Columns / Discourse / April 1, 2009

Knox: Enemy of the State (Schools)

I don’t know about any of you, but spring break was exactly what I needed.

Take no offense at that; it was merely a stressful winter, and a nine-day respite from statistics and mud puddles was nothing short of therapeutic. I feel less guilty enjoying spring break than our humongous winter sabbatical because all your shining faces reappear so soon. In the short and sweet interim, I was able to see some friends from home, and I must say that their state-school perspectives of what spring break entails were fascinating to me. Throughout the week, I heard snippets of conversation much like this:

“I was going to get coffee with Kelsey at some point, but she’s spending SB at Marco.”

Further prying on my part led me to discover that “Marco” is Marco Island, Fla.; also, “SB” is an abbreviation of “Spring Break,” and apparently, Kelsey was only going on vacay to hook up with the beach bros. Another eye-opening example:

“A bunch of the IU Sigma Pi guys were SBing in Vegas but D got caught with a fake and had to fly home early.”

So, from this we learn that “SB” can also be used as a gerund. In addition, spring break has the power to transform plane fares into an acceptably fluid concept. Oh, and D is short for Darryl, but he doesn’t want anyone to know.

Rarely did I let my own voice be heard in these exchanges. The fact is, non-Knoxonians could never quite understand the nuances of a week spent away from Galesburg, as opposed to a week away from Urbana, Champaign, or anywhere else. For we Knox students are not content to pass the week picking up a tan; for us, it is something to be earned. We exit winter term with exceptional finals under our belt and feel that we honestly deserve a chance to emulate our less-diligent collegiate counterparts with a few days in the sun. Or, in the case of Students Without Borders, a tan is only the accidental result of spending a week in the Arizona desert trying to ease the lives of migrants on their journey into a country of wealth and higher education. Laredo, Texas also shone upon several of our number, as they built houses for the underprivileged in what was most likely an uncomfortable heat, as opposed to a relaxing or indulgent one. Finally, some of us approached our vacations with less Vitamin D; even so, Magic the Gathering tournaments, road trips to Shiloh, or simply catching up on some unread Faulkner are all spring break pastimes that set Knox apart. It’s a telling state of affairs, though perhaps not nearly as telling as the fact that so many among our number anticipated their return to school more than anything else.

As for me, the remainder of the holiday was spent visiting family in the suburbs, cooking non-Kraft food, and deciding whether to bring back the Playstation 2 or the Gamecube to play in the dorm. It was a block of time spent modestly, but with all the appreciative gusto at my disposal. This zeal is something that can only be learned, and for sake of saving you all from the sucrose, just rest assured that you know where the knowledge came from.

Seriously, though, guys. Playstation 2 or Gamecube? I have till Easter weekend to decide.

Marnie Shure

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