Nestled on the coast of Maine and located conveniently close to Acadia National Park, Bar Harbor, Maine is one of the ultimate tourist destinations in the state. Bar Harbor is not just a tourist attraction, though. It is a home to its residents who don’t come and go with the seasons. This home is drastically different than the picture on a postcard or the ideal of summer vacationers, particularly to its residents.

“It’s like day and night. The Bar Harbor that most people think of is the Bar Harbor from May through October, at best. All the stores are open, and tons of restaurants. Streets are really crowded. In the winter it’s just really dark and pretty much everything is closed,” said Olivia Erickson 18, who grew up in Bar Harbor, Maine. “The restaurants do this thing where they rotate who’s open. There’ll be one or two restaurants open at a time. That’s just so that they all can get business through the winter. For the most part it’s really, really quiet in the winter.”

Growing up in a place so shaped by the people who happened to visit it, Olivia became keenly aware of the attitudes of the tourists.

“I think that all [tourists] think that we speak with the Downeast accent. That we say Bah Habah which is not true. So I guess they have more of a stereotypical ‘Downeast Mainer’ view of what it’s like but Bar Harbor has more to offer than that,” Olivia said.

“You start really resenting tourists because they start to assume that your entire existence is geared towards them having this great experience. And that is a lot of people’s jobs.”

The way that temporary visitors can shape a place like Bar Harbor and deeply affect its citizens is similar to the way Bowdoin influences Brunswick. Though we are only visitors, we change the dynamic of the town and while sometimes for the better, that isn’t always the case.

We may be the people involved in positively shaping the community through the McKeen Center but we’re also the people who Randy Nichols has to remind to be considerate of our neighbors as we traipse across Brunswick late at night. The important thing for us along with any people making a temporary place for themselves is to use that time to have a positive influence.

“Bowdoin has so many people from so many different places that it’s almost like it’s out of place. You know, we talk about connection to place so that’s a very contradictory thing to say. But the backgrounds they bring to the College are very different than the backgrounds in Maine because people are from so many places,” Olivia said.

The assumptions we make about any place are never representative of the people who make it up.

“Most people think of very rural back country people as Mainers, but there’s also a lot of other things in Maine," said Olivia. You have Portland, a lot of people live there. Someone from Portland is very different than someone from Caribou. Living on the coast versus living inland is very different. It’s such a broad array of experiences.”

The beauty of Bowdoin and its place in the Brunswick community is that it allows for the melding of these vastly different experiences and worldviews. This place allows for the students and the community to learn from and grow with each other.

“I think Bowdoin is a really special place. I think going here is making me even prouder to be from Maine because a place this great is in Maine.”