Avi’s three condemnations: Spring Break, Quads, Psych 101

Date Published – April 22, 1998

Top on my list of this week’s condemnations is El Niño. In normal years, going home to California for Spring Break probably would mean my getting exposed to warm weather. Unfortunately for me and the legions of others who trekked to California, this didn’t prove to be the case because of that Spanish weather system whose name I would rather not say. While Williamstown was enjoying record highs in the 80s during Spreak Break, I sat languishing at home watching the rain pour down. In fact, the weather was so bad that I almost looked forward to coming back to Willamstown weather.

Now on to the rest of this week’s condemnations.


Looking over my housing booklet this week, I couldn’t help but notice the massive number of quads at Williams. We’ve got the Frosh Quad, the Science Quad, the Berkshire (or Odd) Quad, the Dodd Quad, the Greylock Quad, and countless others. Is it just me or are there way too many quads at Williams?

Granted, no college is complete without some form of quad. However, Williams has gone completely overboard with this quad business. It seems that if a group of buildings are put together, it suddenly becomes a quad. Certainly, Dodd has no quadlike features, yet it is a quad for the simple fact that there are a bunch of houses piled next to it.

The Housing Department should show more creativity (like Dining Services) when it comes to naming these areas. Quad loses its magical feel once it is used incessantly, as is the case at this school. Being part of the Quad should be something special, and clearly this is not the case at Williams where everything is a quad. No doubt about, Williams is definitely quadded out.

To continue my diatribe against Housing Department names, I next focus on the classic distinction between houses and halls. Certainly, the Housing Department does a good job in making the important distinction in some respects. The obvious houses are named houses, most notably Perry, Wood, Rice, Jenness, Goodrich, and Dodd. A few places that are obviously halls are named such, most notably Prospect, Currier, West College, and, of course, what is by far Williams’s best dorm, Fayerweather (especially Fay 1).

However, calling each of the four parts of Mission Park a HOUSE is unconscionable. In Mission, we’ve got Armstrong, Dennett, Pratt, and Mills as HOUSES? I wonder if the person who named such subdivisions as houses has ever seen the outside of Mission. Mission looks far more like an airplane hangar than it does a house. All is not lost, however, for Mission. I am certainly glad that Mission is a park, instead of a quad. Personally, I really think Mission resembles a penetentiary more than a park, but at least it’s not a quad. That’s the important thing.

Psychology 101 class

As one of the 1500 Williams students in Psychology 101, I am going to tread this subject lightly since I don’t want my grade to suffer as a result of what I write. Thus, I have devised a Top FiveList in the spirit of Dave Letterman as to the Top Five Signs that you are a Psych 101 student.

5. You skip class one day and notice that Williamstown becomes a ghost town between the hours of 1000-1050 MWF.

4. Your entry has its own row in BN 002.

3. It takes a half hour just to pass the weekly quiz to every student.

2. Biology 102 seems small.

And the #1 sign that you are a Psych 101 student is (drumroll please)…

1. Your friend from Harvard comes to Psych 101 class with you one day and feels right at home.

Before leaving, I just want to pose a question to all those Psych 101 students out there (i.e. the whole Williams campus). Is there a reason why our forms of assessment are routinely called “quizzes” as opposed to “tests” or “midterms”? Is it somehow related to psychology? Perhaps.

Until next time, have fun.

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