Students from across campus recently gathered together in MacMillan House, one of Bowdoin’s eight College Houses, for the second annual Polar Bear Tales. Polar Bear Tales is a student event inspired by The Moth, a nonprofit that presents live storytelling performances across the country and abroad.
This year’s Polar Bear Tales featured seven students telling stories based on the theme “A Time I had an Epiphany.”
Hailey Beaman 18, a current resident of Mac House, organized the event and introduced each of the storytellers. Mac House provided coffee, tea and homemade cookies, and lit the event with cheerful Christmas lights.
Katherine Kirk ’18 told the first story about the time that she, as one of her high school’s leaders, was tapped to give a commencement speech. At the graduation ceremony, she spoke about the importance of self-forgiveness. On the day of the event, due to a misunderstanding, Kirk’s final, polished copy of her remarks was replaced with a much older draft. After reading what she perceived to be a much inferior speech, Kirk was devastated. Later, after someone complimented her performance, she realized that she must live by the message she had preached.
Following Kirk, Nick Benson ’17 told a story about his his uncle, who passed away after suffering from many years of substance abuse. To commemorate the life of his uncle, for whom fishing had been a favorite pastime, Benson took a fishing trip with his family. Following the trip, Benson said he understood that “even hard lives can be good.”
During his turn, Jacob Russell ’17 spoke of an adventurous Halloween night with his friends in New York City, while Hugo Hentoff ’19 discussed his relationship with baseball and self-consciousness. Logan House ’17 talked about overcoming the sophomore slump. Andrew Cawley ’17 described to a laughing audience how he embraced his “weirdness” at The Mountain School. Finally, Lillian Eckstein ’18 finished off the event with a story about tackling loneliness during her summer internship in Peru and “learning to build [her] own space the way [she] wanted to.”
After the event, storytellers and attendees stayed behind to mingle and discuss the stories. MacMillan House representatives say that Mac House intends to host another Polar Bear Tales event soon.