We had a nice weekend visiting our son during Swarthmore’s Parent’s Weekend.
We stayed for the first time in an accommodation we got off of AirBnB, which was cheaper, more comfortable, and more interesting than a regular hotel. We booked a gentleman’s extra bedroom, in a nice house, and it was it was lovely to both trust and feel trusted by a stranger. It was also nice to pay someone directly, instead of layers of corporate middle men; the arrangement was a beautiful expression of a favorite Mary Baker Eddy quote of mine, “What blesses one, blesses all.” We will do this again, and venture to suggest you might want to try it as well.
Our son was busy, but made time for us each day we were there. We got a peek into his life, meeting some of his friends, seeing him at his campus work-study job, as well as taking him off campus for some meals to hear about his studies. We are grateful he is taking his classes seriously and is doing exceptionally well in his subjects. He is continues to plan on double majoring in Engineering and Political Science.
The highlight of the weekend for us was getting to witness an activity called the Pterodactyl Hunt. It is a live-action role play that is a campus tradition, and our son, as president of the Science Fiction club, was in charge of it this year. He stayed up to all hours during midterms writing 140 parts on a Game of Thrones theme. Then, over 350 kids participated in capes and with (noodle) swords, in beautiful weather Saturday evening, to wonderful movie soundtrack music.
It was grand fun, and the good guys won, although I think our son had slightly rigged it to go that way. It was too dark for photographs, but I will long remember the joy of watching so many aspects of our son combine effectively in one single event: creativity, coordination of disparate parts, leadership, strategy, innovation, mastermind of the big picture, and that easy sense of authority, which comes from having done due diligence in order for something to be a success.
We also spent the weekend chatting with other parents, collectively expressing gratitude that our kids are having the incredible opportunity to be at this awesome school. We heard of transfer students from Harvard that said Swarthmore is by far the much harder school. We learned that odd combinations of majors are normal here, since these kids are interested in such a broad range of things. We were introduced to the term “intellectual candy.” These smart kids were all hand picked it seems, each and every one of them remarkable and normal in their own way.
The grounds are stunning, but it is the warmth, intelligence, and even the social conscious humility of the people that I found most striking at this “change the world” school. We are so glad our son is there!
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