It's freezing out here
As we stumble out to our classes each morning, greeted by the blasts
of freezing air, terrain more suited to ice skates than to normal footwear,
ephemeral dashes of sunlight, and the roving packs of Arctic wolves, many
of us have good reason to question our own sanity.
What on Earth are we doing living here? Why do we live in this frozen
wasteland when more hospitable climes are just a few scant hours away
by car? The only bipeds God meant to live in these condition are penguins,
certainly not us hairless apes who arose on the considerably-warmer African
savannah. So what are we doing here in Maine during the depths of winter?
Granted, just under ten percent of the student body was actually born
in this state and is "used to" this type of weather. My friends
Goat and Bosse have told me of happy childhoods hunting polar bears and
travelling to school by snowmobile. I'm sure that was a lovely experience,
but I get the feeling that it's not universally applicable to the Bowdoin
College student body.
Right now you're wondering why you're reading another rant about the
cruddy weather. Heck, it's all people here talk about anyways (understandable,
when exposure to the elements here has very lethal consequences). But
gentle reader, I ask you to read on, for there is a method to my madness.
I intend to offer a solution.
After my freshman year, I seriously questioned the logic of anyone living
in Maine. Then I experienced my first Maine summer. For anyone who has
yet to experience this place in the summer months, it is imperative that
you do so before graduating. When I look out my window on the barren,
ice-covered landscape, I find it hard to believe that this is the same
place that can be so beautiful in the summer months.
Hence, we should be here in the summer! Madness you say? Hardly. Many
other institutions offer either quarter schedules or other, year-round
academic arrangements that allow freedom to choose whether or not to be
at school during the summer.
I've heard that some polytechnical college in Hanover, New Hampshire
(maybe called Dartmound? Darfmouse? Dunno, I'll check) does this, and
to me it seems to be an excellent solution. For those of us who wish to
be here in the winter months, the opportunity would be still be available.
The saner students could thus safely retreat to the warmer sections of
our great nation during the colder months.
Our current academic calender stems from a time when most students came from an agricultural background. Hence they were needed at home during the summer months. Not to disparage the agricultural lifestyle, but the vast majority of us will never be involved in the agricultural sector (I do not include those who, like myself, have such limited career prospects that fast-food preparation is on the horizon). Hence we should liberate ourselves from its scheduling constraints and pursue a broader, year-round scheduling plan. Not only will this free us from the constraints of Maine winters (for those who wish to do so), it will also allow students a greater flexibility in determining their education. As education evolves, so should our institutions. As for myself, I just want to go where it's warm.