Small-Town Living

In Archives, Uncategorized on January 21, 2011 at 12:00 pm

I’m about to leave on the ski trip. I never go on trips like this, but in this case it almost feels mandatory: so many students are so enthusiastic about it that the path of least resistance is to join along. I’ve had this experience before at Fletcher, most memorably with the Culture Nights, and it’s something I really appreciate about the school: we really take our institutions seriously.

There’s also a hint of small-town claustrophobia in the Fletcher experience—in the earnest expectancy with which students ask, “Were you at Asia Night?” and their uncomprehending dismay when you answer no. (Replace “Asia Night” with “church” or “the barn raising” or, more chillingly, “the Lottery.”) It’s also in the public nature of romantic relationships here, and the impossibility of staying out of your exes’ sight.

For those of us from urban settings, these experiences could be a gentle introduction to life at close quarters—certainly the life of most humans in history, and a life we may find ourselves reentering if we are interested in, say, rural development. But more than a learning experience, it’s a privilege to be at a place with such commitment to its institutions. That is undoubtedly part of Fletcher’s charm.


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