Finding the Right Balance

Vivian Sun '18, Opinions Section Editor

Having just gone on the recent junior US History class trip to Philadelphia, I began to feel nostalgic of elementary and middle school days, when field trips were plentiful in my education. Reminiscing made me wonder: What exactly could be called a “field trip,” anyways? Do Peddie’s termly Broadway trips, for example, fall under that category?

I classify field trips in the strictest sense of the term: an educational outing organized by Peddie, (generally) mandatory for students to attend and open only to some. That knocks the Culture Buses and the Broadway musical trips out, as those are optional and open to all. The US History trip to Philadelphia, the Arts trips to New York City museums, and the Chinese language classes’ Chinese New Year trips are all open only to students in a certain program or taking a certain class, and are mandatory for them to attend. The Asian Studies trips over the summer and the Biology trip to the Bodyworlds Museum also fit the criteria of my field trip definition. So it seems as though Peddie does have field trips, but what stops us from having more?

After some poking around, I asked Ms. McDermott, coordinator of clubs and activities, for her take on why Peddie doesn’t have more field trips, and her response was that the Peddie schedule is very difficult to coordinate and plan field trips around; there’s a reluctance to take time off from other classes. Being Peddie students, time is a limited commodity, which is something that I’ve learned after two years as a student here. Money is another issue to consider as well – the funding, bus rental, museum ticket cost, and everything else together are not a small expense.

I would personally love to have more field trips because despite the costs, the memories are priceless. During the Philadelphia trip, the educational aspect was certainly there. I went to the Constitution Center and learned about American history, as well as the history of American politics; there was a special election exhibit in anticipation of the upcoming presidential election as well. However, going out with friends for lunch in Chinatown and grabbing bubble tea was definitely the highlight of the trip. It’s difficult to find time to hang out with friends with an increasingly heavy workload as a junior, but the field trip was a great way for me to reconnect with friends who live in other dorms and who I don’t necessarily see as much as I’d like to.

After that’s all said and done, however, I don’t think there’s any other way for us to have more field trips with an educational basis than what already exist. If it was possible, I would create a trip to Washington DC for the government classes, but in reality, the drive down is several hours, one-way, and it would not be worthwhile if it wasn’t an overnight stay; it’s too large of a commitment and too much of an interference with other happenings on campus. Other than this, however, I can’t come up with any more classes that could have an “educational” field trip to a nearby place on an annual basis. As it stands now, the daily life of a Peddie student is hectic enough and needing to play catch-up on missed classes and work is too stressful. The amount of field trips now is sufficient, and although I would love to have more, it’s just not convenient.