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The Milton Measure

Returning Juniors Reflect on Experiences

by on Friday, February 6th, 2015

As our exam weeks finally come to a close and the second half of the academic year rolls around, seven students have returned to campus after participating in semester-away programs. These seven students, all juniors, spent the past semester at a handful of different programs—some in the heart of New York City and some in rural Vermont. Milton offers a unique opportunity for students to spend a semester off-campus through a number of programs: CityTerm, Chewonki, The Mountain School, and The Island School in the Bahamas.

CityTerm, located in Dobbs Ferry, New York, is a 45-minute train ride from Grand Central Station. At CityTerm, students explore the five boroughs of New York and use the city as their classroom. Israel Moorer (II) and Ashley Adelberg (II) spent their first semesters of junior year at CityTerm. “If I had to describe my experience at CityTerm,” says Israel, “I would describe it as an existential paradigm shift.”

The students at CityTerm visit New York landmarks to contextualize what is taught in the classroom. Ashley says “the best feeling in the world” is standing on the Brooklyn Bridge. “Taking pages of a text and making it a reality changed my whole world. I’m no longer reading history, but living it.” Ashley adds, “I realized that living really is about experience—and simply that. And what better way is there to learn about and really experience the Brooklyn Bridge than to actually be on it and being able to touch what they touched and see what they saw back in 1883?”

Students enrolled in the Chewonki program spend the semester on a 400-acre peninsula on the coast of Maine. Three students, Marcus Green (II), Emma Wood (II) and Hannah Nigro (II), spent their first semesters at Chewonki. Like CityTerm, Chewonki uses its resources outside of the classroom as a way to teach students. “One of the best things about Chewonki was that there was never a minute where it didn’t feel surreal to be learning in such a natural and interesting environment.” says Emma, “Everything was so different from a typical school experience; we learned natural science at salt marshes and forests and beaches, we learned about farm economics and systems, we did individual research projects about how ecology relates to our homes or schools, and so on.”

When asked to describe his experience at Chewonki, Marcus said, “In one word—unreal.” His most memorable moment of the program was whitewater canoeing “with a friend who dropped his paddle in the water while we were a good 200 feet behind the group.”

Hannah says she spent her time doing “dawn farming, expanding [her] scientific knowledge beyond the classroom through field work along the coast of Maine, and working on [her] Human Ecology Project, in which [she] questioned humans’ relationship with their environment through studying Maine’s homelessness.” She vividly remembers “snuggling around a blazing fire with seven others girls whom [she] shared a cabin with.”

Students who attended The Mountain School in Vermont spent a semester working together to manage an organic farm on which they lived. Two students, Isabel Emerson (II) and Tara Sharma (II), spent their first semesters at The Mountain School. “The Mountain School is finite—four months. As a result, there’s a very clear motivation to be intentional,” says Tara. “The four months are full of a sort of deliberateness in every action that I’ve never experienced anywhere before.”

The daily routine at The Mountain School is notably different from the Milton schedule. At The Mountain School, Tara explains, “We spend the afternoons chopping wood so that we can heat our dorms and sleep comfortably, harvesting vegetables for a delicious meal together. There’s a certain richness to every day because we spend our time and energy caring for each other and a place. You listen carefully to people and things. You are with people who want to know you, so you let yourself be known.”

Regarding the return to Milton life, Izzi Emerson says, “the weirdest part about the transition back has been the fact that I haven’t had to transition back yet. I got home from Mountain School on December 13th, and I don’t have to go back to classes at Milton until the second semester (February 7th). So I’ve been hearing my friends from [The Mountain School] talk about what it’s been like for them to be back at school, meanwhile I’ve been enjoying roughly six weeks of break.” Marcus adds, “When people come back from semester schools, they are excited and enthusiastic about them and now I know exactly why. I truly [had] an experience and made 40 friends that I will never forget.”

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Posted by on Feb 6 2015. Filed under More News, News, Recent News. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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