When recalling your beloved childhood books, you could probably think of hundreds. From Judy Blume to E.B. White to Maurice Sendak, all the authors of the books that your parents and teachers put in front of you were remarkable. Despite being adults, these authors were pretty great at identifying with children. We read books by many brilliant writers, but I’m sure we had one favorite: Dr. Seuss.
“Quick, name one Dr. Seuss book!”
“GREEN EGGS AND HAM!”
Years after reading (and rereading) Dr. Seuss’s picture books, we still remember every detail. The first book of his that comes to mind is obvious — Green Eggs and Ham. Without even realizing it, the book’s cover has also popped into our heads. While giving the book a quick read as college students, it does not seem like too long ago that we first read it and dragged our copy around the house for a month.
From the young reader’s perspective, those green eggs and ham looked delicious. We wanted to try them more than anything else, but it was strange that the main character didn’t want to look at the green food even with Sam-I-Am relentlessly urging him to taste it.
We have strangely become more and more similar to this character as we became college students than when we were young children in kindergarten. He undergoes a transformation that can’t be analyzed by a five-year-old, but we can clearly see it now.
The main unnamed character seems to be in a new environment with Sam-I-Am. This is like the typical transition from high school to college. The surroundings are foreign, and you’re stuck with thousands of new people. Of course you quickly get to know many of them, but there is always that one person who stands out for some reason.
In this case, Sam is pressuring him to try this new food, but it is nothing bad. At college, people push you to do new things, just like Sam-I-Am pushed our recalcitrant protagonist to try the green eggs ham. Everything was unfamiliar when you first arrived on campus, so even a little bit of normality was comforting.
Attempting to keep a familiar routine is one way to get this normality, and this is what the protagonist in Green Eggs and Ham attempts to do. He refuses to try this new thing that is sitting right in front of him, but Sam-I-Am insists. We have people all around us at Hopkins that encourage us to try new things. It could be a close friend, a classmate or someone pushing their club or cause in the Breezeway.
At first many people refuse. They have comfortable, static routines so why would they want to change? Over and over again, we refuse, but eventually we give in. Everyone needs a colorful new experience from time totime, so the protagonist stops resisting.
“I like green eggs and ham! I do! I like them, Sam-I-am!”
Trying new things is an important component of the quintessential college experience because we were uprooted from a place and lifestyle that we have always known.
Taking a lesson from Seuss’s iconic children’s book, we endlessly try new things at Hopkins. In the beginning we were wary of the things that we saw, felt and experienced, but even as early as halfway into the first semester, Hopkins can feel like home.
It is okay to stay in our comfort zones like the protagonist at the beginning of Green Eggs and Ham. Branching out comes with time and, in the crisp October air, we may feel comfortable enough to do so. It is also okay to be like Sam-I-Am because others do sometimes need encouragement. It is surprising how much we can still identify with a children’s picture book, 13 years after first leafing through it.