if you can’t remember the last time it rained?) Perhaps rethink your game plan. Maybe you keep making eye contact with some cutie under the flashing lights of the Strong fire alarms every other night? Maybe you and your lab partner are on the verge of failing (which is the perfect time to start a new relationship)? Ask them to dinner or some kind of food place. It’s also possible that you can’t make conversation, and that’s completely understandable. People are terrifying creatures! In that case…um, I don’t know, Tweet at them?

My Best,




My Beloved Banner—

I need you now more than ever. I really really really, I mean really, want to become besties with this person. They’re the only person who gets me. All of the people in my fellow group are lame and decided to study biochemistry or economics, and I can really only talk about the beauty that is literature with this person. How do I get to that higher friend level? How do I make this happen? I just think think we could be really really, I mean really, great friends. Oh, by the way, if it makes any kind of difference, though I don’t think it will, this person is my English professor.

In need of your guidance,



Dear, Crushed:

A best friend makes a tremendous difference. Usually these special friendships are formed through mutual interests: drinking, crying, insulting one another, etc. It makes perfect sense you’d want to become better friends with your professor, but I encourage you to stop before you get your feelings hurt. Sure, you could try to hit them up for coffee or lunch, hang out during their office hours, but what happens after you graduate? Odds are, your professor is best friends with another professor, who you may have at another point in your Vassar career, and there’s really no room for you. And the longer you keep lying to yourself, the more obsessive you’ll become. Plus, college is short, too short; don’t waste it. Basically, move on and get over it.

Stay crushed,




Banner of the Ask Column:

Hi. Is it too much to ask for someone to notice me? Sorry. Let me back it up. Banner, you ever feel as isolated as I do on this campus? No one seems to notice one another as they walk aimlessly around campus; they try to avoid making any kind of contact—physical, emotional, spiritual—with anyone. Everyone is so wrapped up in their own stress that they don’t notice how alone they truly are. Is it too much to ask for a smile, a laugh, some kind of acknowledgment that, yes, we are both students on this campus but, more than that, we are two souls in the midst of living, just trying to get by? Banner, what can we do as a community to rise up and close the gaps destroying us? What can I do, Banner?


A Blip in the Universe


Sup Blippy,

That’s all well and good and whatever, but what about me? No one stops to think, Hey? I wonder what Banner’s up to, maybe I should check in. Maybe they have something on their mind they need to get advice on. Maybe they’re a person, too, dammit. What about my needs!? Fuck you. I’m drunk.


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