What the tour guides won’t say about Vassar

Nicholas Tillinghast/The Miscellany News.

Tour season is in full swing right now, which means hordes of high schoolers are flocking to campus to try to understand whether Vassar is hot or not. I never actually toured Vassar when I applied, so my understanding of how Vassar tours work is limited. But I’ve picked up quite a bit about this school from eavesdropping, and it’s not great. 

Last week, I overheard one tour guide call the Retreat an “eight or a nine out of ten” dining spot on campus, which is patently false. The tour guide could have easily followed up “It’s an eight or nine out of ten” with, “They just started serving hot food for the first time in eight months.” Calling the Retreat a nine feels like the most disingenuous statement anyone has ever said about anything on this campus. Selling Vassar is one thing; straight-up lying about it is another.

Also, is this on a scale of like any restaurant ever or just college dining anywhere? The Retreat is lacking in both cases, but far more with the former. The Retreat will never be Popeyes. I will say that the Retreat has good food on some occasions, but that frequency is such that I reminisce about the Philly cheesesteak I had four weeks ago far more often than I should. 

I probably wouldn’t have been so upset if the tour guide didn’t follow up their Retreat critique by saying that the Deece is a five. IN WHAT WORLD IS THE DISCREPANCY THAT BIG? [Joe Biden whisper-yelling] They serve the same food! And the Deece is better! 

I didn’t intend for this to be a piece where I knock Vassar Dining; it just comes out sometimes. There are some parts of this campus that I unequivocally appreciate, and they’re things tour guides will never bring up. For instance, I really like the water at the Deece. It’s incredibly crisp and very quenching. It’s legitimately an eight or nine out of ten. It will be a core Vassar memory.

I also really like the new handicap buttons on the Bridge Building. I go through the Bridge Building a lot, and I now activate them every time I go in and out without fail. It’s really great because the Bridge Building had the worst doors on campus, being somehow both very narrow and very heavy. But now, they have maybe the best on campus. I recognize that this door change is cool from an accessibility standpoint, but it’s also just cool from a me standpoint, as someone who’s pretty good with doors but would prefer not to have to use them.

 I wish all the doors on campus got spiced up. Let’s put automatic sliding doors on the Deece. Put a revolving door on the front of Main and large terracotta horses around Main Circle, like a P.F. Chang’s.

If you’re a prospective student stalking Vassar’s student newspaper right now, you might think that I, someone who is not paid to try to get people to go here, could give you a better sense of whether or not Vassar is the place to be. You’d be wrong. There’s no way that I could give an actual assessment of Vassar as a college amongst other colleges. This is the only college I know. Vassar could be the worst college in America and no one’s ever told me. Or maybe the best and no one’s told me? Who’s to say? Some websites that rank every college in America might want a word with me over those claims, but I want a word with them. Really? You went to every college in America? No, you didn’t. I can make unsubstantiated claims about colleges too.

Grand Canyon University? Terrible location. Purdue? More like Purdon’t go. Harvard? It’s for clowns. Seriously, their Clown Studies program is one of the best in the country. What are you gonna do, refute that by describing your in-depth experience with Harvard’s Clown Studies Department? Oh, sure, you had an awful four years. Well, the people I talked to said it was excellent and a stepping stone for their career!

I hope if we’ve learned anything here, it’s that tour guides are far from objective and that I’m no better. Except when it comes to water. Deece water is truly the best in Poughkeepsie.

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