You may have noticed that Hoyas are experiencing a particularly intense mid-semester grind, or scholar vortex, this year: hordes of our classmates have gone dead behind the eyes from lack of sleep, countless Burleith and north campus residents are currently lost in the construction labyrinth, and the entire pre-med department is one broken keurig away from utter devastation. Perhaps by now you’re starting to rethink the whole concept of higher education, or maybe of modern society all together. The good news is there are alternatives if you feel you’ve made a huge mistake. Here are just a few options:
- Be a lighthouse keeper. If you’re looking to flee the stress of college life, why not do it in the most poetic way possible? The United States Lighthouse Society has options for you all over the United States, including Alaska if the tundra is your thing and Key West if it’s not. Just imagine: peace and quiet by the ocean, taking care of the light that protects all of the sailors. You can be the benevolent master of the sea! With some occasional gift shop duties.
- Be a fire lookout in a national park. Are you intrigued by the thought of stewarding the forests, and totally over interacting with other humans? Then perhaps you should consider spending a summer as a fire lookout. Appointments range from a few weeks to a few months of blissful mountaintop solitude, perfect for becoming one with nature or, if you’re Jack Kerouac, attaining enlightenment and writing an awesome book about it. The Forest Fire Lookout Association can help you find the remote hut that’s right for you.
- Join a commune. Consumerism got you down? Can you not even with all of this private property? Then live in tune with the land and your fellow humans in an Intentional Community. There’s one in Virginia only a few hours from campus called Twin Oaks Community. Contribute to this utopic society’s income by weaving hammocks or laboring in the tofu hut (I am completely serious). You’ll have plenty of time and opportunities to pursue your passions, especially if those include peace, the environment, anti-racism, and feminism.
- Stay at the sloth sanctuary. I shouldn’t even have to explain the appeal of this one. There are sloths. You get to hang out with them. Especially one named Buttercup, who appears to be running the sanctuary. Tragically, they closed their volunteer program last year to focus on more rigorous scientific research, but you can stay at the bed and breakfast on the sanctuary grounds. You and a friend can sleep in the Johnny Depp room (again, not joking) for $100. And you can get a tour of the grounds with (led by?) Buttercup.
See? No need to feel suffocated by the man — trade in your textbooks for a baby sloth (or possibly a manual on lighthouse operation) and free yourself!
Why are you still sitting there? This could be you. [Image courtesy of Twin Oaks Community]