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Friday, April 1, 2011

Upon completion of the first semester…

Time is a funny thing. While the first steps of preparing for orientation seem so long ago, I can’t help but feel like I blinked my eye, and I have completed my first semester… And oh, what a semester it was.

As I was searching for schools, my uncle kept telling me I would find the perfect place, if I were willing to put the work into it. He also told me that college would be the best time of my life. Now, I had heard stories about what his college experience was like – attending a very traditional institution of higher education, and getting into all sorts of crazy shenanigans. When I finally committed to Prescott College, I knew it was going to be an amazing experience (hence my decision to attend…), and I knew it was going to be quite the adventure. However, I was a little apprehensive about entering it expecting to have “the best time of my life”, especially seeing as I was going to be embarking on a very different educational path than the big lecture halls, big crowds, big party scene.

However, I feel confident in saying – yes, I am having the best time of my life… and it is meaning more than I could have ever imagined, and I am going to take this opportunity to briefly touch on why:

If I have taken anything away from this first semester, it is not only the lessons I have learned in my classes (which have been PHENOMINAL, for the record), but also the lessons that come with life… And I know… This is sounding super corny, but stick with me, this stuff is important.

I came into Prescott College, not knowing anyone – and I am sure that is going to be the case for many first time students. I also came in with a little added sense of confidence, because I graduated early, and had already lived away from my family. I somehow thought I would be exempt from the awkward transition pains that are really, to be expected (which was not the case, for the record). I learned a lot about myself, my relationships to others, the reality behind the first impression – which goes hand in hand with the power of our own self-consciousness and the ways in which we react to those around us.

I found out about study habits, class engagement, keeping healthy, prioritizing ones own needs…

I know this all seems like very “normal” stuff that would happen at any college but I am addressing this because these “normal” things are addressed differently at Prescott College. Things like study habits will come with time, but since the classes are integrated with lots of grade levels, and are small groups of students, you can learn from those around you (and all are more than willing to help). As far as class engagement goes, your presence is known, and your contributions are valuable. If you don’t do a reading for your class, it is not like you are going to “get in trouble”, but the greatest thing about these learning environments, is you (or I have) realized that when not doing the work, you are ultimately letting yourself and the class down in some sort of way.
What I am really trying to get at is the support and community I have felt here, and the ways in which that has empowered me to take control of my own direction of learning. The process of learning ones own limits, and the ways in which you can seek out support to meet goals extend way beyond college life. And I feel so lucky to enter into the next semester with the tools and resources I have tapped into, the connections I have made, and the confidence that I have embodied post semester one.

It was quite the ride and I am happy to say my feet are on the ground, and I feel at home.

-Hannah Jean Marshall

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