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An account of some of the less discussed, less savory aspects of Bowdoin

bowdoinchick13bowdoinchick13 Registered User Posts: 4 New Member
edited May 2011 in Bowdoin College
Hey guys, check this out: Real Talk: Polar Bear style
It's an honest account of some aspects of life at Bowdoin by a current first year.
Don't let me discourage you from coming to Bowdoin though, coming here is the best decision I've ever made.

Feel free to ask questions too, although I'm too public a person to respond via pm so it'll have to be here.
Post edited by bowdoinchick13 on

Replies to: An account of some of the less discussed, less savory aspects of Bowdoin

  • bopambobopambo Registered User Posts: 1,284 Senior Member
    bowdoinchick13, I read the blog and have to thank you for your honesty. I'm the mother of a Bowdoin applicant and I've been wondering about this very thing. I graduated from high school in 1970 and aspired to be a hippie, then we called it "free love" and believe me, it sounds pretty darn similar. My son hasn't really been dating in high school, although he has lots of friends who are girls. Do you think going from no experience to the hook up culture will twist his view of relationships? It took me a long time to recover from the 70's.
  • morandimorandi Registered User Posts: 603 Member
    this is part of the culture at most, if not all, campuses these days and needs to be talked about. i'd suggest going through the Bowdoin Orient archives, especially the very frank and excellent columns on sex, to get a sense of how students think and educate themselves with regard to this dynamic. i've read them the past couple of years b/c my son is a friend of the columnist. she writes well, brings issues right to the fore, and talks about the hook-up culture vs. relationships. i was impressed -- as well as distressed;-) many articles are written from an academic or scientific point of view but are are peppered with personal, or relatable, anecdotes.

    bopambo, it's hard to know if going from no experience to the hook up culture will twist your son's view of relationships or not. it will certainly challenge his view -- but i guess it depends on what 'his view' is, how he acquired it, and how much he's willing to educate himself as it evolves. at Bowdoin, these last couple of years, it has been a much discussed issue, both informally and formally.
  • OtherEtcOtherEtc Registered User Posts: 67 Junior Member
    Well, there goes my fantasy about idyllic "Norman Rockwell" New England colleges. LOL

    Actually, I WAS surprised. Not that college students are having sex--sex is an important part of college.

    But, in these days of worry about disease, etc I was surprised that "hooking up" was the standard procedure.

    I didn't expect "dating." I guess I expected more of an atmosphere where guys and gals just "hung out" together, and if they found they liked each other, they had sex.

    Personally, from experience, I think that most women who say they can "hook up" with no emotional feelings (of some type) attached, are in denial--and I have seen women get hurt from too much "hooking up" and not enough genuine caring. I think guys are often "wired" differently and are better able to separate sex and emotion, but, in the long term, they want relationships, too. (But, the "long term" may be well after college.)

    But, I wonder (except for Christian colleges with rules about sex) is "hooking up" the most common way of getting together at other schools? For students at other schools--Is Bowdoin typical or is it usually different where you are?

    Interesting stuff. I'm learning a lot. Thanks for posting.
  • morandimorandi Registered User Posts: 603 Member
    I certainly don't mean to imply that this is the dominant activity on campus. In fact what my son values the most about this small residential college is that it is, indeed, a wonderfully comfortable experience of hanging out with friends of both sexes. Low key hanging out suits his personality -- but there are parties every weekend, and 'dating' isn't going on much there, so I'm learning not to be so naive, because he certainly isn't;-) I don't know what the OP's life is like, but my take (through my son) is that campus life and academics keep him very busy through the week and the kids party/vent/play as hard during the weekend as they work during the week. And as a junior, life seems to be settling down as his focus narrows towards his major and the sustained friendships from the last couple of years.

    Reading the student paper, however, gives a better student's take--as opposed to a parent's--about these issues and, of course, the blogs also provide a forum for discussion, insights, and venting;-)
  • toraseetorasee Registered User Posts: 571 Member
    Sadly, the "hooking up" culture is pervasive throughout the college world these days. There may be some religious-oriented schools that are the exception but "hooking up" is all too common . .
  • bowdoinchick13bowdoinchick13 Registered User Posts: 4 New Member
    bopambo: I really can't speak for your son, but I will tell you that I have friends coming from similar backgrounds who have kept their views on relationships firmly intact. Though hooking-up is the norm at Bowdoin, there are those students who still want, work at, and have relationships here.
    Additionally, I don't believe that the hook-up culture necessarily "twists" our views on relationships. Rather it gives us an alternative to them that we can choose to pursue, or stay away from.
    I feel comfortable saying that most, if not all of this activity is confined to campus, and that much of the student body is very aware of this; that is, they keep in mind that they are not in "the real world," and most do not take home their views of everything on campus, especially relationships and hooking-up.
    Thanks for the comment, I actually planned on discussing relationships, so that should be up soon.

    OtherEtc: I've been to many of my friends' schools, and I can tell you that Bowdoin is by no means atypical in this sense. Hooking-up is definitely the most common means of romantic interaction at colleges.
    Also, there is no need to separate "liking" someone and hooking up with them. Many people at Bowdoin, myself sometimes included, hook up with people they like. Yeah, we're definitely not talking love for the vast majority, but liking someone is often the key element in the decision to hook up.
    P.S. Despite, as you said, hooking up being standard procedure, sexually transmitted diseases are, for the most part, not a factor at Bowdoin. I might have been misleading in my essay concerning Swine Flu, but honestly we are not a disease ridden campus. People are, for the most part, careful about what they do (if not about how it will affect them emotionally, certainly about how it will affect them physically). There are condoms on every floor in every dorm, and they are freely distributed. Safe sex is a huge deal on campus, and most everyone that has sex here practices it.
  • morandimorandi Registered User Posts: 603 Member
    wonderful reply, bowdoinchick. thank you.
  • mercedesAMGmercedesAMG - Posts: 59 Junior Member
    as everyone is saying, very well written bowdoinchick. i agree that this thing applies to all schools, even religious ones (girls go even crazier there if they've been pent up all their life with over-authoritative parents)

    the one difference is that bowdoin is small, so it is relatively safer than the big campus hookups. though i guess it adds that degree of awkwardness when you walk by that girl from last weekend in the mail center and don't even nod or say hi.

    :( so sad
  • bopambobopambo Registered User Posts: 1,284 Senior Member
    Thanks again for candidness Bowdoinchick13. I realize that the hooking up happens pretty much everywhere, and I don't really have anything against casual sex. Everybody experiments, so I don't think it's wise to make sex too big an issue, BUT I can't help but wonder about being in such a small place (any small college) with everybody knowing everybody's business. The fact that this is fueled by a lot of alcohol has to create liaisons that wouldn't have happened otherwise, you mentioned that yourself in the blog.
    I do know that sex is hardly ever really devoid of emotion, unless you've passed out, so there usually some lingering emotional stuff to work out, if only with oneself.

    As a mother, I wonder if it wouldn't be better for a young person to go to college in a bigger city where there are multiple college campuses and the chances to meet the opposite sex are more varied. All these small college campuses seem a little like Peyton Place (too old a reference I imagine). I know Bowdoin is wonderful in MANY ways, but this is an issue that my husband and I have discussed and needs to be discussed with our son before he makes the final decision.
  • purplegirlpurplegirl Registered User Posts: 203 Junior Member
    Wow, I must chime in here. I deal with the consequences of sexual freedom in my office daily. I have been a gynecologist for over 20 years. The casual "hooking" up culture and the freedom of women to have sex as easily as sharing a box of popcorn these days keeps me very busy! I am sure you are aware of the HPV related diseases, not fully protected by condoms and hope Bowdoinchick and her girlfriends see a gynecologist on a regular basis for pap smears and birth control. But not only are STD and pregnancy related issues a problem but the psychologically impact this has on women (and guys) has been tremendous. I sit and talk with many of my patients who maybe like Bowdoinchick have never had a meaningful or lasting relationship and missed out on being courted because sex came first. Now at 35+years old, these same women want to know how to have their "eggs frozen" and cry that they are alone, want a relationship, want children but "slept" their 20's away and let all the decent guys get away. The only thing they have left is being treated repeatedly for HPV related precancerous cervical disease. So guys and girls, think about your future and what you want instead of "instant gratification" in the present. It's like saving your money for your future and not blowing it on an expensive pocketbook or a pair of shoes because it feels good in the moment.
    And for all the guys out there who don't want to sleep with Bowdoinchick and her friends there are plenty of girls who are looking for something more meaningful and long lasting and are willing to wait. There are still alot of 20 yr old virgins out there.

    I hope you understand my message. I really do care and am tired of these young girls who cry in my office everytime I have to tell them they have HPV or chlamydia and ask "?where did I get that?" and then they finally grow up and are sad and lonely at 35 yrs old. So to college students and our youth, try dating. Save sex for that special someone. You will always remember your first time so maybe that person will be your partner for life. You may actually like it.
  • royal73royal73 Registered User Posts: 275 Junior Member
    bopambo - My son, like yours, has many girls in his group of friends and although he is popular and attractive, he has never had a "girlfriend" and only a few dates. That, I am reasonably well informed, is because hook-ups are the scene at his school. So, your son, too, may not actually be going from "no experience to the hook-up culture." He may already be in the hook-up culture, and college at Bowdoin or wherever he ends up will be a continuation. These kids, like those of us in college in the '70s, will have pretty colorful memories of their college "relationships," but I really think they, too, will mature and ultimately want - and be capable of - stable, emotionally intimate relationships.

    You mention that a bigger city with more campuses might be preferable. I think I feel more comfortable with my son at a smaller school engaging in this type of behavior, which can be risky, than I would if he were in a more anonymous urban setting. If my child were a girl, I definitely would feel better about her being in an environment like Bowdoin! I figure my son will be down in Boston hooking up with his friends' friends if Bowdoin gets too "incestuous" at times.
  • bowdoinchick13bowdoinchick13 Registered User Posts: 4 New Member
    purplegirl: Your points of disease are valid, but you've clearly allowed your own personal judgment to cloud your response. As a professional, it reflects quite poorly on you to post such a response, and I really wonder at the disregard you apparently feel for your promiscuous patients who "slept" it all away, according to you. You suggest that having sex without a relationship is "blowing" your future prospects. To put forth such a view especially in your profession is particularly damaging. Sex means very different things to different people and it is both wrong and extremely narrow-minded of you to say that people who have sex are not looking for something "more meaningful and long lasting" . Your job as a gynecologist is not to judge, but rather to help your patients. Also as I'm sure you know, often times sexual disease is spread between partners in a relationship and is not merely a "consequence of sexual freedom."
    In addition, your attacking my own experience (and those of "my friends"), merely discounts your proposed "care" for young girls, as you've just attacked one you have no real knowledge of.

    bopambo:royal73 puts it quite well. Big city colleges allow for an anonymity that, in my opinion, is potentially disastrous. The fact that, as you say, everyone knows everyone's business, serves to reel us in to a degree. This is because we all know each other in one way or another; through friends, classes, dining hall exchanges, etc. You can't just hook up with someone and expect to never see them again, because you absolutely will. In a big city, or one of these huge universities, this is not the case. You can hook up with someone and never see them again. This is dangerous because there is nothing to discourage a student from checking his or her actions, which they are far more likely to do when they know they'll see their "partner" in casual sex,(as an example) the next day at brunch (mercedesAMG also mentions the safety afforded by this).
    In addition, with anonymity increases the risk of sexual violence, yet another thing that is far less of a problem on small campuses like Bowdoin.
    I respect the need to discuss this with your son, but I do think you should take these points to heart when you do.
  • bopambobopambo Registered User Posts: 1,284 Senior Member
    Bowdoinchick13 and royal173, you've both made very valid points in articulate ways, and have relieved my anxiety somewhat. What I guess I was imagining in a larger environment, let's say Boston, is that there might be more chances for dating; that middle ground between instant sex and a committed relationship. To come a little to purplegirls defense, my friends and I charted the sexual freedom course in the old days, and many of us ended up in therapy. The problem with instantaneous sex without some dating behavior (getting to know someone) is that emotional intimacy is much harder and scarier than physical intimacy. It's like anything else, you have to learn it and practice it to get good at it.
  • purplegirlpurplegirl Registered User Posts: 203 Junior Member
    To Bowdoinchick, I appreciate your mature reply but I didn't mean to judge you personally. You obviously think alot about your actions and perhaps you have a better handle on your life than some of my patients. I spend alot of my time listening and treating patients without "judging" but hope to use an open forum like this to get more girls to think about what they are doing and how it will affect them. Alot of girls are pressured into sex because that is what is expected and then they are not able to emotionally deal with the medical and emotional outcomes. I give up alot of unpaid time to deal with these issues and my heart breaks for these young women who are torn with this. I knew you'd give me some heat for my post but had to reach out to the few it might hit home with. But I am sorry if you thought I was judging you. That was not my attempt. Everyone has the right to make certain choices and part of growing into adult hood is how to live with the choices we make. We all make choices in our life that affect us one way or another, good or bad. It's how we use these experiences that makes us who we are. I am still learning and trying to understand how different things are now but I see the other (medical,pychological) side.
  • bopambobopambo Registered User Posts: 1,284 Senior Member
    morandi, I'm off to search through the student newspaper archives as you suggest, very good advice. I've been very taken with Bowdoin, and most certainly bowdoinchick13, who brought this up and hasn't flinched under all this parental scrutiny. It's a very pertinent subject and quite timely. Thank you.
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