This year my birthday fell on a Sunday, and my family came to Conn for most of the day. It’s a two-hour drive from my house in Northampton, Massachusetts, so while I see my family often, we agree that none of us needs to constantly schlep between New London and Northampton. However, my parents always drive to the College to celebrate my birthday with me.

I’m terrible at making birthday plans. For my birthday, I always want to do something significant, but at the same time I don’t want to overdo it. When my parents asked me what I wanted to do I suggested that we go to Mystic, a beautiful seaside village about 15 minutes from campus that students and their families often visit.

My parents surprised me by taking me out for lunch at the Oyster Club, a casual fine dining restaurant in Mystic. Naturally they specialize in oysters, but they also serve other sea and “farm” food, all locally sourced. After lunch, we strolled through the beautiful village, stopping at the book and toy stores. While we were in the toy store, I heard the sound of bells. It turned out that the drawbridge in the center of town was being raised to allow a tiny motorboat through. This was very entertaining until we walked to the car and realized that we couldn’t leave until the bridge was lowered again!

We drove back to campus, but our celebration wasn’t over yet. Rather than take a left off of Mohegan Avenue to get back to my dorm, we took a right toward the College Athletic Center. It turned out my family had brought our ice skates, so we could go skating at the College’s ice rink. My mom clued me in to what we were doing by saying that I’d “get in for free.” The skating was really fun, and a wonderful ending to the day. As an added bonus my parents left my skates with me, so that I can go skating whenever I want, which might be quite soon since the arena hosts open skate for the College every weekday during lunch as well as on Sunday afternoons in winter!

While it’s nice to celebrate your birthday at home, what I like about celebrating here at the College is that I can do it whatever way I choose. I like doing something special, but I also enjoy having some down time. Here at Conn I can do both by spending time with friends and family and lounging in my dorm.

Pictured below: Me waving goodbye to my parents from the campus bridge, a birthday tradition.