It's mid-term break here, which means I have the day off today. Carleton doesn't believe in holidays, so this is the one day off we get all term. It sounds abusive, but given four years of "Columbus Day? What's that?", and we start getting downright teary-eyed over one freebie. Actually, at first I thought that maybe we wouldn't celebrate the holidays of the oppressors -- like Columbus Day or President's Day -- but surely a liberal commie school like Carleton would throw us a bone on MLK day? Alas, no such luck. We're hardcore here.
From a blogging perspective, however, the drawback of it being mid-term break is that I still feel like it's a weekend. I haven't really wrapped my head around the fact that it's Monday, and I should be blogging.
Anyway, this NYT column by Verlyn Klinkenborg (only in Minnesota....) about Gustavus Adolphus College (go Gusties!) rang a bit close to home. Gustavus is Carleton's athletic conference, and one of the many schools in these parts that are very Scandanavian (Q: How does Gustavus differ from St. Olaf's college (in Northfield)? A: "They're Norwegian. We’re Swedish."). Klinkenborg explores the kind of polite hesitation one inevitably comes across in Minnesotan classrooms -- a desire not to stand out, not to be flashy, and for the love of God not to be a gunner. It's probably not as bad at Carleton as it is elsewhere, as we draw proportionally fewer students from the ten thousand lake state as do our peers, but I can definitely still sense it here (I think that even us outsiders acclimate to Minnesotan norms pretty quickly). In any event, if you want a window into the strange and mysterious land I currently inhabit, it's a fun article to check out.