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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

Friday, April 15, 2011

Creativity, Music, and Art! Oh, my!

Prescott College as a bunch of incredibly artsy students - from glass blowing, to sculpting, to poetry, to dance. A question I get consistently is - "Well where is Prescott College's music program?". If you are having a similar concern, it is understandable. Music, for me anyway, seems to serve as part of the vital life force that runs through my body. Growing up in Boulder, Colorado I volunteered at Radio 1190, an independent, alternative station. I was always surrounded with new music, and people who were very passionate about keeping up to date with what was what... heading down to Denver to see an array of shows every week. That was my music scene growing up... I never played an instrument (well, clarinet in middle school band, but that did not stick for too long). My roommate on the other hand, grew up playing guitar, piano, singing... She brought hand drums, the key board, two guitars, a banjo, a tambourine, a violin, a harmonica... And let me tell you, she plays them all (for better or for worse).

There are some extremely talented musicians here, and people are very open and supportive, and ultimately create some amazing sounds. I was very impressed.

Whether it is sitting around in a friends living room playing music, or sitting and listening, maybe a house show in someones basement or yard, getting yourself to The Raven or Coyote Joe's (for those of you who may be 21), or driving to Flagstaff or Phoenix for a concert or music festival... You will not have to worry about a lack of music in your life.

-Hannah Jean Marshall

Friday, April 1, 2011

What You'll Find Here

Prescott College students don't make much of small talk, we like to take it to another level.

Walk around campus and you'll find yourself pulled into different conversations concerning philosophy, cross
country backpacking, black dwarfs and solar flares, or even the latest in sustainable agriculture. The wide spectrum of people and the many colors of topics will mesmerize you. Consider Danny, who leads daily Tai Chi sessions in the courtyard. Sometimes quiet genius, spark him on a topic concerning philosophy or medical massage and you'll come away in awe of all you've learned. Visit Seesea at the campus HUB, where "Humans Understand Bicycles", and build your own bike from donated parts. This world wise traveling kid who has been inspired by Prescott College to put down roots can tell you anything you need to know about bikes, all while rubbing off wisdom that can only come with extensive traveling with only a pack on his back. Or chat with Rebecca, one of the writers for the Raven Review, our local paper, who can school you on methods of writing or turn you on to amazing ethnic music, from Gypsy Rock to Flamenco. Or Jordan, whose walk just fairly breathes yoga and who can scale huge rock walls in seconds, but who will catch you deeply with his talk of working with students at the local elementary school and his plans for volunteering at an orphanage in central america this summer. Don't forget Sarah, cute as a button and toughest River Rafting Guide you'll meet. Or Tiberius, flame-haired permaculture and ecovillage guru. The list goes on and on. That's what you'll find here, incredible people coming together for incredible purposes.

When it came down to picking a college, Prescott College's extensive array of interesting classes was the hook. The experience of the faculty, who are among the best in their fields, drove the hook deeper. What really drove everything home, though, was the culture and wonderful intensity of all of the different people who come together to keep Prescott College thriving. The students here are beyond their years, clearly able to pull themselves out of the "box" that at times leaves us wanting. To tell you there is no college like Prescott College is an understatement. The energy and people of Prescott College make this school at the forefront of the positive change and progression of our world.

Why not see what Prescott College can help you make of your own incredible potential?

~Brittany "Davi" Davis

Keepin’ On the Sunny Side…

It is a beautiful day here in Prescott, Arizona. The sun is shining brightly, and it has been all week. The birds are chirping, the trees are budding, the flowers are blooming, and sundresses, shorts and sandals are popping up all over campus.

After 10 days in California for Spring Break, I experienced a lot of rain. I came home hoping for a little sunshine to help launch me back into classes, but it seemed like I brought the storm with me, but within a day, the sun started to break through the density of cloud, and I really started to feel the seasons transform.

Spring inspires a lot of things – cleaning, getting outside, and being especially social… There is just something in the air. I caught the spring sunshine flurry of excitement and immediately started to run again, clean up, get on top of my homework (in the midst of the great outdoors temptation).

It really got me to thinking… was my sprit of productivity a result of the changing seasons? I have felt so wonderful these past 2 weeks: so on top of my stuff. I really wanted to capture the essence of whatever was driving me so I could continue to hold on to, metaphorically, the sunshine even on the cooler days.

I really began to realize the power we each have over our disposition. See, last week could have been considered a not so great week. I had a series of fairly stressful and unfortunate events that could have really dampened my mood, but whenever anyone asked how I was doing, I could honestly answer, “Wonderfully, it is a beautiful day”.

It is getting to the almost 2 week mark of externally beautiful days… Kind of to the point where the oddity of leaving the puffy jacket at home has mildly worn off, and things start to seem like “business as usual”. In all honesty, I don’t want to go back to “business as usual”. I also don’t want to fall in to the trap of looking towards the summer and loosing the amazing moment and opportunity we have at this exceptional school.

I am writing this long winded reflection on the excitement of spring, mainly to say that the key I found to personally succeed here, is finding what makes you feel good, and productive, successful and happy, and hold that close. Keep it in mind, and find ways to insure you continue to carry that essence though your daily life. The power in finding the beauty in each moment, in each assignment, in each new nugget of learning helps carry each of us through the difficult moments that present themselves.

So while you may be getting ready for finals, or feeling the excitement of summer, or stressing about which school you think you would like to attend, start to look for the things that bring a smile to your face, and remind you that it’s a beautiful day.

-Hannah Jean Marshall

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