Saturday, June 22, 2019

College life in the twentieth century

I went to college in the twentieth century.  They were pretty strict.  One sex dorms, with curfews, which were rigorously enforced.  If there were student organizations, I was unaware of them and didn't participate in them.  There was a student government, but I never knew anyone who participated in them or even voted in their elections.  They were powerless in any case and did not matter.

  There were not many officials in the administration.  Each college--arts and science, art, etc.--had a dean, and there was a dean of students.  I met only one dean in my time there, and that was when I wanted to drop Italian because I was simultaneously taking French and German and it was making me crazy to learn so many languages at the same time.  He gently remonstrated with me, suggesting that there would come a time when I would want to read Dante in the original, but reluctantly signed off on my request.

  Each dorm had a housemother.  Fraternities had them too, but I didn't belong to one.

  Here's how we spent our time.  There were classes all week, including Fridays.  During the week, we students studied, played games like ping pong, gossiped, hung out with friends, and went to the movies.  There were sports team, like football and wrestling.  Weekends we hung out with friends, dated, and drank.  No one coordinated our activities, unless we came to the attention of the police.

But our thoughts were our own.  Yes, you could believe anything you wanted to!   No one sought, in the words of Queen Ellzabeth, to have windows into our souls.

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