A fanciful guide to a fun-filled May term

A fanciful guide to a fun-filled May term

by Dave Morain

This campus is about to undergo a swift change of epic proportions.

Every year, for the three weeks during May Term, Simpson switches gears from a temple of academia to “Animal House II: Flounder’s Revenge”.

This is not to say that no learning goes on during this time; every May Term class allows students to grow and enrich their lives in a number of different ways. However, class is not why May Term is so cherished.

To make the most out of your free time, I have compiled a short compendium of various tips that I have learned either from experience or from other students. If you follow these simple rules you can almost be guaranteed a thoroughly enjoyable May Term.


Many classes start at unholy times… like 8:30. These early learning sessions will probably not be conducive to your extracurricular activities. Therefore, you owe it to yourself to gain extra hours of much needed rest by splitting your sleeping pattern in two.

Eight hours of sleep is about right for the average person. Try the “Four-Eight Plan”: get four at night (4:00 – 8:00 am) and then again in the afternoon before you go out (4:00 – 8:00 pm). This will leave you plenty of time to play in the afternoon sun while reserving energy for late night shenanigans.


This is the only time at school that you will have very little responsibility during the daytime. Therefore, go outside for prolonged periods of time. Guys: Play dunk ball, sand volleyball, go fishing, or get together with your buddies and grill out.

Gals: Go running, have a water fight, or simply lay out in the sun. Remember ladies: By wearing less clothing you make it easy to get rid of those unsightly tan lines!

At any rate, you have to spend most, if not all, of your daytime hours outside in the nice weather. Don’t just lie on your couch watching MTV.


If you are like any normal college student, you will fall into two distinct categories: 1) You have been saving money all year by living off ramen noodles and dining hall gruel, leaving you plenty to play with at the end, or 2) You like eating at fast food places, you have a penchant for impulse buying online, or you have a significant other.

If you fall into the former, you will have a great May Term. The heft of your purse will allow you to eat everyday at any of Indianola’s fine restaurants, take trips to Des Moines for mini-golf or spending sprees at Best Buy, and/or forget the sorrows of the year at the bar.

If you fall into the latter, however, you can still do all of the things discussed above. You will just have to pay it off during the summer. Either way, make sure that money does not factor into your allotment for enjoying May Term and all that it has to offer.

Leaving Campus

OK, don’t be stupid here. You have three weeks left until your have to leave your friends for the stark reality of a summer job.

You have a significant other somewhere else? You’ll see him or her in three weeks… deal with it. All your friends from big universities are having a party at your hometown? You have all summer to have fun with them.

Your sister had a baby? Send a teddy bear and a card. The baby won’t know who you are anyway. The point is that you need to spend these three weeks here at Simpson. For some of you, this will be a dramatic change, but I have faith in you.


Whether you are leaving the country or simply taking a trip down south, you have to follow a few simple guidelines. Get to know the people that are on the trip with you. Even if you’ve never met these people before, you are stuck with them. If you don’t make friends, your trip will be a bigger disappointment than “Phantom Menace”.

Spend your money wisely, especially if you are using foreign currency. It is no fun to find out you purchased a trinket for the equivalent of $350. Bring a credit card so you won’t run out of cash. Also, though you may be a minor here in the states, chances are pretty good that you will qualify for the legal age in another country. While this will probably be a welcome change that you will want to take full advantage of, don’t try to close the bar down every night.

For one thing, you will be visiting some really cool places during the day that you won’t want to be hung over for. Another reason is that the beer that they serve will probably be a lot stronger than what we have here. Having a couple of Busch Lights in your dorm room is nothing compared to tipping back a few Guinness stouts with the Irish locals.


This brings me to the final and most important aspect of May Term. From time to time, you may find yourself with an alcoholic beverage in your hand. Don’t panic, this is a perfectly normal side effect of May Term.

The best thing to do if confronted with this circumstance is to drink the libation, then calmly reach for another. The trick to May Term is knowing when to drink and when not to. After class? Good idea. During class? Bad idea. On the golf course? Definitely. At College Hall? Definitely not. At the lake? Yes. In the library? Well, tell me why you are at the library during May Term in the first place.

The point is, drinking beer or rum and coke or anything else that might sound appealing on an ordinary Tuesday is bound to happen. What makes May Term fun or not is making good decisions. If you are underage, don’t get stupid and try to get into the bar with your dad’s ID. Just hang out with your friends. If you are already drunk, don’t be dumb and decide to drive to the store for more. Get a sober friend to do it for you. Safety is of the utmost importance during a three-week stint where everything seems like a good idea.