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Why debate over activities that are only meant to strengthen bonds?

By Maya ’12

Whenever an all-school activity is announced, a slow moving groan of discontent manifests itself in the back of Caswell. Hidden well by the ruckus of seventh and eighth graders, who in their excitement often yelp and turn about in their seats, this moan begins to infect the very fiber of the intended bonding activity before it has even been given a chance. I understand the disaffection — all-school activities have long proven themselves to be ineffective — but it shocks me that people haven’t put two and two together and come to the realization that a positive attitude may just be the missing link.

Despite Marlborough’s tireless efforts to create “community,” we lack the fundamental component of unification: spirit. We have pep rallies, we play the Hunger Games, we sing the Alma Matter, but when it comes down to it, by the time we leave Marlborough, there is very little rah-rah left in us. While schools like Brentwood, Windward, and dare I say even Marymount, seem to be teeming with spirit and pride, we grumble and scoff at the idea that we can actually have fun doing an organized, inter-grade activity. I don’t know if it is the discomfort or the sheer unwillingness of many Upper School students to actively engage themselves, but for some reason it has become cool to show indifference, and sometimes even blatant disdain, towards community recreation. Personally, I find this attitude pathetic.

You may be asking: If the situation is so pathetic, why don’t we just get rid of “bonding time” and instead give ourselves some more time to study? Well, firstly, the idea that a study block is more enjoyable than an activity is frankly depressing, and secondly, that would only further propagate the problem of disunity that we are facing. It is our job as students to create a school environment that we are proud to present to incoming students, and the only way to do that is to foster a true sense of community.

Instead of almost immediately disbanding your assigned menagerie of girls at the next school bonding activity, I ask Upper School students to take the lead and actually, (this may seem shocking) genuinely interact with everyone. Go in with a positive attitude. Paint your face. Muster up some spirit. Do something instead of nothing, because if you expect yourself to have a horrible time, you will. The games we play may be silly, but that is one of the blessings that Marlborough gives us. We may be stressed and overworked, but from time to time we have the opportunity to act like complete fools without repercussions. All-school activities are designed to break down barriers and provide a mechanism for discourse between students of all grades, and if we all just decided to accept this, we might actually enjoy ourselves and strengthen our community in the process.