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Fall in Love

What is the real purpose of Winter Study, especially for male undergraduates?

The real purpose of Winter Study is to fall in love.

You will never, ever be surrounded by as many smart, pretty, eligible women as you are right now. Life after college is, comparatively, a wasteland. Of course, as you pass into the great beyond, you will meet other women, but they are unlikely to be as wonderful, physically and mentally, as the Eph women you are now blessed to know. More importantly, the best of them will choose mates sooner rather than latter. Exiting Williams without a serious girlfriend is not necessarily a one-way ticket to permanent bachelorhood (as several of my co-bloggers can attest), but don’t delude yourself into thinking that it is a smart way to play the odds. The odds favor love now.

It isn’t that your classes and papers, your theses and sports teams, are unimportant. But finding a soulmate to grow old with, someone to bear your children and ease your suffering, someone to give your life meaning and your work purpose — this is a much more important task than raising that GPA enough to make cum laude.

So, stop reading this blog and ask out that girl from across the quad. I did the same 19 years ago and have counted my blessings ever since.

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#1 Comment By PinkoCommieEph On January 4, 2007 @ 12:26 am

“especially for male undergraduates”?!

Am I living in 2007 or 1957? Honestly.

#2 Comment By David On January 4, 2007 @ 12:34 am

I think male undergraduates are more likely to make this mistake than female undergraduates. Do you disagree? You think that women make this mistake more? Or do you think that this mistake (like all other mistakes?) is made equally by men and women?

#3 Comment By frank uible On January 4, 2007 @ 12:38 am

David: Didn’t you post this exact message last year? Or was it 2 years ago? Do you get a commission from cupid? From certain vendors?

#4 Comment By David On January 4, 2007 @ 12:51 am

Certain special posts (like this one and Memorial Day) get repeated each year, with minor changes. After all, Frank, we have a new set of readers each year to persuade.

#5 Comment By frank uible On January 4, 2007 @ 12:55 am

P.S. Perhaps some of you undergraduate males will hereafter be surrounded by daughters or granddaughters who seem smarter and prettier than any female you then remember having encountered here and now – but the wait for that speculative eventuality may be a long one.

#6 Comment By ’04 On January 4, 2007 @ 5:30 am

The male thing was in last year’s, too — how inadvertently chivalrous and demonstrably sexist.

#7 Comment By PTC On January 4, 2007 @ 6:18 am

“David: Didn’t you post this exact message last year? Or was it 2 years ago? Do you get a commission from cupid? From certain vendors?”
No Frank, what he has is fond memories of the one time he got lucky at Willaims!

#8 Comment By Ptc On January 4, 2007 @ 6:26 am

I humbly apologize formy above post. I was joking and did not read the last line of it….

#9 Comment By Rob On January 4, 2007 @ 7:14 am

… met my wife during one winter study. one of the best things that has happened in my life.

#10 Comment By Whitney Wilson ’90 On January 4, 2007 @ 9:14 am

PTC, I think Dave would agree with your original post, that he got “lucky” during Winter Study. Anyone knows Kay would undoubtedly agree.

That having been said, I’m not sure that Dave is right with regards to his central thesis (i.e. that its easier to find the perfect wife or husband while at Williams). Many people change significantly during their college years and their 20’s. I know that I am not the same person I was 20 years ago (boy does that make me feel old), and I think that’s true of many others.

I suppose there may be research on the relative success of marriages based on the ages of the participants when they met, but I don’t know what the data show. In any event, my advice about Winter Study is to have fun, and if love hits you on the head, follow it wherever it leads. If not, don’t worry, there are plenty of fish in the sea, both during and after Williams.

#11 Comment By Guy Creese ’75 On January 4, 2007 @ 10:41 am

Well, Winter Study got me my first job. I took a course in juggling at the Free University during one January, and I put “juggling” as a skill down on my resume when I graduated.

John Hancock hired me as an insurance underwriter, and I asked the Senior VP of Underwriting several years later why he hired me. (I was curious because 1975 had the highest unemployment rate since the Great Depression, and competition for jobs was fierce.) “Well,” he smiled, “you put down that you juggled on your resume. I figured anybody who had the balls to do that had to be a pretty interesting person.”

#12 Comment By Anon ’89er On January 4, 2007 @ 9:59 pm

Falling in love? I don’t remember being so sentimental about it. It was not exactly the pursuit of love that had me driving to Northampton and South Hadley on a frequent basis. I don’t remember anyone being so sentimental about it.

Still, if it worked for you, good on ya. Many of your fellow Ephs found Williams to be to socially transparent and incestuous for romance, love, or wild, empty, animalistic sex to blossom.

#13 Comment By Derek On January 5, 2007 @ 12:39 pm

What I don’t get about the “especially for male students” reference is that unless Dave has decided that he is a big advocate of gay marriage (I am, so I’d cheer, but I have my doubts that this is what he meant) — AND believes that gay men hook up at Williams more than gay women — with whom are all of these men falling in love? Or are the women reluctant members of the courtship?

So even in context, the “male students” reference baffles me.

That said, winter study is a great time for romance or its more temporal equivalent, though winter sports athletes tend to be having about three practices a day, so have fun with that!


#14 Comment By frank uible On January 5, 2007 @ 2:12 pm

Does chasing broads get one in shape for the 400?

#15 Comment By Todd On January 5, 2007 @ 5:07 pm

Don’t worry, kids. Mean age at marriage for men in the US is 28; for women it’s 26. The pickings won’t be anywhere near exhausted if you don’t find someone before you graduate.

You may find it useful to take David’s advice if you plan to marry someone from the Congo, Cameroon, or Afghanistan. Otherwise, I wouldn’t lose any sleep.

#16 Comment By Todd On January 5, 2007 @ 5:11 pm

See here for further assuagement of your fears.