There are many parts of college life that nudge students towards adulthood; careers, graduate studies, and networking- and suddenly, there are swing sets.
Tucked into three discreet locations around the campus, the swings are not only there as sweet aesthetic touches to the image of a nature-loving college. They are also, in a sense, tiny portals by which to escape back to ones childhood when college life seems to get too heavy.
The most significant, and perhaps the most inconspicuous one is the swing behind the library. For me, I did not know this swing truly existed until I was a sophomore, thinking that it could have been a figment of a senior myth saved for gullible incoming freshman. When I finally decided to go looking for it, I was pleasantly surprised to find a familiar image from my childhood overlooking the pond- a double swing overlooking the water- only at St. Mary’s.
The second is the most public and arguably the most inviting; a set of mesh hammock swings dangling from the large tree that shades most of Margaret Brent Hall. These swings are the scene of relaxation for many students of the Philosophy and Religious Studies Departments. They are the desks of impromptu outdoor classrooms, and the lunch seats of many visitors. For professors, they may even be moments of silence, a quick break from grading reflection essays.
The third is hidden behind the greens- and not for the faint of heart. Set over a drop off in a small clearing in the woods, this wooden plank swing is a stomach-dropping thrill that sends you through the trees towards the view of the water. As a senior, I never knew that swing was there until a few days ago.
There are times on this campus when I truly feel like an adult- I walk as a senior, carrying my bag holding a folder with my resume tucked inside along with a portfolio of papers regarding my SMP. In some instances, I take myself seriously and for some brief moment I feel as though I am ready for life beyond the path. I think about my project and my resume, and how lately my laptop feels as though it has grown to be an extension of my hands. Most days, I feel that all I do is type and stare, hitting the backspace key more than anything else on the keyboard.
Thankfully, these times are sporadic in the company of my friends who coax me out of my room, out of Kent Hall, and away from my sorry addiction to typing. They yank me out of the cave that is my SMP and out into daylight when they want to take a walk. Sometimes, if I am out, I venture off alone. I find myself swinging back and forth, my bag is on the ground, and my shoes are off, and for a moment, I am a college senior-who is six again.