The Tease That Is Spring Break
Posted on March 20, 2014
It was a pretty nice break Norton, where we enjoyed some slightly warmer, sunnier weather, which, in relation to the last few months, felt like July. And then another snowfall, just to keep us on our toes. But it’s different, isn’t it? While early spring in New England brings weather just as lousy as late December, our optimism cannot be squelched. We have seen the future and it is full of shorts, flip-flops, blankets on the Dimple. Honestly, that’s one of my favorite cultural artifacts of student life: the refusal by many of you to resort to winter clothing after Spring Break, despite falling sleet and temperatures in the 30s.
It was a quiet week here in Lake Wobegon, with just a few students meandering about on their way to the library or the Haas Center. There was ample parking and plenty of seats at the Café. My colleague Brian Douglas described it aptly: “Spring Break is like Employee Appreciation Day at an amusement park: no lines.” Most of us who earn our keep at Wheaton hunkered down on long-delayed projects, emptied our email inboxes, enjoyed more leisurely lunches, and awaited your return and the steep downhill run that is the second half of spring semester.
How quickly will it go? Here’s something to ponder. When you returned to class on Monday, you had 46 days till the last day of classes. Seniors? Sixty days till you cross that stage to get your long-awaited diploma. Doesn’t seem that long ago that you were sitting in Haas, wilting from both the heat and exhaustion of moving in, listening to me yammer on, does it? August 28, 2010. Come on—I know you remember it: “Blah blah blah community. Blah blah responsibility. Blah blah blah come see me if you are thinking of transferring” (which some of you did, and I’m happy to see you still here).
Our athletes, I should say, hardly sat around enjoying leisure time. Both lacrosse teams played or practiced every day, taking advantage of a turf field that can actually be plowed, and our softball, baseball and tennis teams decamped to Florida (good move) to get a lot of playing time in before their regular seasons begin. Our Synchronized Swimming team has been in the pool practically non-stop for months and is currently in Ohio at the National Collegiate Synchro meet, which I hope is held indoors because spring has definitely not come to Ohio. And of course, five members of our women’s Indoor Track and Field team headed to Nebraska for the NCAA Championships, and brought back a fourth place finish—in the whole country! That included a national championship in the 400 by Shante Little and a third in the 400 and incredible performance in the 4x400 relay by Meredith Scannell. I couldn’t be more proud of our student-athletes, who balance academics and competition so well, and their coaches, who know what matters most and keep things in perspective.
You know who else works hard? Those TRYBE folks. The TRYBE Gala once again proved to be my favorite event of the winter. I’m not sure what I like more—the dance talent that is so evident onstage, or the incredibly fun and supportive audience that seems to truly appreciate the work that goes into a performance like that. If you weren’t there to see Caroline Peters’ mom do an impersonation of her daughter, well, sorry. It was a great Wheaton moment. But whatever night you were there, I’m sure you agree that it was an absolute showcase of Wheaton dance and music talent.
Other things going on: Unless you’ve been living under the rock that Cowduck suns him/herself on, you know that we have a president-elect, Dennis Hanno. His introduction to the community in Cole Chapel was Wheaton at its best: a warm, celebratory and welcoming place. I am looking forward to working with a new boss who seems so excited about Wheaton, and who, based on his reputation, will clearly want to get to know students right away (and is a Tweeting machine!). I hope you’ll be patient with him as he learns his way around campus next semester. And should you see President Crutcher over the next couple of months, I hope you’ll take a few minutes to thank him for his ten years of hard work on your behalf. It’s hard to fully appreciate the crazy life of a college president from the outside, but trust me—living out of a carry-on bag and running through airports in order to share the Wheaton story with alums and donors around the world is not an easy life. And while I’m looking forward to President-elect Hanno’s arrival, I will miss working for President Crutcher, who is as kind, patient and committed to higher education as someone can be.
That about wraps it up for me. I hope you had a good break and are well-rested and ready for the next 40 days. At least they include Spring Weekend (Another headline act I’ve never heard of! Thanks, Bailey and PC, for continuing to make me feel old and out of touch, which I realize I am). See you around the Dimple.