Happy New Year! Stephanie here again at the blogging helm, writing with thoughts on the start of the semester from the perspective of a Williams-Mystic staff member and recent alumna. If you’re a new reader or a parent/guardian/friend of one of our current students, welcome! I’m so happy that you’re here and sharing in this experience—we’re very excited for the Spring ’13 semester to get underway and for the adventure to begin!
The month of January was certainly a busy one here at the Williams-Mystic offices: we’ve been working hard finalizing travel plans for our upcoming field seminars, preparing for the launch of our new website, and anticipating the arrival of the next class. Amongst these tasks was the renovation of Johnston House, one of five student homes on our campus. Thanks to the tireless efforts of Mary O’Laughlin, our Director of Finance and Administration, we were able to complete the renovations in time for the house to welcome occupants yesterday on S’13 arrival day. While it certainly was hard work, I enjoyed working with my colleagues as we assembled couches and tables, placed pots and pans in the kitchen cabinets, and made the house into a home. From new living room furniture to colorful artwork and tons of light, Johnston joins the rest of our houses as a fully updated student house that four students will call home for the next 17 weeks.
As I mentioned above, yesterday was arrival day for the Spring ’13 class, which brought students from far and wide to our campus here in Mystic, Connecticut. Arrival day is one of my favorite days here: I truly enjoy meeting the students who we’ve interviewed and emailed for the last few months, along with their families and friends who helped them get here. This class in particular is special, as it brings us to our 1,500th student at Williams-Mystic. This past September, we celebrated our 35th year as an academic organization—that’s 72 semesters of interdisciplinary maritime study! Each class is immortalized in the halls of Labaree House with a class picture, where the familiar faces of many of our faculty and staff greet me each day when I come into work. And in just a few months, S’13 will join them.
Heading home last night, I felt a quiet happiness come over me as I drove past our now occupied student homes and saw the soft glow of lamps through the falling snow. It reminded me of my own time at Mystic, now two years in the past. I remain grateful to have returned as a staff member and to now have the opportunity to share in the experiences of another class. Together we will set sail of the Florida Straits, trek to the West coast and back, and watch the flowers bloom as spring returns to New England. Tonight we’re headed to break bread at the first community dinner, the traditional start to the semester. I for one am looking forward to a good meal, good company, and the start of something new and wonderful.
I’ll sign off with a welcoming quote for the new class, one that offers perspective and I hope inspires you for the next seventeen week:
“It isn’t by getting out of the world that we become enlightened, but by getting intothe world…by getting so in tunedin that we can ride the waves of our existence and never get tossed because we become the waves.” – Ken Kesey