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Bowdoin Parents Thread

itsallgood1itsallgood1 6 replies1 discussions Forum Champion
Hello everyone,

I thought it might be helpful to start this thread as a resource for us Polar Bear Parents who have Bowdoin related questions.

So, I'll get things started by asking about the start to the school year for 1st years. Looks like they are scheduled to arrive on Tue Aug 27, but dorms don't open until Sat Aug 31. How does that all work? We're driving up from about 500 miles away (fun!...not). So would you suggest driving up Monday, drop off Tuesday, and then drive back Wednesday?

I'd ask my son about this, but he is in end of Senior Year mode, and is not really thinking about any of this, which I totally understand.

Looking for some great information and support from this thread. Thanks in advance and Go U Bears!
edited May 2013 in Bowdoin College
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Replies to: Bowdoin Parents Thread

  • morandimorandi 1 replies0 discussions New Member
    Is your child signed up for a pre-orientation trip? They drop off belongings in the dorm room, stay the first night in Farley Field house, then head out on their trip....

    Orientation Trips (Orientation and First Year Programming - Bowdoin)

    Btw, I'm not the parent of a current student but this was the way it worked during my son's first year in 2007.
    edited May 2013
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  • itsallgood1itsallgood1 6 replies1 discussions Forum Champion
    Thanks for the link. He is planning on going on a trip (funny he brought up the start of school independently this morning without my saying anything). Online sign up starts 5/15 (per that web link).

    So, I guess I'm playing the novice parent taking his son up to school role, and wondering, back in the day when I went to college my parents and I drove up in the Volvo station wagon and they spent like half a day helping me get my room set up and then went home. Just wondering if we should just drop him and his stuff on that Tuesday and head back...I know, I know, he's 18 and he can set up his room on his own. Probably means that we (I guess that means ME) shouldn't spend too much time obsessing over dorm room set up, and just get him there.

    Maybe that Freshman orientation trip is great way to get the kids to school, get the parents out of there, and have them dive head first into everything...
    edited May 2013
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  • GvaMomGvaMom 6 replies0 discussions
    There are details about the schedule on the Bowdoin website, including for parents (on 27 August). I think your last sentence frames it correctly. It is a beautiful area take a little time for yourself if you can.
    edited May 2013
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  • college_querycollege_query 8 replies1 discussions Junior Member
    I did the first-time parent thing at Bowdoin last year; S will be coming home on Friday! Move-in was the first time I had been to campus; H and S had visited together but I wasnt with them.

    Last year was the first year the freshman orientation trips were mandatory, I believe. How it worked last year for us: we arrived in Brunswick the night before move-in (make a hotel reservation NOW if you haven't already!) and you could start moving into the dorms at 9 am. They had all sorts of things going on during that day; some of the events were just for parents while the new students did other things. We were able to get his stuff put away in his dorm room and his bed made. It may have been the only time his bed has been made all year!

    At 4 pm we said goodbye, and the new students all went to Farley Field House with their orientation trip gear, and the parents went to the President's House for a lovely reception.

    A lot of helpful information is on their website under FAQs:

    Frequently Asked Questions (Bowdoin - Orientation and First Year Programming)

    Be sure to eat in the cafeteria, if you haven't already. Bowdoin's reputation for great food is true!

    The time between 9 and 4 went by very quickly, but it was well organized. Maybe it's like quickly pulling off a bandaid -- all the students leaving at the same time definitely prevents parents lingering!
    edited May 2013
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  • itsallgood1itsallgood1 6 replies1 discussions Forum Champion
    Thanks for indulging this inquisitive, first time college parent. GvaMom, the website does indeed reveal all - thanks for the prompting. College_query, thanks for giving me a sense of what Day 1 is like from a parent perspective.

    The orientation trips look awesome. My wife's choice is the Kent Island trip, which requires a passport, Bay of Fundy ferry, and lobster boat shuttle to the destination.

    My choice would be surfing the mid coast of Maine.

    We'll see what my son goes for.

    I'll put the question out to the Bowdoin parents here - which trip did your son/daughter do, and how was their experience?

    A second question - any suggestions about what to do/where to go that Tuesday night once that final goodbye is over and done? My wife and I will drive back home Wednesday, but is there a nice place to have dinner/unwind that Tuesday night? Bar Harbor sounds nice, but we're headed 500 miles South, not North!
    edited May 2013
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  • college_querycollege_query 8 replies1 discussions Junior Member
    As I mentioned, last year was the first time the orientation trips were mandatory. Before that was decided, my S had not planned on going on one. My job at a university means the timing for me being off was not the greatest, and S is not really the outdoorsy type.

    But since they became mandatory, I took the time off (paying for it working long hours before and after, with a few emergency phone calls from the office during the trip) and S went on the Aziscohos Valley trip. He picked it because it included several activities, hiking, canoeing, and kayaking, and since he hadn't done those things before, he figured if he was really bad at one of them or disliked an activity, at least it wasn't 3 days of the same thing, and maybe he'd like one of the other ones!

    I didn't get a ton of feedback about the trip -- I think "it was fine". He understood the point was to have a bonding experience, and he did appreciate experiencing the beautiful area, especially since he had only been to Maine once before when he was looking at colleges (and discovered and fell in love with Bowdoin).

    I haven't looked at this year's orientation trips, so I don't know if there are any new trips offered he would have selected over that one.

    What to do afterwards: I can't give you any advice here. We would have loved to stay and explore the area, but had to be in Boston for dinner that night to meet my daughter's bf's family, who were leaving Wednesday morning. We were grateful the timing allowed us to meet, since they live in another country, but it would have been nice to see more of Maine. We stayed in the Boston area and did sight-seeing there, which we enjoyed very much. It was another area we hadn't seen much of, and our D is graduating at the end of the month after four years in the area. Hopefully since S is just finishing his first year we'll have additional opportunities to explore Maine in the future.

    Last year Family Weekend was in September, and we couldn't turn around and visit again so soon. Heck, I was still catching up from being away! This year Family Weekend is Oct. 25-27, and especially after reading last year's menu, I hope we can attend!
    edited May 2013
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  • GvaMomGvaMom 6 replies0 discussions
    Maine is wonderful, though admittedly going North is probably more interesting. When we were visiting Bowdoin last summer we drove out to Bailey Island which is across Orr's Island where Bowdoin has facilities. It was wonderful and I would go back in a second. We went to Cook's Lobster House. There are also several hotels out there as well if you don't want to stay in Brunswick once S is off to his activities. Portland is also nice, but it is more of a city. Don't get thrown by the Fact these are islands as they are connected by bridges.
    edited May 2013
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  • glidoglido 34 replies1 discussions Junior Member
    What's the best airport to fly into?
    edited May 2013
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  • GvaMomGvaMom 6 replies0 discussions
    Closest is Portland, Maine, it's about 30 miles away.
    edited May 2013
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  • momfrommemomfromme 3 replies0 discussions Junior Member
    From the Brunswick area, I'd say you can either stay in midcoast Maine -- mostly due east -- or go to Portland and stay in the Old Port area. This is often a busy time of year in Maine but it will still be very pretty.
    edited May 2013
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  • keepingitlightkeepingitlight 26 replies1 discussions
    So happy the thread got started! Thanks for the heads up about the hotels.....My head wasn't even close to that sort of detail yet. I'm hoping some parents of athletes chime in......I'm guessing my son will have to be there earlier in August for preseason training and I'm not sure how all of that fits in. And if anyone has had a student who did the Bowdoin Science Experience program instead of the traditional orientation programs - I'd love to hear feedback about that.
    edited May 2013
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  • wolevenwoleven 1 replies0 discussions Forum Champion
    I am not sure about other sports,but cross-country practice does not start until the first day of classes.
    edited May 2013
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  • itsallgood1itsallgood1 6 replies1 discussions Forum Champion
    Snail mail packet arrived yesterday for S with information about forms to complete and submit electronically via Blackboard. Information about Arrival Day is posted on the website. Looks like the Inn At Brunswick Station is booked for 8/27, although truth be told I think I'll be ready to head out of town once 4PM rolls around...might be too depressed to be within the Town of Brunswick proper!
    edited May 2013
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  • royal73royal73 2 replies0 discussions
    keepingitlight -- My S started in 2010 as a Fall sport athlete. He heard late spring or early summer from his team's trainer with summer training/fitness routines, and from the team captains or an asst. coach about practice clothing to order over the summer. NESCAC is quite serious about limitations on off-season training and nothing official started until the weekend before non-Fall-athlete returning students were allowed back on campus. To allow the first year team members to bond with the returning team members, though, some of the families who lived fairly close together opened their homes to the guys for a few days before that. Totally low key, unofficial, and voluntary, with no coaches or workouts on campus allowed, it was a great introduction to the other guys. The only drawback was that because it conflicted with the pre-O trips, S had to choose to go on a trip or get to know his teammates. He (and all the other recruited players) chose to skip the pre-O trip, but it was a shame he couldn't do both as he would have loved to. I think it's great that the trips are mandatory now and I assume Fall teams that had similar unofficial bonding activities are making adjustments.
    edited May 2013
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  • royal73royal73 2 replies0 discussions
    Re post-drop off dinner -- Cook's Lobster House is a good choice --try to drive out while it's still light, but if you really want to get a jump on your 500-mile south drive home, I suggest saving Cook's for another time (like Family Weekend in Oct.) and driving the 35 min. down to Portland. Unfortunately, I can't recommend any particular places to eat or stay in Portland (we usually stay in Freeport, about 400 mi. from our home in NJ), but I'm sure others can or you can find plenty of info online. My S and his girlfriend often drive to Portland for weekend dinners and parents I know stay there when visiting their kids at Bowdoin. Portland has lots of great restaurants; I just haven't been to any since the late 70s!
    edited May 2013
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