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Break Breakdown

November 13, 2006   

 “You go to school in New York, right? Big city, huh? Manhattan? That must be great.”

I hear this quite often, not only from Midwesterners (you'd be shocked by how many Hamilton students think Oklahoma is somewhere near Montana), but from anyone who stops listening after “New York,” before I can add on “State, not City.”

Location might be one of the least attractive aspects of Hamilton, though I think it’s no worse than many other North Eastern/Mid Atlantic schools. Clinton is a lovely little town, with an emphasis on little. This is negated by the fact that Hamilton, like most other colleges, is its own community — literally, there’s a giant hill separating Hamilton from Clinton.

The point of this entry, however, is the upside of Clinton. I’ve been to New York City twice in the past two years. Last semester, I treated myself to a Campus Activities-sponsored bus trip to Broadway to see Avenue Q, and this year, I went with some friend over fall break.

Fall break, typical at the beginning of October, may seem a little arbitrary, but it is, by far, the best break Hamilton has to offer. If you’re a freshman, it’s nice to be able to go home for the weekend (assuming you can). Last year, I took a bus to Boston and stayed with some old friends, but I met up with one of my new college buddies for lunch. This year, though, it was great to be with my college friends outside the context of college. We stayed in Jersey at a friend’s house for the most part, though we slept on the floor of an alumnus, now at Columbia grad school, on Saturday night. The drive went by quickly, even with three of us crammed in the backseat. The break itself also went by quickly, unfortunately, though we managed to visit all the major museums, wander around Central Park, and of course, eat like royalty.

Here, being an Oklahoman is certainly an anomaly, but it was impossibly nice to have someone there to escort me around the City and coach me on how “not to look like such a tourist” (basically, stop gawking at Times Square and put your camera away already). Hopefully, my friends will make the pilgrimage out to Tulsa (where, I should add, I am in fact returning to for Thanksgiving). I’ll certainly return the favor, and coach them on how not to look so foreign (basically, stop looking for cows and get used to the plethora of pick-ups hogging the highway).