It’s easy to get any day student riled up about “exclusion,” especially with the recent introduction of a more structured residential curriculum. As the Front Page editor of The Scroll, I’ve worked on a couple of articles covering Connect4, Camp Beckett, and initiatives like these, and everybody I talk to continually asks, “What can we do to make things better for day students? How can we include you?” I never know how to respond.
Being a day student at Deerfield is nothing like being a boarder, and there is very little the school can do to change that. It’s the nature of the beast. It feels great to be welcomed to the post-study hours feeds on the hall with which I am affiliated, but I personally like to be home before 11 p.m. It’s like comparing a book you love to its movie version: sometimes you just have to take the movie as an entity on its own.
A residential curriculum shouldn’t have to be too concerned with non-residential students. I think that’s obvious. If day students weren’t allowed to attend feeds or meetings, or if we were sequestered to eating downstairs as rumored in days of yore, then I would have a problem, but day-to-day, I never feel excluded in any way because I’m a day student. I actually feel lucky.
Occasionally, though, the fact that we are a minority in the school seems to be emphasized. For example, when the Arms Building renovation was going to replace the day student lounge with classrooms, several students had to push to have another space designated for our use. Also, our representative election didn’t take place until the last few weeks of fall term. Granted there are only seventy-six of us, and it was a busy term so scheduling was difficult, but I don’t think it was acceptable to leave us hanging for a few months.
I’d say I have a pretty easy life as a day student, despite the six to seven hours I spend each week driving I-91. I am able to park right outside my first two classes of the day, I have a comfortable place to keep all my things, and I have a friend who lets me crash in her room, whether it’s to kick a headache during second period or to sleep over after Sadies.
I don’t pretend to speak for all day students—I know that the label of “day student” makes life difficult for some. But I do think that Deerfield is what you make of it, and there is little more, except for stronger communication, that can reasonably be done to boost our sense of inclusion.