Upon pecking through their shells and scanning the campus around them, twelve newly hatched freshmen imprinted on the first Cornellian they saw, junior Ellen Hayes, convincing themselves that she was their mother.
“I’m too young for this responsibility,” Hayes said. “When they followed me into lecture, they all just stood there, staring at me, expecting me to preen them and feed them algae. I guess they just haven’t developed thoughts of their own yet.”
The twelve students, then in a critical period of their behavioral development, were still working on staying upright while walking and not running into each other, but they maintained a straight, single file line waddling behind Hayes wherever she went.
“One time, I turned around there were only five little freshlings behind me,” said Hayes. “At first I was relieved, but then I started to worry. They could have been trampled or roasted a l’orange!”
Concerned that they might not be able to return to the wild and socialize with their own kind, Hayes confirmed that she would keep her nestlings swaddled in a blanket-padded cardboard box in her room.