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Monday, April 16, 2012

Direct Interactions with Faculty

As a Prescott College student, I believe that one of the most important opportunities and resources that Prescott College students receive is the interaction with their teachers.  These interactions can be extremely powerful in terms of understanding the expectations of the teacher but also further understanding and receiving support.  All faculty members are very approachable and understanding, but it is left up to the student to, not only take ownership of one’s learning, but to meet with faculty and build that relationship.

The first semesters at Prescott College I felt a bit timid about approaching my professors.  I wasn’t sure what to think about them and I was a bit worried of what my professors thought of me. I was used to having a more teacher centered way of learning.  The teachers know the material and teach it, while the student ask questions.  There was only a teacher student relationship and teachers seemed unapproachable after class  to ask questions or find more clarification.  My experience here at Prescott College has changed the way that I look at education and my experience with my teachers. There is a tremendous value in knowing your teachers and having the ability to meet or talk with them frequently in class or outside of class.  

    As I took more classes with teachers I started to further my understanding of their teaching style and their expectations as teachers.   As these understandings grew so did our relationship.  Some of my professors meet me for coffee outside of class.  During these meetings we discuss everything from assignments for class to our thoughts on particular subjects.  I have some of my professors numbers in my phone and I am able to contact them most times if I feel like I need support.  

Building rapport with teachers has been one the most valuable assets that I have developed here at Prescott College.  Some of my greatest learning and understanding has come from conversations with faculty members.  Right now I am completing my senior project, which requires the participation of faculty and administration members.  I have had the tremendous opportunity of meeting with faculty and talk to them about how their programs and individual classes are meeting the learning objectives.  In my interview I am able to ask them a wide spectrum of questions.  The largest take away from my project so far is just how smart these individuals are and where their passions lay.  My biggest advice for first time freshmen and transfer students is MEET WITH YOUR TEACHERS!  Faculty members are the single most valuable resource at this school in my opinion and it is up to you to make those connections and have those conversations.  

~Eric Davis, 04.16.2012

It's a Collage

On the Hotlum-Bolam Ridge atop Mt. Shasta, staring into the gaping bergschrund whose cavernous mouth had gobbled up the morning light and transformed it into a deep Caribbean blue.

In the Sawtooth Mountains, outside of Ketchum, ID, in a yurt, beside a wood-burning stove, filing through my notes on snow science and avalanche rescue, preparing for our ski tour that begins at dawn.

Walking out of class, having just spent two days dissecting Virginia Woolf's Mrs. Dalloway, upset that class is over because we still haven’t said enough about the piece.

Lost with my peers in a mangrove forest in an estuary near Kino Bay, Mexico.  Four hours of scraping through barnacles, climbing atop the mangroves, looking for a way out, laughing throughout the ordeal.

A house packed wall to wall with friends.  A dinner table with sauteed spinach and kale, a leg of lamb, southwestern chili, homemade bread, grilled vegetables, and fried zucchini.  A jam session comprised of a banjo, two guitars, a mandolin, two fiddles, an acoustic base, a washboard base, and a flute.

Too many late nights spent sitting beside the typewriter, coffee and gardettos on the desk, fingers punching hacking away at the keyboard or typewriter, putting my words down on paper, trying to find my story.

Boot-packing up a 1,000 ft. couloir, splitboard strapped to my backpack, anticipating the first run of the season.  Then, after rolling down most of the decent, smiling and loving every minute of it anyway.

Glitter, spandex, face paint, and costumes at a dance party themed after Andy Warhol’s Factory.  The rooms are covered in foil or Campbell’s Soup Posters or glow lights.  There are too many neon colored wigs to count.

Its a collage; a smattering; a strange mish-mash of moments alone, moments in class, and moments with the friends that have become my family.  It’s about doing things I’ve never done before; doing things I will always love doing; about being challenged mentally and physically and emotionally.  And more than anything, it’s about finding the people around you that are going through the same thing; who will become sewn into your bones because of all the struggle, laughter, and unexpected adventures.

~Daniel Roca, 04/2012

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Between the Lines

When I think about some of my favorite moments at Prescott College so far, it’s easy to think of the loud ones: a particularly awesome party, that time Morgoth tried to get all of the incoming students to sing the “baby shark song,” the games I’ve played in classes, the things I’ve heard from other PC students about the cool things they’ve done in class, all of these things are quick to bubble to the surface of my mind.  After those bubbles have popped, though, I’m left with the quiet—though by no means less powerful—moments I’ve had here.

On a climb at Thumb Butte with some friends last fall, after we’d all gotten to the top we sat up there for a little while.  Looking north toward Granite Mountain, I could see the dry hills around Prescott stippled with cacti, the rolling valley in which the town sits, and the huge basin beyond, with its far off canyon walls.  You can only say “oh my god, this is beautiful” so many times before you realize that it will never be enough, eventually giving up and letting the breeze do the talking.

My winter block class was a sense of place reading and writing workshop, so the poems and fiction/nonfiction works we created were influenced heavily by the settings in which they took place.  We drove out to Groom Creek one day to spend some time writing in the field, drawing straight from our surroundings.  We scrambled over boulders, splashing along the edge of the stream still covered with ice in some places, and eventually settled into our own little spaces to write.  I found myself leaning against a huge rock, leaning my head back, listening to the stream and the wind in the leaves overhead.  I thought about my childhood in the woods of Minnesota, playing in streams and pine forests very similar to this one.  The poem I wrote was good enough, but my biggest benefit from that place was the silence I was able to experience.

Yesterday, I decided I would do some homework out in my backyard.  I unrolled my yoga mat over the sandy dirt and took a minute to sit in silence before starting my assigned reading.  I listened to the mourning dove who always sings outside my kitchen window, to the lizards scrambling through the dry grass (like me, they wanted to stretch out in the sun), to the cars driving up and down the busy street two blocks over. 

It’s easy to get caught up in the whirlwind of college, where semesters are packed with that dance, that show, that movie, that speaker, that class, that project, that paper, and that job.  And don’t get me wrong, I’ve had some wonderful, noisy, joyful, busy times, and I wouldn’t trade them for anything.  But because I’ve had those quiet moments to reflect, to think about how lucky I am to have those moments bursting with energy, I’m able to truly appreciate it all—quiet and loud, hectic and calm, with friends and with myself.

View from the top of Thumb Butte, looking toward Granite Mountain in the distance

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Coffee

I love having coffee with instructors. Whatever adversarial relationship I have with the Educational Institution is forgotten in the cafĂ©, and I can actually connect with people who in the classroom inspire me. We talk about class, missed assignments­—we interpret readings, yes, but we also talk about life. I ask for advice. How did my instructors get through school? Where does their ambivalence lie? When an instructor is honest and forthright, and when that instructor has provided me with illuminating things to study, the advice they give is believable and useful. When that advice is being given over a Mexican latte at the Wild Iris, it becomes profound.          
I recently bought a book. It’s a really small book with lined pages, a placeholder, and an elastic strap to keep it closed. It fits in my pocket. I write lists in it, because lists on paper are much less scary. In my mind, my daily tasks are amorphous and daunting, but on paper… it’s only five items. I can do that. This is a simple and boring thing, maybe, but I’m doing it because that’s what works for my instructor, and if it works for her, maybe it will work for me.  It’s funny how sometimes, even after a conversation on the fate of global society and various human rights crises, a little book is the most important subject.
It’s my understanding that many of us, especially of the present college-entering generation, have taught ourselves not to emulate anything, foolishly believing that we have this capacity. But who could blame us? Most of our role-models have come streaming through copper wires, belting lyrics about a woman’s role and how much fun drugs are. Emulation is dangerous, and I think most of us have picked up on this. But, since humans do emulate, and since we rarely have a choice over who we are emulating, my advice to anyone thinking about college is to put yourself where the best emulation will happen. Surround yourself with brilliant, fiery, and compassionate people, and ask them to share a coffee.
~Estin Vogel, 04.2012

Fun-Dimensions at Prescott College


When I was asked to blog for the Admissions Office I was set on trying to think of a story that captures a typical “Prescott College moment”. This begs the question “what is a Prescott College moment?” For me a Prescott College moment consists of anything that evokes the response of “Oh, of course, Prescott College” or something similar to that. The reason I mention this now is because I have a feeling that this will be a running theme in my blogs.
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  • Something about Morgoth: Morgoth is trying to learn to use his other senses to listen to peoples energies. Thought is a type of energy (or at least so claims Morgoth), and it makes sense to some that one might be able to sense certain vibrations of energy such as thought through alternative means.
  • The Scenario: At a friend’s house after classes kicking it formulating plans for dinner. Morgoth notices his friend Jon on the couch and something isn’t quite ‘right’.
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After quietly observing for about 20 minutes or so I noticed something was different about him that day and that he was most definitely chewing on something. It is not uncommon to see him lost in thought or contemplating something big, but something was different. I couldn’t tell if something had happened during the day and he wasn’t feeling too good about it, or if he just learned of some troubling news. Whatever he was thinking… I could feel it on the other side of the living room.

Eventually I spoke up and asked him what he was thinking about. To my surprise it wasn’t what he was thinking but HOW he was thinking. That whole time I was trying to pick up on ‘what’ he was thinking and I was totally confused (no surprise there). He goes on to tell me that his Natural History & Ecology of the Southwest course was blowing his mind. Out in the field observing various trees and small plants my friend was encouraged to listen and experience what he observed through different means.

The reason he was so deep in thought in the evening was because he spent the day thinking in ways he had never thought before. It is no wonder that I was thrown off by it! I had a good laugh when he told me it was a matter of how not what he was thinking and that it was all because of the field day he had.

I thought to myself “duh, Prescott College” and there I had my Prescott College moment! This wasn’t the first time I have talked to a friend and have noticed a shift in their consciousness because of faculty empowering the learning experience itself rather than just convey thoughts linearly. I was simply taken back by being able to FEEL the difference in how my friend was thinking. It demonstrated the amazing change and development that can happen in a single day of classes here at Prescott College.

Here we are encouraged how to learn, and not just what to learn. Here we are empowered to be competent in the moment and not just test time. This is Prescott College, and I think I have a big fat squishy crush on the school.

So I asked my friend if there was anything else “fun to mention” in this blog, of which they responded with a confused look and asked “Fun-Dimensions?”- Hence the blog title!  Because Prescott is a “Fun Dimension” to be at! 

-Morgoth, 03/2012