Hello, Goodbye

A concerned mother’s query about the Bates party scene was as tough as it got for student panelists at a morning Q-and-A session.

“I’m not going to lie to you,” said Ryan O’Connor ’06, indicating that partying happens at Bates. But he and the other panelists, Megan Price ’04 and Elisabeth Anson ’04, assured an attentive audience that peer pressure to party is minimal and chem-free activities abound.

Someone else wondered what made Bates people so friendly, which occasioned several minutes of friendly-Bates stories. Price said that from the very start of her Bates career, “I was struck by how much people just waved and smiled.”

She sees poorly without her glasses, she added, and therefore often waves and smiles at strangers whom she mistakes for friends. “That’s OK,” Price said. “They always wave and smile back.”

We encountered Price again later at an activities fair showcasing 25 student organizations, including the Brooks Quimby Debate Society, the Women’s Rugby Club, OUTfront, the Manic Optimists, the Crosstones, the New World Coalition, the College Republicans and Bates Democrats, and WRBC-FM.

“It’s a great people-watching day,” said Price, raising her voice because of the crowd in the Benjamin Mays Center and a loud tango from the Bates Ballroom Society’s boombox. “Although it freaks me out to see these little pins that say ’08′.” Getting old is hell.

In fact, Price confessed to a certain jealousy as she watched the fresh-faced teens eager to begin their college careers. But she remembered the newbie’s insecurity, too. “As a prospective student I felt like this little speck on the wall among these giant students,” she laughed. “Now I’m supposed to be the giant.”