It is hard to go more than a few hours during reading period without hearing the phrase "I can't wait for next semester" from friends and classmates. In the whirlwind stress of final assignments and exams, we forget that just a few months ago we had looked forward to the closing semester with the same enthusiasm we now hold for the coming term. Like it or not, next semester will bring the same disillusionment once the work begins to pile up again. The prevailing ambition to change often amounts to nothing more than a resettlement into the routine.
The lengthy respite is often regarded with the same optimism as the advent of a new semester, and often proves to be similarly unproductive. The appeal of the upcoming five weeks likely varies between students; some of us may be looking forward to catching up on all the "Gossip Girl" we missed throughout the semester, while others may have plans for more productive endeavors like searching for a job. We encourage students to do a bit of both relaxing and planning, but to also pursue non-traditional projects that might prove more enriching than a month of hibernating or e-Bear trawling.
Ask yourself what is missing from Bowdoin and from life. Are you bothered by the lack of cheap, tasty food after midnight? Look into founding a restaurant next to campus, and take a leaf from the marketing book of The Gelato Fiasco. Wonder why you can't rent video games on your computer? Read up on Internet product marketing; get in touch with a certain alumnus at Netflix; and begin writing the business plan for your startup. Or if you fancy yourself a future member of the literati, start that short story and send the first chapter to friends and family: You aren't going to become the next Brock Clarke without going through a few drafts first. With the kinds of resources available at Bowdoin, now is the time to plan and seek feedback on our next big ideas for the future. Once you are Teaching for America or working on Wall Street, there will not be time to develop the restaurant, software product or short story that will someday get you featured on the Bowdoin website. Better start now.
If you are spending break on campus, use the time to take advantage of Bowdoin's resources and Maine's attractions. Visit the Common Good center and find a service opportunity; read a medieval manuscript in Special Collections; go ice fishing. Though we spend most of the year in Brunswick, the demands of our daily workload prevent many of us from going off the beaten track. Without the pressure of projects and papers, you will have time to take a swim in the Greason pool or visit the Coastal Studies Center.
Regardless of where you are, Winter Break is an opportunity that should not be missed. Avoid being one of the people whining about how break was "too long." If you find the right project or passion to pursue, you will come back to Bowdoin thinking how break was all too short.
The editorial represents the majority view of the Bowdoin Orient's editorial board, which comprises Claire Collery, Nick Daniels, Piper Grosswendt, Zoe Lescaze and Seth Walder.