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Friday, April 29, 2011

Competences, like produce, can grow organically.

Talk to any Prescott College student and they will have a story about how they chose their competence. For some, the answer was simple and obvious, like knowing you have to peel a banana in order to get to the fruit inside. For others, the choice manifested itself in other ways. Some danced around different ideas before settling down and choosing just one. Others might have had an epiphany in a class completley unrelated to anything they ever imagined studying and some, like myself, saw their competence evolve and grow into something completley new and before realizing it, had declared a competence in a completely different program than they had initially begun.
I began my journey at Prescott College in the Fall of 2008 with the intent of studying Marine Conservation. I fell in love with the Environmental Studies Department at Prescott College that first year and found myself devouring course after course with a hearty appetite for academia. My second year gave me wiggle room to explore possible areas for my breadth and I focused on Social Jusice, taking classes in both Peace and Gender Studies. What I found in these classes was my incredible passion for social justice, and while buried in theory and student activist work, felt I had found a second home.
Not wanting to release my dream of a competence in Environmental Studies, and having now realized a passion for Social Justice, I knew I had only one option--Double major, of course! I spent the remainder of my second year at Prescott College taking interdisciplinary classes in many of the different program areas and logging in a significant amount of hours in the Advising Center. It was then, after many long taks with Heather Knowles, the head of Advising, that I realized I wanted to teach about social justice and environmental issues. I wanted to talk about what I was learning at Prescott College! I began creating my degree plan towards a dual-copetence in Environmental Education, and a self-designed major called "Culture, Power, and Consciousness Studies".
Creating and designing my own competence gave me leave to plan a degree however I wanted. I combined Social Justice Education with Cultural & Regional Studies, Adolescent Studies, and Psychology & Human Development to create my own unique major, specific to my area of interest.
Environmental Education led me to the Education program at Prescott College and in taking classes about Environmental Education, Experential and Expeditionary Learning, I have realized my passion for teaching. I am currently pursuing my teaching certification and am hoping to teach in public schools (grades 7-12) upon my graduation.
The best part about it is, not only have I realized my true passion, but it came about in a way so unique to Prescott College. I have been supported in my educational journey every step of the way--by caring and compassionate faculty and instructors--and by the college itself. No other school would have allowed me such a path. I believe that one of the best parts about Prescott College is the fact that it is an experiential school. We get to participate hands-on in our area of study right away...we aren't taking a bunch of pointless pre-requisite classes that keep us out of the field for two years...If I wasn't "practicing" in my field from the get-go, I might not have realized my competence might not have evolved...and I might, just now, be starting to figure out where my true heart lies...and by then, it might have been too late.
I am so incredibly thankful to have found a school like Prescott College because, as corny as it my sound, it helped me find myself.
By Sydnie Bonin

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