I am from a very small country; you can go from one coast to another in about three hours. Population size falls just short of 5 million, and my graduating class was 50 students. I never understood how being from a small environment made me feel a deeper connection to everything around me until I came here. I say this because having a smaller group of students for this session made me remember that.
You could tell how in just a short time they had befriended not only the students in their own program but those in other programs as well. 40 students were distributed across 6 programs, and not only were the classes small but the overall number was as well. I got to spend so much time with them because of this.
Last Tuesday I hopped on the bus with the Summer Institute in Leadership and Sustainability (SILS) and the Documentary Filmmaking Students for a field trip to Greenfield. We first stopped at Just Roots, a community farm, where students weeded beets and collected string beans.
We then moved on to Katalyst Kombucha, a local co-op that produces drinks using a Kombucha culture. As the tour ended we migrated to the Franklin Regional Transit Authority building, a modern building that produces more energy than it uses thanks to great design and planning. Finally, we stopped at Clarkdale Fruit Farms, where we enjoyed delicious, hand-picked apples and learned more about community efforts to stop the pipeline construction.
On Wednesday I had a hilarious dinner with the Research Intensive students at Hamp. It's weird to remember how 5 weeks ago I barely knew them and now we're having dinner as if we've all known each other forever. We then headed to Sycamore, where Salsa lessons were waiting for everyone. We have some really good learners!
Thursday morning I briefly checked in on every group as I had to drop off some evals. They were all looking pretty busy. I managed to stay with the Kinesiology group for a while, and got to see them measuring their high jumps and testing how different stretches would affect their performance.
As Friday approached I started to feel a little nostalgic.
Right when I'm spending the most time with the students, the programs are ending. I went on a final round to see them all one last time. The kids from Beijing who were taking part in the AFNNES program had to leave early in the morning. It was great to see that students from other programs hugged and took pictures with them as soon as they realized they were about to leave. I really hope they got a great experience out of the program.
The Astronomy students were holding their final presentations with their PAs, while a very hyperactive (as if they had had pancakes for breakfast and dipped them in coffee) Kinesiology group was learning about "trigger points."
The day continued as the Summer Design Academy students began their showcase around 2 PM. Parents and guests flooded room 440 in the Fine Arts Center to see the different projects students had done, ranging from furniture to interior design. The projects were impressive, especially when you consider the fact that they managed to do so much in only two weeks. As always, the hardest part was figuring out how to take the projects to the car!
Towards the end of the day the SILS and Documentary Filmmaking groups held their final presentations at the Honors College Events Hall. The first SILS group group presented an idea for rooftop gardens in Manhattan, while the second group's project focused on teaching sustainability practices in collaboration with local organizations. The showcase ended with a screening of the films produced by the Doc Film students.
Once the presentations were over, students enjoyed an ice cream social with their peers, program assistants and instructors. They then joined the other programs for tie-dye just outside Sycamore. This was the last time I got to see the students in Session C; as I write this most of them are either already home or on their way.
Guys, I'll really miss you. It was fun playing soccer every night, seeing you learn how to dance Salsa, picking string beans together at the farm, and just watching you be yourselves.
Session C students, I really hope you enjoyed your time here and learned a lot. Gaining knowledge and hands-on experience before going to college helped me choose my dream major, and that's exactly what you got here. I hope these two weeks were memorable. Two weeks are a very short time when compared to the years you've lived so far, but in the end it's all about the little things.
As for the Research Intensive students, I really can't imagine you not being here a week from today. If it was difficult parting ways with other groups who spent only 2 weeks here, I can't even imagine what saying goodbye to you guys will be like. Hopefully I'll have lots of photo ops at the labs this week!