I few days ago I received this e-mail from a prospective Bard College student. A lot of my older material on this site was written while I was a student there, so it’s pretty easy to figure out where I went to school.
I’m Seth, and I found your Blog. I’m seriously considering Bard, and it seems you like it. Could you talk to me about Bard and such? Or am I coming off as creepy, because I’ve already Facebooked two strangers about this same subject, and got a response from neither.
Maybe I need to reconsider my tactics.
Here is my response:
I loved Bard. Whether it was from the classes I took or the people I met, I’d have to say it was more for the people. Don’t get me wrong, the classes were awesome, but the friends I made at Bard are still a huge part of my life five years later, whereas Japanese and Russian symbolism are not. I guess you could argue that that could have happened at any school I would have gone to, and you might be right. But I think that the environment that Bard nurtures is something that tends to attract interesting and vibrant people. It also attracts some unbelievably idiotic and pretentious pricks. But, you know, so does Yale. And at least Bard has a lax drug policy and pretty much lets you do what you want, within reason.
While I was at Bard I was a founding member of the Cheerleading Squad, I was on the cross-country team all four years with NO prior running experience whatsoever, I got to practice with the Rugy team. I wrote a humor column that got me campus wide recognition, I volunteered at a battered women’s shelter, I was a member of the Christian Student Fellowship (we showed Boondock Saints in the campus center). I took Japanese, I had a crazy stalker who lived in a cage, I had a radio show on Saturday nights from midnight to 2am called “Cream of Meat” with a requisite jug of carlo rossi at each broadcast, I helped organize a huge crazy anti-war party with a kissing booth and a Peace Bed, the mattress of which was later set on fire and resulted in the condemnation of the Old Gym (ask people about that). I met people from all over the country who were strangely like me, and I met people I absolutely couldn’t stand. I met people who became drug addicts. People who became bizarrely famous. People who died.
So, it’s been 5 years, and Bard may not be exactly the same as it was when I was there, but it’s probably not that different. I had a great time there though. I hope this is helpful, and I hope you have a great experience wherever you go. Just don’t go to Vassar. Vassar sucks.
It’s funny to think that in 1999, when I was getting ready to go to away to Bard, it wasn’t really within the realm of possibility for me to find much out about it on the internet beforehand– particularly from blogs of current and former students. (Maybe that kind of information was out there in ’99, but it definitely wasn’t as ubiquitous, or as obvious an option.) Websites like Facebook weren’t even around yet– the first one of them, Friendster (Holy Crap, Friendster) was only starting to catch on when I was maybe a Junior or a Senior at Bard. Crazy.