Monday, February 9, 2009

Hell on Earth

A few days after I first arrived at Smith I met a girl whose name I have since forgotten (Sarah maybe?) that said that Smith is Hell on Earth. This seemed like a weird thing to say to a table full of new transfers, but when I asked her why it was so awful, her reason was pretty reassuring. She said she hates Smith because the students are totally idealistic and think they can change the world. It seems like a weird thing to hate, but I guess it could be annoying to be surrounded by unrealistic optimism. I was thinking about her last night when I couldn't sleep though, because I think I probably have sort of unrealistic, or at least impractical ideas. I'm training for a half marathon, which is totally attainable, but it's still a big goal. I might need to veer off from the training guide when rugby starts, but I think it'll be good for me. That isn't the unrealistic idea though. I've been saying how I want to start an Invisible Children Club at Smith, but I haven't really been moving forward with that. I don't really know how to proceed, and I've been trying to get used to Smith and see how hard my classes are and how much time I have to spare for side projects. I was thinking about it last night though, and it suddenly occurred to me. I needed an idea for a project for the club, something to give us direction, and get some attention on the campus, and also something that could raise money. How could I organize a race for Uganda? Is that a thing that is possible? It would combine my two big goals for the semester, and I think it would be fun. It wouldn't be a half marathon, but maybe a 5 or 8k. I think there's a lot of potential there, I could maybe work the whole night commuting thing in too. The big thing I think, is to have a screening of the movie, just to get the club off the ground.
I've been thinking about the future a lot lately. I'm applying for SCA internships, but I'm also applying for this UB psychology summer camp internship. I don't know what I'll pick if I get accepted to both. The UB program is great sounding, it's working with kids, it's great for my resume, but I would rather do SCA. That seems irresponsible though, just like I know I should do my PRAXIS for psych, but I want to do it with Invisible Children. I love psychology, I really do, but I love a lot of things. I've been trying to think how I could use all the things I love, and I'm coming up with being a social worker in Africa. That has potential. I'd like to do that for a while, but I also want to have something more settled, I want to have a family and a bull terrier and all that jazz. I don't know if it's possible to do it all, but that damn Smith optimism that has me thinking I can save the world.


  1. Don't start narrowing down yet! Now that I'm in grad school studying only philosophy all the time I feel strangled. Think about it: in high school you took six or seven different classes every day - math, French, English, science, art. In college you only take four classes a semester, and they're much more focused. As you get older, you'll inevitably find yourself specializing more and more and it will become more and more of a struggle to achieve any kind of balance. Don't narrow down your options any sooner than you have to. Diversify.

  2. As for getting your project off the ground, I'd say that you should check the school directory. Somewhere there is a Director or a coordinator of student activities. Set up a meeting.

  3. Another organization that is similar to Invisible Children is ChildVoice International. We also have a project in northern Uganda working with former child soldiers and child mothers. These mothers are 14-22 years old and were abducted and raped by the rebels, and now they have children as old as 8 years old. We teach these girls how to love their children and how to care for them. Many of these girls were abducted when they were very young so they missed almost all of their primary school so we are helping them to catch up on their basic education, and teaching vocational skills so they can return to their villages and start their own businesses.

    If you are interested in getting ChildVoice on campus, we are located in New Hampshire so we would be able to come to your school and help you set up a club. We also have a former child soldier named Charles living in New Hampshire with us, so he is available to come speak at your school about his experience as a rebel.

    More information is at, or email