If you don't know WTF that phrase means, then you are normal. I like to translate it as "Class F***" since that is what my friend Alex and I would tell each other. "Doooooode, you're the class F!" "No way, dude, YOU are definitely the class F!"
I had never heard the latin version before my tour of duty in college. Why am I thinking about this? Well, as I was speaking to the Yogger this morning, I realized I how different it is to visit a college campus than it is to live the life of a student. The best description I can give of Princeton is the following. Imagine every douchebag you've ever met, you've ever known, or you've ever heard of. That's your bread and butter, 90% of the student body, all assembled into one place. People who would rather "learn" than talk, work out, socialize, or actually experience life. Now, throw in the cream of the crop from all of your life's most impressive moments. The star student-athlete, the captain of the football team who also got straight A's, and the kid from Nigeria who didn't have shoes but kicked butt at everything he or she did. The ones who didn't need to pick up a book to ace the final. The stars that shine so freaking bright you can barely see around them. Sprinkle on top of that the best professors in their respective industries. Not just the ones who are super smart, but starting with that pool, hand-pick the ones who can explain complicated subjects with clarity and relative ease. Confused about this eclectic mix yet? I was. Finish it off with an administration typically consisting of snotty adults who were rejected from the college of their choice and have therefore chosen to pursue employment from one, presumably in search of invisible prestige. I know that's a lot of stereotyping I'm doing, and it is only my opinion, but I like to throw it out there as an unfiltered representation of my experience. While I can't imagine a better place for academic indulgence and inspiration, I can't think of a more restricted and insulated social experiment. Hence my mixed feelings about the entire experience. Of course that was then, this is now, and it is surely a different animal in today's jungle. But as a Hawaii kid in the 1990's, I did not fit in at all.