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Friday, January 13, 2012

Home

It’s a funny thing to go home for the holidays, only to come back home for college. How can this be? It depends on one’s definition of home. Mine is anywhere I can leave and know that I’ll be able to return, a place where I’m welcome, and a place that’s healthy. That’s what my apartment in Prescott feels like. Yes, the kitchen sink is clogged, but it’s still my kitchen sink. It’s the one kitchen sink in the whole world that loves me above all others.
            Prescott tends to be very comfortable. Not completing assignments on time is uncomfortable, and it gets kind of cold at night, but otherwise, it’s like a big, broken in couch. I was anxious to come back. Going home reminded me of why I came here in the first place: to surround myself with calm and stability so that I can actually study what I’m trying to learn. Before I decided to come here, I couldn’t imagine choosing a college outside of the New York metro. The truth is, in NYC I would never have gotten anything done but get myself into trouble. I came instead to a beautiful resort town surrounded by mountains and national forest in the high desert. This was, in the words of my grandmother, a wise decision. I agree.
            It’s my belief that many of the students here came for similar reasons. This is a place of focus, and the college community leaves me without want of sociality. Every morning this block, I’ve been sitting in a big circle of chairs, composed of the instructor, thirteen other students, and me. We’ve been reading Woolf and Orwell, and lesser-known writers such as Judy Blunt, John McPhee, and Ian Frazier. The class is Sense of Place: A Writing and Reading Workshop. Next week, we’ll be traveling to Agua Fria National Monument—about an hour away by van—to spend four hours writing in the open air. Our instructor was a Truman Capote Literary Trust fellow to the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, where he earned his MFA. It’s brilliant to know that the man teaching my class has studied writing with some of the most promising young writers in America. The students studying with me are also no disappointment. Reading aloud pieces they’ve written during ten-minute in-class nonfiction exercises, they have astonished me with both their talent and their lived experience. I look forward to reading the work they’ll spend hours writing.
            I have no desire to go back to New England right now. Don’t get me wrong; I love my friends and family dearly, but for the next few months, I’m all Arizona.

-Estin Vogel, 01.13.2012

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Put Yourself Out There

 I first heard of Prescott College through a good friend of mine who genuinely talked of finally finding herself in a place she completely felt at home, a place that she felt grounded. Not being satisfied with my present situation, I took a look at this school myself. The description of Prescott’s experiential method of teaching seemed to be written as a tactical approach to infiltrate my mind with knowledge and awareness. I then excitedly applied, got accepted and after getting past my inherent skepticism that typically accompanies any big decision in my life, enrolled for the fall term. I took a leap of faith and trusted that Prescott College would help me to flourish and channel my ambition to learn and explore in a stronger direction than any ever before. I can now honestly say that I am amazed on a daily basis by how at home, grounded and a part of something I feel here at Prescott. Not to mention my amazement of the beautiful natural surroundings.
            I have always been one to explore. My interests range from creative improvisational dance and performance to the hard science and politics of our world food systems all the way to outdoor recreational endeavors. Luckily for me, Prescott’s provides me with the ability to explore the many facets of my interests and self though their diverse curriculum. Some of these passions and interests such as Dance, I didn’t even know I had until I enrolled in a class this past semester. As a result, I’ve discovered a beautiful new means of self-expression and creativity. I plan to pursue more performance opportunities in the future.
            As much as I may preach to explore all your interests, a common worry among students and a lot of parents is staying on track and sticking to a reliable path in ones education to insure graduation, “success”, a job, ect. To me, staying on track from the start implies that the student has a solid idea of what exactly they want to do and they stick to a narrow path to accomplish it. Although this may work for some, for others including myself, the problem with this sort of templated, “one size fits all” sort of education does not take into consideration the new doors and opportunities that can be opened as a result of exploring. Once again, the fact that I attend Prescott College, a school that works with students to accomplish their own specific goals, is serving me greatly. Here at Prescott you have the ability to direct yourself, your learning and what exactly you want your degree to say. You direct your education every step of the way, to in the end, have created a perfect experience for yourself that caters to your individual passions and ambitions. How would you ever know your limits or where you may ultimately thrive the most unless you test all the potential waters?
            Along with exploration and risk-taking comes the inevitable “mistakes” as well. I would however, not consider any interests I have chosen to explore and then later realized I’m not exactly passionate about mistakes. For everything I’ve pursued and the classes I’ve chosen to take that I’ve later decided to pursuer no further, I’ve gained a whole new level of awareness in that area. Whether that awareness was because of a realization as to why I’m not interested in this after all or because it may be applicable to my everyday life but not my degree plan is irrelevant. Either way, I learned and critically examined whatever it was that I was faced with. I gained awareness and knowledge that has contributed to the overall development of my whole self. To my understanding, this is the ultimate goal of not only education but also life. So go ahead, take a chance. Put yourself out there, see what happens and reflect on it. Really, what do you have to lose? Take advantage of the opportunities you have and trust yourself, being the strong individual that you are that you’ll piece all the separate parts together while expanding your awareness everyday.

-Ross Sullivan, 01/12/2012