When I was still considering applying to Swarthmore, someone– I don’t remember who, exactly– told me that one possible downside of Swat is that “Swatties are always ‘on,’ and it can be exhausting.” Whoever that person was, he or she was had a point. During first collection, President Chopp said that she had heard Swarthmore described as “a constant conversation,” and while it’s an incredibly interesting, stimulating conversation at times, sometimes it’s tiring to always be thinking of something intelligent to say.
But the vast majority of students here are the kind of people that are also happy to live in their heads, and can entertain themselves with their own ideas and internal debating. I love that about this place… most people here really take the time to carefully think about and refine their views on all kinds of issues. Unlike in high school and middle school when people mostly parroted the positions of their parents, or rebelled against them just to be “cool,” Swatties know what they’re talking about and they earnestly believe in it.I find that this generally contributes to an overall attitude of respect for each others’ opinions, even when we disagree with them.
I love just thinking, and I’m glad that it’s such a big part of life here. But I’ll admit that at times like this when midterms are looming and everyone is looking for internships and summer jobs, I could stand to think a little less. Careful strategizing and decision making are taking up way more of my mental space than I would like right now, and I’m wondering when I’ll get the time to catch up on reading, fill out applications (unfortunately, it seems applying for things never ends) and study Astronomy til I thoroughly understand it.
I’m halfway through the semester, and it’s hard to believe how quickly the time is passing. At times this week, I thought, maybe I need to spend just a bit less time thinking about what I’m going to do, and a little more just enjoying what I am doing. So tonight, I took a break from working and went with two friends to watch “The Princess and the Frog,” (which was adorable) and just sat back and enjoyed it. It can be hard to keep thinking for fun from turning to stressing, but seeking the balance between relaxation and contemplation is one of the best parts of college.