Mountain Day Madness: Where Did My Day Go?
Published: Thursday, October 4, 2012
Updated: Thursday, October 4, 2012 21:10
Mountain Day: that glorious, long-awaited surprise when Smithies wake up to the sound of bells ringing at 7:05 a.m., 7:15 a.m. and in case you missed those, 7:30 a.m. . . . a minor annoyance that marks the beginning of an auspicious day of apple picking, hiking and house bonding. That is, if the apples are ripe, the students have had time to get certified for SGA van use and house leadership has managed to piece together a game plan for the day.
Unfortunately, the unreasonably early Mountain Day we had this year allowed for none of these conditions to be met. As a result, the housemates of this indignant Smithie were treated to a string of expletives after declaring the news that the magical day had arrived. Impossible, I thought. Why choose to hold Mountain Day before the orchards’ apples were mature, before an appreciable number of students could be trained to use the vans and before house leadership had time to get their heads screwed on straight after the whirlwind that marks the first years’ arrival?
Please understand, fellow Smithies and dear readers, that I bear no ill will toward the president as a human being. I find her to be highly intelligent and pleasant, and I fully appreciate the fact that she is largely responsible for keeping the College financially afloat during the unpredictable economic storm.
However, the complaint I most often hear from students, and one that I hold myself, is that she is not fully connected with our unique culture. I understand that we are by no means entitled to a free day off, but if that day isn’t well chosen and doesn’t respect the rhythm of student lives, what’s the point?
In fact, I used some of my “free” time this Mountain Day to write a personal letter to President Christ explaining the above reasons why the choice of date this year was exceptionally poor. In response, I received a polite but short e-mail essentially stating there are “many constraints” that influence the decision-making process and that “many students” were satisfied with their respective Mountain Days. To which I must say, of these supposed satisfied students I know very few.
The friends I have who did enjoy their days off were able to do so only because they made a conscious decision to put a good face on a bad situation. In her e-mail, the president left my many specific comments unaddressed and did not speak to my request that she pass along my letter to her successor to inform the choice of future Mountain Day dates. A girl can only dream.
Personally, I would have rather skipped Mountain Day this year than have it the second full week of school. How are we supposed to take a break from our studies when they’re not even in full swing yet? Even at Smith, where midterms are notorious for running from week four all the way through the end of the semester, exam tension hasn’t even started to build. Am I crazy, my fellow Smithies?
Am I totally unorganized as a house president in spite of my desire to take care of my Dawesiennes? Or am I just overprotective of a school tradition? Any way you slice it, I’m left wishing for a real Mountain Day. I can’t escape the fantasy of all us students rebelling and declaring our own Mountain Day, a time meant just for us, to build our community and enjoy our Smithiness. After all, making our own decisions is one of the things we do best.