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Monday, October 25, 2010

Life is a Journey, Not a Series of Destinations

There are so many amazing classes here. And, they are very different from what I have encountered anywhere else. What I do when choosing classes is mainly look for a professor that I want to work with. This is because research has noted that the most important aspect of any classroom is not the material, but the facilitator. Yes, the content must be interesting to us, but if the teacher cannot convey what is effective in terms of useful skills and information, then what is the point of even being there. 
Most classes at Prescott College are discussion based, but this does not mean that professors don’t participate to the fullest of their abilities. The idea behind having a professor in the classroom is to bring out the conversation, and share ideas that have been shown to be effective. To me, a professor should not be standing at the front of the room, while we take notes. Studies have shown that when we become engaged within a conversation, more is learned, rather than when we are just listening. It is by asking questions that matter to us, than learning and development happen. For what is development, but connecting a series of ideas and relationships. 
I have heard, that many prospective students, and before exploring further, find this school to be more geared toward Adventure Education and Environmental Studies. This is just not the case. All programs we offer are very strong, with faculty who are committed to their work and facilitating the growth of others. I see them more as co-workers than pedestal goers. We have programs committed to social justice issues, shakespearean literature, systematics of seed plants, skiing in Alaska, the craft of the short story, environmental politics, ecology of war and peace, environmental perspectives and whitewater rafting, figure drawing of nudes, rock climbing and geology, sustainable building design, massage, yoga teacher training, environmental policy in China, U.S.-Mexico Border Studies, form and pattern in nature, counseling skills, public art, you get the idea. 
We are not just a shred the gnar kind of school, nor is everyone running around barefoot, but there are both of those communities here, and many more. Prescott College is filled with an extremely diverse amount of ideologies, lifestyles, and energies. This school attracts people from all walks of life. From dredded out people with bells in their hair, to the most exact scientists I have ever known. There are student writers who win national awards, and white-water rafting guides who live out of their trucks. You will never feel like you don’t belong, this is because, to me, we have an extraordinarily diverse population of people who are passionate about what they do, and how they intend to do it. 
In summary, this school is academically and emotionally challenging, although I have never studied for a test, or crammed for a mid-term. We are asked more of ourselves than this; we must show to others that what we have learned is truly meaningful to us through presentations, essays, and art projects. And, that we will be tested on the material for the rest of our lives. Going to school at Prescott College is a demanding task that takes concentration, organization, and many other skills that are developed over time, but I have never felt any of the work was tedious. Even though some assignments are quite challenging, there has never been the feeling that what I am doing is meaningless. As the amazing educator Kurt Hahn once noted, “Every challenge is an opportunity,” and every opportunity at Prescott College is part of the exploration of ourselves, others, and the biosphere. 
If you are confused about what school to give four years too, consider that life is an ongoing journey, not a series of destinations where we eventually arrive. As the seasons change, there is no time when we wake up and arrive at winter, everyday is filled with a process toward growth and decomposition.
As the song by The Flaming Lips goes, 
“Do you realize? The sun doesn’t go down, it’s just the world spinning round.”
And when it comes to exploring Prescott College further, ask the question of what you need in a school and let the journey flow. 

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