Welcome to my island. Please pass through and chat a while; a #letsblogoff post

I’ve just been given an island. I can take whatever I want there, but once on the island, I can’t leave. Who and what would you bring? What are the rules?


I really don’t want the island. As wonderful as being isolated from all the chaos and chatter of our modern world sounds today, in a couple days — maybe a week — I would be stifled, climbing the walls to get off the island. I could write rules that say everything would change out; people would stay a week and then they would have to replace themselves. Same with books and such. Or I could say that if I bring a dog, he would never get sick and never die. But even in a fantasy world, that seems like it would be cheating, like I didn’t plan well enough to live and thrive on an island. And moving to an island to begin a long, slow death one day at a time just doesn’t seem like much of a deal.

So, I reject the “paradise” island with the sand and the sun most people picture in their heads. My island is a college quad in the middle of a large city.

When you think about it, stepping onto a college campus melts away the large city you left behind and hugs you with green grass, large stately building and a that feeling of.. can’t find the words right now. If I could never leave, then I would want a constant flow of new ideas and fresh faces coming onto my island. I would want to have conversations with people fresh off the high school boat as well as those who have been piloting the barges for decades. I would want to retreat into the silence of dimly lit university hallways at 3:00 am for a stroll. I would want to be in the middle of a homecoming pep rally with a university band playing a rousing fight song. I would want to join in an impromptu theatre performance on a patch of grass. I would want to read a book in the grass under a shade tree. And some days, I would just like to sit in the sun and people watch.

But mostly, I would write a rule that there are no rules except that we all respect each others’ ideas, no matter how wacky they may seem. And be kind to each other.

And don’t misuse apostrophes.

Here are a few “islands” I would not mind being marooned on:

University of Minnesota, Minneapolis

Columbia University, New York City

St. Thomas University in St. Paul, Minnesota

Darlington Prep School in Roma, GA
I know, it is not technically a college but I like it cause it has that Harry Potter Hogwarts feel. Maybe if I link to them, they will let me teach there when I retire.

This blog post is part of a blog-off series with a group of bloggers from different professions and world views, each exploring a theme from his/her world view. This was about “living on an island for the rest of your life.” To explore how others handled the theme, check them out below. I will add links as they publish.

12 Replies to “Welcome to my island. Please pass through and chat a while; a #letsblogoff post”

  1. I’m in. I’ve always vowed never to live in a town without an institution of higher education! There is always new blood, new ideas & new culture flowing in those places, & while the internet is a rich resource, it can never take the place of lively conversation in a warm pub or over a cup of coffee. I’ve never set foot on any of those campuses you mention but I’d bet there’s a well-worn strip of hangouts a short walk from all of them.

  2. There was a trend a few years back about people retiring to small college towns like Madison, Oxford, Portland (ME) for that very reason; to keep their minds alive. If they don’t me let me teach at Darlington (or Cretin-Derham Hall) then I think I’ll sell the house, enroll in a college, live in a dorm and start up a company there.

  3. That’s a cool take on living on your own island. I like the idea of being somewhere where different people are always coming and going, so you never get bored 🙂 Good luck with that job at Darlington Prep School! 🙂

  4. Thank you! Sandy beaches on tropical islands are great for vacations, but after a while they become ordinary as well. Darlington it would be a nice place to teach and retire. 10:1 student teacher ratio and it’s a boarding school, so there is more involvement in the overall education, not like the “factory” style education of most schools. We’ll see if they even want me 🙂

  5. Well, OK, then, my island is the house we already have! For the first sixteen years of our marriage I told my wife that what I most wanted was a piece of land with a house on it. I would then build walls all the way to the sky, and let the world and its insanities pass on by. And, quite frankly, that’s what I’ve been about for the last eighteen years!

  6. I want those walls, especially on the right side of my yard where my redneck neighbor has stored his two fishing boats for the Winter under blue tarps. Ugh! And the city won’t do anything about it because they can’t “see them from the street.”

  7. I’m a true fan of college campuses, too. My favorite: Vermont College in Montpelier, which I attended as an adult (it’s where I got my chops as a poet)! The quadrangle there is a grassy field with soccer nets surrounded by beautiful architect and peppered with beautiful maple trees: Ahhh, I can almost feel lying on that grass now…thanks for the little step back in time!

  8. Interesting you have that connection with the quad at your college. When I’m on a campus today, I see all these students walking around with their phones pressed to their heads, iPod earbuds screwed into their ears or heads hung down over their phones as they text. They are not where they are. When we went to school, we didn’t have these distractions; just our thoughts, conversation with other people and an interaction with our physical environment. I wonder how many recent grads could describe their college quad in as much vivid detail as you? I suspect not many. Sad as college campuses are really awesome places.

  9. As a college student, I am sad to report that your account is not an isolated experience. Headphones and cellphones seem to be more common than group conversations on my campus. It may just be a local culture thing (it being too hot to enjoy the outdoors 80% of the year in Laredo, TX), but people hardly ever “hang out” outdoors. I have only ever seen students on the grass in our quad a select handful of times. It was always the same group of kids – friends of mine actually. One time, I was outside of a building chatting with a girl from one of my classes – she looked over at my friends on the grass (not realizing I knew them) and actually said, “How cute – they’re SITTING on the grass – it’s like a picnic!” She said it as if it were a peculiar thing for college students to utilize the greenery of their quad. I wanted to say something like, “That’s not actually an uncommon thing” but I kept my trap shut. I wish I hadn’t. Conversely, back in Vermont (props, Saxon!), every campus I’ve been to, there were always students enjoying the outdoors – studying, playing the guitar, hanging out, whatever, just being there. I miss that.
    I think you’re on to something here, though, with the campus oasis. Where do I buy my ticket?

Comments are closed.