I was walking around Boston, having a joyous time. It was nice to be in a new city where I could forget my problems for a day. I wouldn’t say I was in epic emotional turmoil, but a month earlier I was officially diagnosed with dilated cardiomyopathy, put on some pretty hefty medication, told that my Nordic ski career was toast and that I would potentially never be able to exercise again.
I am quite fond of my life in Brunswick, but the weeks between fall break and Thanksgiving break are enough to drive anybody bananas and, coupled with the overloaded semester I had created for myself, I was ready to leave—or so I thought.
There are three fish that live in a tank in the waiting room of the Counseling Center on College Street and every week I get to spend a few minutes just staring at them. One is fat and large, it swims slowly and only turns just as it reaches the glass wall.
Relationships between the administration and student body are an integral part of a high functioning college or university. Humanizing our institutional superiors provides us a sense of companionship and support rather than discomfort and condescension as we persist in our academic, extracurricular and social endeavors.
Recently, many of my friends and peers have posted the hashtag “MeToo” on their Facebook pages. This hashtag makes a pretty compelling statement: sexual harassment and assault are still a long, long way from being preventable on Bowdoin’s campus or any place in general.
In May of 1945, Joseph H. Johnson Jr. ’44 found himself shimmying down a rope into Adolf Hitler’s library. Once ornate with handmade bookshelves of wood and glass, the library had been moved from the second floor to underground, thereby protected by the body of the mountain when British troops bombed Hitler’s Berghof home five days before his death.
When Arthur McArthur Jr. graduated from Bowdoin in 1850, there was no Office of Career Planning to point him to jobs at Deloitte and L.L. Bean. His first decade after college was a whirlwind comedy of errors: he sailed off to the Gold Rush in California but almost starved in Panama, he joined a filibustering expedition to conquer Central America but washed up on a coral reef in the Caribbean, and he served as a major in the Civil War but was shot dead by a sniper in an orchard outside of Richmond, VA.
It probably doesn’t come as a surprise that the photos captioned #bowdoinabroad on Instagram don’t tell the full story. Instagram never does; there’s no way that a filtered square can capture an entire semester. And yet I spent this past spring posting photo after photo, scrolling through cleverly captioned snapshots and trying to define and tell my own story without the context of everything I knew.