Animal House Lite, Here We Come!

MALS Dartmouth
My time at Dartmouth may not be quite as epic as his, but, hey, traditions…

I turn 45 later this year (gasp!), and the rules of the game clearly state that this entitles me to 1 (one) full-blown midlife crisis (void where prohibited, some restriction apply; see package insert for full details).

Faced with the traditional options: an affair (too much hassle) or a motorbike (too dangerous) this renegade-with-a-receding-hairline opted for “the third way” — a passive-aggressive middle finger to cruel fate and the twilight years looming ahead. And so, starting at the crack o’ noon on Monday, I will be back at school for the first time in, oh, several decades.

It will be very weird indeed.

But it would have been silly not to take advantage of the fact that there’s an Ivy League college conveniently located just up the road, and thanks to some over-the-top letters of recommendation from old professors and generous friends alike I somehow managed to get myself accepted into the Masters of Liberal Arts graduate program at Dartmouth College. This is the quintessential midlife crisis vehicle for the intellectually inclined wanna-be rebel; tailored with love, care, and attention for those of us who still don’t know what we want to do when we grow up, but adamantly refuse to take up golf. Offering a smorgasbord of courses on everything from geo-politics to radical feminist dance it’s about as liberal and flexible as higher education gets, particularly for a staid old place like Dartmouth. I’m only taking one course per semester to allow me time to keep the kids out of the liquor cabinet and carry on with the work I enjoy as a photographer and writer. But even such limited exposure to the wild and wonderful world of academia should prove sufficiently stimulating and challenging.

In addition to some amazing teachers and a cool crowd of fellow students my new status offers me access to all that the college has to offer in the way of extra-curricular activities and educational bells and whistles. Sadly, I doubt I will be eligible to pledge any of the fraternities — unless their bylaws explicitly require an old-fart-in-residence to oversee their hazing rituals.