In today’s world, natural disasters are inherently political. They drastically disrupt and change the lives of countless Americans, and it is often the government’s job to provide support and aid in response. This responsibility falls squarely into my choice definition of politics: “Who gets what, where and why.” Because the need for government action is often so sudden, and so concentrated, there is relatively little room for partisan squabbling in the wake of a catastrophic event.
My experiences with social anxiety disorder have often resulted in a fair number of awkward moments. Social anxiety, for me, arises in almost every social context, although there are some exceptions. Nevertheless, in an attempt to grasp onto the unreachable heights of social acceptability, during conversation I often begin to overcompensate.
The common good is deeply moral in theory but deeply elusive in practice. Just in the past year, at least four articles have been written critiquing our execution of Bowdoin’s founding value. I add my voice with the hope that criticism does not enable apathy, but rather sparks action.
If the true test of character is what one does when no one is watching, then the past few months of summer break have presented Bowdoin with plenty of opportunities to prove its mettle. From the fall of the last mortarboard at graduation to the first day of classes this fall, seemingly every headline presented a fresh opportunity for shock, awe and uncertainty.
Because I inherited my mother’s aversion to makeup, I was an easy target for Glossier’s stunningly effective marketing scheme. Rather than use Kendall Jenner’s heavily contoured and enviously symmetrical face for ads, the brand instead tends to recruit “everyday” women to model its minimalist line of makeup on its Instagram account.
This summer I went off-the-grid. It wasn’t in an exotic, adventurous way; I didn’t backpack across the Himalayas or return to Bowdoin with a foreign lover in tow Eat Pray Love style. I lived in New York City and had constant access to all of life’s essentials (and those not as much so, like a Starbucks on every corner), I merely deleted all social media accounts and lived my life as if no one was watching.
At the very end of the summer, just a few days before the rest of the student body returned to campus, the other College House officers and I spent several hours with the Peer Health and Residential Life student team discussing a book we had all read over the summer, Matthew Desmond’s Evicted.
I leapt into life at Bowdoin with force and vigor. I joined an a cappella group, auditioned for a musical, became a tour guide, went to parties and religiously attended office hours. My story is not unusual—nor is my experience with sexual assault at Bowdoin.
In the May 5, 2017 issue of The Bowdoin Orient, Bowdoin Counseling Service published an ad featuring the headline “Everything is Awful and I’m Not Okay: Questions to ask before giving up.” The list, which was discovered to be ripped off from a Tumblr post, poses a list of 16 pithy questions that, apparently, one should consider before following through with whatever “giving up” is a euphemism for (self harm?
I am incredibly grateful for Bowdoin Counseling Service. Without their initial consultation, I never would have been referred to my current off-campus therapist. I would still be stuck in the same negative thought patterns that were not my own, that inhibited me from living the full life that I wanted to live, that placed blame for everything not perfect in my life on me alone and that comprised my disease.