Irrational fears are often rooted in an experience, a moment in time when our innocence is lost or our perspective shifts drastically. I’m terrified of sailing. It is an irrational fear born of a family sail aboard our 17 foot day sailer as a young child. I don’t remember the specifics, but simply recall the sensation of lost control, of tipping on edge, of feeling helpless. For years after my father worked to help me overcome this fear, attempting to teach me how to sail, how to manage gusts of wind, explaining ad nauseam there is always an escape plan in an emergency as long as you are prepared for it.
Today it is raining (again), the mosquitos in the woods are unbearable, and the high temperature will not crack 60 degrees. Not the idyllic mid-June days we dream of during the depths of winter, but the last week has graced us with exceptional weather. Even in the rain, there is such beauty surrounding us. We need to get outside and enjoy that beauty. We need to prioritize our connection to nature, and in doing so, we will find ourselves trending toward happier, healthier, more balanced individuals.
This winter, our Sophomore Seminar classes explored ways to stay healthy in the midst of what can be a long, tiresome trimester. Classes discussed substance use and abuse, relationships, stress management, communicable disease, birth control, being a good person, and how to take care of ourselves to the best of our ability. As the term wound down, students shared personal wellness goals for the rest of the year. As we enter Spring Break, we should all take some advice from these incredibly wise, self-aware tenth graders. Thank you to Terry Stoecker for prompting this post and sharing the student goals below!
The end of an era? A recent piece in Proctor’s student-run publication Hornet’s Nest, posed the question. Rumors on campus swirled, snippets of gossip coalesced into definitive opinions about what decision the school would make around a program that has seen regional numbers decline, our own numbers half from a high-water of 50 student athletes in 2013 to the lean squad of 25 this past season, and growing concerns around health issues. I heard rumors the school was going to axe the program. Definitely. Irrevocably. Talk that the deck was stacked. That Administration, Admissions, and I were turning our back on the program. That it was done. Finished. Football was over. Well…not yet. Not at Proctor.
Perhaps our greatest asset as a human race lies in our ability to override a rational assessment of danger and speak up against injustice. We must never believe we are powerless, yet as we pursue what is right, we must understand the obstacles that prevent us from exercising moral obligation on both an individual and community level have plagued humanity for thousands of years. The remedy to inaction? Community.
I visited six freshman seminar classes in Shirley Hall this week, enjoying the chance to get a read on who will help us build and sustain the Proctor community over the next four years. The intent of this one term program is to help ground these incoming students, answer questions for them, and help them center down for the next four years.
Corby Leith '92 and I were talking Thursday morning in Slocumb, reviewing some of the charcoal work of this fall’s art students, some of the framed work in racks that had been in a summer show, and then he checked his schedule and realized he was supposed to be in the forge teaching. We scooted out through the ceramics studio and headed around to the backside of the Shepard Boat House to the shuttered door of the forge. I thought I would tag along to see how the class unfolded.
“Grief is the price we pay for love, and when you feel the weight of the grief we are all feeling right now, you recognize just how much love lived in the one you are grieving.” These words were shared by Proctor’s counselor, Kara Kidder, during an informal gathering for faculty and staff Tuesday morning in the wake of longtime forestry faculty member Dave Pilla’s sudden passing. Just as Proctor’s Maintenance Department approaches the tireless clean up of downed trees from Tuesday night’s microburst that ripped through campus, the path to healing for our community will take time.