People, trimesters, dragonflies, and blue jays fly by quickly at Carleton. This place runs at a brisk pace, and many students don’t take time to befriend the dragonflies and the blue jays. They are missing out. But the good news is that we all still have time to savor one the best things that Carleton has to offer—the Arb. Even the lame duck seniors could see some real ducks if they take a walk along the Cannon River before the finish of their penultimate trimester. Check out a pair of skis or snowshoes from the Rec Center while we still have snow. It’s a good way to take a break from Comps and final papers.
In fact, this week the Psychology Journal Club discussed an experiment which found that walking in a natural environment provides more cognitive restoration compared to walking in a man-made, urban environment. For more information on this study contact the psychology SDAs, Kate Leger and Brett Adelman. Although research on the cognitive benefits of interacting with nature is preliminary, I have spotted a first-class exemplar of this effect at Carleton—President Robert Oden. On several occasions I have seen President Oden zipping through campus on his way back from a run in the Arb. He always gives me a big smile and a friendly wave even though I’m quite certain he has no idea who I am. Why is this man so cheerful? Perhaps he has become happy and wise due to years of studying the ancient languages and religions of the Near East. But I propose that his romps in the Arb may also contribute to his awesomeness. The moral of this story is clear. If you aspire to become awesome and wise, follow the example of our legendary leader. Put on a pair of old sweatpants and get out there and enjoy the Arb!
John Kraus '10 for the Cole Student Naturalists