Outside of the life academic I was an active member of the student body. How I was. I edited the student handbook. I edited the student newspaper. I edited the student magazine – which, unlike the newspaper, students actually read. I wrote more for the student mag than anyone else, to the point where John Q Hampshire began to recognize me on the quad. (My signing my full name to my articles is the reason why this has become my moniker. That and its short form: Daxel. Which I gave up protesting some time ago, and now must fight not to embrace.)

Outside of that I was a member of some twelve student groups, having official authority over perhaps ten of them. Every time I try to count the total comes up different. I liked being treasurer, so I had financial responsibility for almost all of them. I had discretion over some twenty five thousand dollars during my time in college. More, I should say, than the sum total of tuition I paid during my entire tenure as an undergraduate. I ran the blacksmith’s guild. I pitched in with the circus from fundraising to production to trapeze lessons. I ran a group dedicated to DIY projects; I’d research a craft, like soapmaking or candlemaking, do it enough that I felt confident with it, and then run a workshop teaching it. About one a month for two years. Your tuition dollars at work.

I got off campus. I made lists of things to do in the area and I went and did them, one by one. I spent sixteen straight hours in the Mount Holyoke Library with my feet up by the fireplace. I went to the basement of the Renaissance Center and held an incunabule in my hand. I helped other people with their research. Whatever it was they studied, whether they wanted a subject or supervisor, I’d do what I could. I got to know people. I got to know the world. I strive for humility, but not when it is false: IT WAS LIBERAL ARTS AS SHE IS PLAYED.


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