I spent spring semester of last year gallivanting around Europe, shacking up in various horrifying hostels on weekends and retreating to Emerson's very own castle during the week.
Our largest stressors were trains, planes and finding time to Skype with family and lovers a continent away.
We spent very little time worrying about our careers, unlike Emersonians in Los Angeles, where making inroads on a career is the point. Most "castle dwellers" (as the program director, Dulcia Meijers, affectionately dubs us) are sophomores, and are not yet thinking about the rest of their life. And besides, such a serious undertaking would have been out of place: in between Bruges trips and bong hits, the semester was a fantasy.
Yes, metaphysically, it happened, but the experience is impossible to explain or relate to. Ask a Castle kid (we're easy to find; we can't go more than three minutes without mentioning how amazing the Castle is) how the semester was, and we can't explain it. It was so dreamlike, so different from a conventional college semester, you can't know what it's like unless you're there.
A year hence, dozens of my Castle friends-dozens of my best friends-are planning to enter the Los Angeles program. But not me.
What the hell, guys? How will I have fun? What about our parties? Who will tell me what movies to see? Who will lend me their Netflix to watch them?
Looking at the program, though, I see it will be no frivilous West Coast jaunt. I wish them Godspeed.
When you're in L.A., you don't merely play castle, you enter the rat race for a semester. Shortly thereafter, you graduate.
That's a whole lot scarier than windmills and tulips.
iChris Girard is a junior political communication major and opinion editor of /iThe Beacon.