Conflict between school and Burning Man

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Conflict between school and Burning Man

Post by zevezev » Mon May 04, 2015 5:31 pm

I have never been before but it is my dream to go and I'd like to start in the next few years. However my college's first semester will most likely conflict with Burning Man time. I'm not the first to have this problem, so how did you guys get around it? Is it okay to only go half the time or did you just skip the first week of classes?
thanks so much!

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Re: Conflict between school and Burning Man

Post by Drawingablank » Mon May 04, 2015 6:12 pm

My son dealt with this by meeting with the teachers ahead of time and then getting up to speed fast on his return. Your mileage may vary.
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Re: Conflict between school and Burning Man

Post by trilobyte » Mon May 04, 2015 7:39 pm

Hi and welcome to the site and all, I'm giving this a nudge to the Q&A board since that's a better fit for this kind of discussion.

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Re: Conflict between school and Burning Man

Post by digital » Mon May 04, 2015 7:47 pm

Burning Man will be around after college. Don't feel pressured to go immediately. Wait until there is no conflict.

Some feel the first week of classes is the most critical. It can set the tone for the rest of the quarter*/semester.

*If you are on the quarter system I would strongly advise class over BM.

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Re: Conflict between school and Burning Man

Post by Ratty » Mon May 04, 2015 9:24 pm

Those aren't buttermilk biscuits I'm lying on Savannah

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Re: Conflict between school and Burning Man

Post by Savannah » Wed May 06, 2015 1:14 am

Thank you, Ratty! :)
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Re: Conflict between school and Burning Man

Post by CyanEssence » Mon May 11, 2015 1:51 am

I've done this a few times. I spoke with my professors, told them I had plans to go camping in Nevada, that I had been saving up and making plans all summer, and that I was really devoted to going. I asked them if I could make up any exams/tests that I might miss, and if they said I couldn't make them up, I let them know that I was convinced that I would still do well in the class with a zero on said exams/tests.

Fortunately, I live in San Francisco, and so far, all of my professors have said something along the lines of, "Camping in Nevada? Are you going to Burning Man?" And then went on about how they have a cousin/friend/uncle/son/etc who goes, and how they think it is such a wonderful and creative thing we do out there. They have, so far, all let me take my exams either before or after the Burn. Study as much as you can before you go, get ahead. I've even heard of people getting the text and syllabus in the summer, and getting ahead really early.

I have had other teachers say that they would rather not hear why people are not coming to class, and to just tell them you'll be out. So it does depend on the teacher. One such teacher seemed to have had a negative experience with a Burner, someone who went to the Burn, and later dropped the course - probably not so great for our reputation in the wider world.

Keeping on top of things after returning from the Burn is another matter entirely, so be prepared for that as well. I remember trying to learn all of the bones in the human body after getting back, and it was challenging to do on top of coping with the post-playa blues. It was physically uncomfortable, because of a combination of high-stress and low-sleep, and it took me about 2-3 weeks to get fully caught up. Again, made all the more difficult because I was coming off a week on the playa. My advice here would be, take it easy on your body and mind on the playa, you do have to deal with deafultia and its many and varied obligations when you return.

For the record, I got A's in all my classes, in addition to going to Burning Man. It was hard, but it was worth it.

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Re: Conflict between school and Burning Man

Post by GonzoGourmand » Mon May 18, 2015 8:04 pm

Drop out and you'll save on tuition and your lifetime, one week of which you can spend at Burning Man and the rest you can spending living elsewhere.

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Re: Conflict between school and Burning Man

Post by mgb327 » Tue May 19, 2015 5:06 am

Knowing what I know now, school is vastly over-rated. Relax and enjoy the freefall. Most important thing here is trying to be "normal" when you get back. Very difficult. Just answering the phone, driving, or going to the store is confusing enough.
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Re: Conflict between school and Burning Man

Post by SnowBlind » Thu May 21, 2015 12:59 pm

A Berkeley student who was facing the same issue wrote a piece for the Student newspaper called :

My Grandmother is Planning to Die During the First Week of Classes

Its quite hillarious. You can find the whole thing with the introduction here: ... asses.html
My Grandmother is Planning to Die During the First Week of Classes By Matthew Taylor

Dearest Professors to whom it may concern,

For the third time in three years, my grandmother is planning to die during the week leading into and including Labor Day. In fact, her funeral pyre will be lit at approximately 9 p.m. on Saturday, August 30th, at which time 30,000 of my closest friends will join me in mourning as her remains are charred into a 40 foot tall column of flame illuminating a moonless sky over the Nevada desert.

This, of course, means that I will miss the entirety of the first week of classes. As I have done in years past, I am writing this letter to ask that you hold my place in your class. I hope you, as many instructors have before, will show compassion and understanding for my week of grief and grant this highly unusual request.

I realize it inconveniences you that grandmothers of thousands of UC Berkeley students all simultaneously die at this time every year, depriving you of the opportunity to orient students, confirm enrollees, and churn through the waiting list during the first week of fall classes. I understand how frustrated you must feel with the administration's continued apathy, indifference, and insensitivity to the grief and sorrow felt by this significant percentage of the campus population, who are forced to miss out on higher educational opportunities, every year, without fail, because of how very, very much they love their grandmothers. I know that every year, you probably band together to lobby Sproul to push back the start of school to the first Tuesday after Labor Day, and fail in the face of the Orwellian indifference of administrators who continue to believe that the first loyalty of students is to their institution, not their family.

As I am sure you know, attending a funeral is a somber affair, devoid of any fun or creative expression. Nothing is more serious than a funeral. Most of the attendees are dressed head-to-toe in black, muted garb; none are ever clad in multi-colored peacock suits, body paint, mud, or nothing in all. They never run behind water trucks screaming with laughter, practice Yoga with 80 other people under a shade structure, explore massive hedge mazes, ride their bicycles in random directions around a playa, or bump into a friendly "love ranger" who can attend to all their love emergencies.

At my grandmother's annual funeral, there is little in the way of conversation, much less community building - no chance of meeting about 200 new friends in a dance camp, participating in a community grey-water recycling project, building a theme camp of like-minded mourners or even a village of similarly bereaved theme camps, or getting spanked on the ass by a "Greeter."

To add insult to injury, at my grandmother's tragic annual funeral, there is no artwork. No giant, 30-foot-tall statues of naked women moaning in ecstasy, no art installations that are testament to the fallacy of consumer culture, no glowing, flashing lilly pads, no massive temple so intricately crafted you'd think it was the eighth wonder of the world.

And if all that wasn't bad enough, the worst part of grandmother's funeral is: no gifts. NONE! Can you believe it? I mean, gramma DIED for chrissakes, you'd think someone would have the forethought to introduce some sort of "gift economy" which would inspire attendees to give gifts from their heart to strangers with no expectation of return. Yup, that means no one handing out banana bread to strangers, no free drinks on roving "art cars" with bars straight out of the Mos Eisley cantina, no giving pedicures to anyone whose feet are chapped, and, horror of horrors, no free grilled cheese sandwiches at smut shacks.

Yes, my grandmother's funeral is such a morbid affair it's beyond belief, and worst of all it interferes with my college education. Have pity on me, and the world. Hopefully, this year, she won't be standing erect on a massive platform, naked and barren in all her wooden glory, with brilliant neon lights wrapped around her carcass and her arms raised as if calling to the gods for deliverance, before we burn, baby, burn.

- Berkeley Undergrad's Remorse Never Is Neglecting Grandmother's Merry Abundant Neofestival

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Re: Conflict between school and Burning Man

Post by rideincircles » Thu May 21, 2015 1:39 pm

I waited until I was done with school before attempting to go to the playa. I finished my bachelors last fall and got my tickets this spring. It was always something I wanted to be a part of, but the commitment is tough since I need 2 weeks off and have been taking senior level classes the past few years. Going to the desert while in school can be done, but life is probably much easier without that hassle.

I may go back for my masters next year, but am playing it by ear.

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