The funny thing about living in the ‘Bowdoin Bubble’ is that once you’re in it–– you can’t imagine life without it. Some days, everything about being a member of this school seems perfect. You have a great dessert in the dining hall, your test comes back with a better grade than you expected and you even get a surprise valentine in your SU Box. However, other days are different—extreme low points. Maybe you realize your best friend is running a rumor mill about your relationship problems, or it happens to be time to pay your dues at the library. I can’t count how many miserable afternoons I have spent married to the first floor computers with a mushy apple and warm chicken salad sandwich from bag lunch. In a twisted sort of way, it’s kind of like a drug addiction. There are flashes of pure bliss, but these fleeting moments are inevitably followed by long sessions of painful withdrawal. Nevertheless, despite the terrible feelings that are sure to tag along, a drug addict can’t imagine his life before or without the drug.
It might be a bit of an over-exaggeration to equate life at Bowdoin to a drug addiction, however I think it shows just how integrated into our school we truly become. Whether you have been here for one semester or almost four years, I think most of you would say that you couldn’t imagine life without Bowdoin. Yet, the reality of the situation is that although we will all be connected to our school as alumni, in just a few short years, or months for some of you, life away from Bowdoin is a frightening reality. As much as we might want to push it out of our minds, we can only spend four years here, and then we have to leave.
My biggest problem with this fact is that I go through my days with a very deliberate schedule. Like most of you, I’m sure, I wake up, go to class–– and often grab a bag lunch; always running from one activity to the next. Faster than a blink of the eye, my days turn into weeks, and my weeks turn into months. When I look back however, I realize that I never took the time to appreciate what those days and weeks and months truly had to offer.
The culture of Bowdoin makes a lot of us feel that we must be ‘doers’, that we have to simultaneously take on the role of athlete, artist, role model, global citizen, student, friend, advocate… the list goes on and on. As a result, we feel the need to rush through our day, making sure that we check off each box on our ‘To Do List.’ When we do this though, we forget to stop, take a deep breath and truly think about what each day has to offer. My biggest fear is that I’ll finish Bowdoin (which I’m told comes quickly for everyone) and realize that because I thought I was too busy at the time, I never took a moment to step back and appreciate the little instances that made the experience truly special and unique.
If there’s one thing I regret, it’s not hanging around just a little bit longer at Sunday brunch, playing in that mid-week outdoor hockey game or going to Sugar Loaf for the weekend. The constant perception that we must be ‘productive’ all the time is detrimental to our experience as a whole. I’m not saying to stop doing your work or to skip out on your responsibilities, but rather to cherish and really appreciate the times when you’re not doing those things–– and maybe to re-assess whether getting ahead on your reading assignment is really worth opting out of baking your friend an amazing carrot cake for her birthday or actually doing the ‘craft day’ that you’ve been talking about since Freshman fall, but never had the “time” to organize. These are the moments that you’ll look back on twenty years from now and remember, and laugh about. I wouldn’t want to look back on my short time at Bowdoin and only remember the ‘withdrawal’ symptoms of attending a prestigious college. So next time you skip out on the library for a pick up lacrosse game, or an Improvabilities show, don’t feel guilty. You deserve it, and time moves too fast for anyone to tell you otherwise.