February 17, 2023
We’ve all heard it before: “Bowdoin was so much better before Covid-19.” Our fellow upperclassmen seem to constantly mourn the pre-Covid days when days were brighter, people were kinder and they all had more fun. If you’re planning on graduating after May 2023, you’re likely no stranger to being reminded by those around you that you’re experiencing some generic-brand Bowdoin experience; while no one can point to exactly what’s changed, they can’t help but feel like something’s off. Frankly, we’re tired of it, and we’ve found the solution. We need to be having more fun.
While some may think a 2 a.m. rager in Baxter’s sweaty basement is the epitome of a good time, others may find a quiet night in and hanging out with friends more appealing. Regardless of your preference, taking time to do the things you enjoy is as integral to your happiness as getting your reading done before class. Either way, try to break free from your comfort zone, leave “Mr. Brightside” behind and find more traditions and experiences to immerse yourself in.
Fun can start with the simple act of leaving your door open and saying yes to whoever and whatever opportunities walk by. It’s easy to confine ourselves in routines, iCal schedules and to-do lists, but just as we expect ourselves to push beyond our comfort zones in class, we should hold ourselves to the same expectations beyond the classroom.
We all attend a small liberal arts college in a quiet town in Maine, where most of our lives are centered on campus. We eat, sleep and breathe Bowdoin, whether we like it or not. We might as well have fun with it.
Fun doesn’t have to be drinking, going to parties or any other “Animal House” expectation of the college experience. Fun means doing whatever it is that makes you forget about your assignments due later in the week, or stop worrying about what job you’re going to have this summer, and enjoy yourself and those around you. Show up to comedy shows, dances, student performances, your floormate’s birthday party. Buy in.
We want to acknowledge that an immense amount of privilege follows the phrase “just let loose and have fun.” Reckless fun is neither the answer nor an option for everyone. When disciplinary action can have the potential to jeopardize a student’s financial aid package, certain expectations that come with letting loose are not the same for everyone. Having fun should never put those around you in a position of vulnerability. In fact, it should do the opposite. It should be how we forge community and connect across differences and through shared experiences.
But breaking the rules doesn’t always end in consequence. Skip a class and go to the beach, forgo a reading for a concert, streak the quad.
Part of the Offer of the College is “to lose yourselves in generous enthusiasms.” This is perhaps purposefully vague; it’s up to each and every one of us to decide exactly what kind of fun we’ll indulge in here at Bowdoin. Regardless, Bowdoin offers something unique—the ability to chase whimsy, not take oneself too seriously and laugh a little more—and we all deserve to take advantage of it. Make it “the best four years of your life.”
This editorial represents the majority opinion of the Editorial Board, which is composed of Miles Berry, Catalina Escobedo, Jaida Hodge-Adams, Lily Randall, Juliana Vandermark, Halina Bennet and Seamus Frey.
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