An Extracurricular Activity in 1,000 Characters Pt. 1

Construction Work in The Hamptons

by Nick Jacobson

The Hamptons: glamour, celebrities, parties, and… manual labor. Many people go to the Hamptons to vacation, but I spent my time there working for a construction company. I started the day with a white shirt that was always brown by the day’s end. For two summers, I worked ten- to twelve-hour days nailing in mahogany porches, painting garages lime green, and emptying out cobweb-infested sheds. I worked alongside older men for whom English was not the first language. When I returned to the comfort of Dalton in the fall, I understood that two hours of reading Native Son is an opportunity so far from the reality of the life of Bigger Thomas. Education frees me from Bigger’s world, as well as the tough lives of many of the friends I made on the job. For me, this work was a summer experience that gave me extra spending bucks. For my coworkers, this job provided financial support for their families. Not much glamour there.

Nicholas Jacobson just finished his freshman year at Northwestern and is a 2102 graduate of The Dalton School in New York, NY.