Around the time that Dartmouth empties its students for the holidays, a certain ambiance falls upon the College that I have grown to love. I have been on campus before terms have started, but nothing compares to the seemingly welcoming emptiness that the College has during times like this past week. I know that sounds weird, but let me explain.
Usually during Thanksgiving, a majority of Dartmouth students go home to spend time with their families. Usually, the ones who are left behind are the international students, winter athletes, and a select few people here and there. For the most part nearly all of my friends stay behind, because we can't afford to go home. Don't feel too bad for us, we do pretty good in stuffing our faces just like everyone else. Although being away from home and family is hard, I know I have a second family here at school.
With nearly no one here, all of the campus offices are closed, with the essentials of security and maintenance being here. However, they are rarely seen.
An interesting silence and stillness falls upon the campus that is not normally seen or heard. Usually the College is constantly on the go as students, workers, and professors meander about. The buildings are filled with the chatter of students, the night air is pierced by party music, and the days are a constant orchestra of sounds.
With Dartmouth turned into a ghost town, the buildings fall silent, the night air is crisp and still, and the days reduced from an orchestra to a quartet. I walked to my dorm room tonight past rows and rows of empty dorm rooms in hibernation. It is a nice change, almost something that the school needs to rest itself. Walking around, the flashes of life are usually that of my friends who now have the run of the campus.
In a day or two, students will begin to return to their rooms, and work will resume as usual, awakening the College that was once asleep. I sometimes wish it could sleep just a little longer...
photo credit: Tim Argetsinger