The physical education requirement. Even now, sitting in my room, a 12-ounce can of Mountain Dew in one hand, a half-eaten package of Swiss Rolls in the other, I am still haunted by it.
I thought I had it all figured out this term. Surviving the Dartmouth Experience: a stress management class to fulfill this wretched requirement. Not surprisingly, trying to sign up for Dartmouth’s stress management course was itself a stress-inducing experience. I made the trek to the gym, stood on line, dealt with the crowds, dealt with the claustrophobia caused by the crowds, and finally signed up for my stress management class.
Needless to say, the course was summarily canceled. Not enough student interest. Ah, the ulcerous irony.
Of course, I’m sure mountain climbing had plenty of takers. No doubt aerobic snow shoeing was turning people away.
Dartmouth just loves its physical fitness, doesn’t it? By the end of sophomore summer a student must have completed at least three terms of physical education — so goes the physical education requirement. Why by the end of sophomore summer? Well, if it were by the time you graduate, Dartmouth couldn’t fine you nearly as much, and the administration bestows those $50 fines on students with the vigor and frequency of zealots’ handing out flowers at airports. Without fines the College would probably declare bankruptcy.
I’ve been trying to deal with this odious phys ed requirement since I got here, and I’m well into my junior year now, so fifty-dollar fines are like gravy to me. I hate Phys Ed. Always have. Never been good at it, never had an iota of fun, whether it was getting broadsided by a dodgeball, smacked upside the head by a hockey puck, or vomiting after the two-mile run — for some reason I just never caught on to the fun of it all.
It all started with the swimming test. I had to take it twice. Apparently, you’re not allowed to walk the length of the pool. You’re supposed to swim, because if you ever fall into the Connecticut River, you’d better be able to swim the length of a pool, right? At least you won’t drown right away.
So far I’ve taken a lot of body shop courses. Talk about your life-enhancing experiences. Normally I would just sit at that lower-back machine for 30 minutes I’m still in terrible shape, but my lower back is like steel.
This Mack Daddy Jock Beast mentality has got to sto