It’s 4:15 p.m. in January and I excitedly hurry out of my last class of the week, ready to kick up my feet, watch some Netflix and forget about work until Sunday night. As soon as I exit Sills Hall, the icy wind begins to freeze my body to the core. As I walk home through the thick, unplowed layer of sludge, I can’t help but complain about how terrible the weather is. It doesn’t take long before my complaints about the weather extend to other aspects of Bowdoin like the party scene, the amount of work or even—on a bad day—the food. Aimlessly, I speculate about how much better Bowdoin would be if it was in California. Then again, wouldn’t that just be Pomona?
In the dark depths of Bowdoin winter, positivity is a hard thing to come by—we have a culture of over-complaining. Between conversations about the small party scene and the bleak weather, we fall into the routine of complaining about the same things over and over again—no wonder people fall into a “sophomore slump.” The dissatisfaction doesn’t end there; people complain about every little aspect of Bowdoin life, from the artists coming for Ivies to the College’s location.
Sometimes, it seems like people complain about things just to have something relatable to talk about. While it’s easy to fall into this routine, centering conversations around complaining is unhealthy. The more our conversations are based around our shared annoyances, the more we all hold on to unnecessary negativity. Wasting our time complaining about unchangeable circumstances is inconsequential. Complaining about the weather won’t make it any warmer, and complaining about your work won’t make it get done any faster. Instead, try replacing these negative thoughts with positive ones. The next time you catch yourself with an urge to complain, try saying something you’re happy about instead. If you make this a practice, you might find yourself grateful for all the good things that happen to you instead.
In the end, many of things we complain about are just growing pains of being a student at a NESCAC, and dealing with these circumstances makes the good times even better. I mean, what would Bowdoin fall be without five long months of winter? What would Ivies be without all the other dead weekends? If Bowdoin was perfect in every way imaginable, we wouldn’t be able to appreciate all of the unique things that make going here so special.
With only a few more weeks left at Bowdoin, we should all make an effort to ditch our culture of complaining. Sooner or later, we’re all going to be in different corners of the world, and it’s only a matter of time before we find ourselves missing Bowdoin in one way, shape or form. Look on the bright side of things (even when it’s snowing in April), and don’t forget to express out loud how grateful you are for what makes you happy. Your positivity may just rub off on someone else.
Is this column just complaining about complaining? Probably.