March 12, 2012
Williams-Mystic S12 has just returned from the Pacific Northwest, and I already miss it. We’ve spent the past ten days travelling from Puget Sound to Coos Bay. The explorers who named landmarks had a lot of feelings back in those days; we passed near the Isles of Bad Humour, stopped at Cape Disappointment and looked over Point Defiance. During these long road trips, we all grew closer together as we chatted, sang and even occasionally boogied with our fellow professors, staff and classmates.
Our days were jam-packed, so it’s nice that we all participated in making a Daily Summary to share with the rest of the group; the twist, however, was to be both informative and creative. S12 is a creative lot –we had skits, poems and interpretative dances, but nothing can top the final group’s song and dance. Set to the classic Backstreet Boys song “I Want It That Way,” Bianca, Tat, Lara and Carly taught us about the complex issue of rehabilitating diseased trees through song and dance:
They’re struggling to get through.
It’s kind of like tree flu.
But the fees,
Are more than what we can pay,
We must save Coos Bay.
This is just one of the ways Mystic’s interdisciplinary approach incorporates learning and fun. How many other programs have allotted Director’s Journal Time for us to explore and reflect? Everyone has their favorite part of the Pacific Northwest trip, but the Oregon dunes, which are the largest coastal sand dunes in North America, were mine. Lisa, our Oceanography professor, taught us how dunes are formed and afterwards, we all released our inner 5-year old and jumped and rolled off the dunes.
I’ll let you in on a secret. I was on the fence about attending Williams-Mystic. While my friends were telling me about their exotic adventures abroad, I wasn’t sure that staying with the same twenty-four people in small-town Connecticut could measure up. But a close community is one of Williams-Mystic’s greatest strengths. The academics are first-rate, yes, but the people who attend W-M are some of the most enthusiastic and encouraging people you’ll ever meet. The slogan for W-M is, “This could be your classroom,” but perhaps it should also be, “This could be your life.” I’ve fed Chinook salmon at a fishery and seen Seattle from a tugboat. From talking to the director of the Port of Tacoma to the men who grow our fish, the Pacific Northwest opened my eyes to jobs and ideas that I’ve never heard of, and for that I’ll always be grateful.