jul 12 2013

324Today marks my last day at Smith.

“But weren’t you in Boston?” you ask. I was! I stayed in Boston for two days and a half, meeting up with a person I had met through twitter for clam chowder (“Chowda!” Is that–no, I’m not going to say that.”) and a walk around Prudential Center. I touched the Scientology building, which was pretty exciting, I think. But after that quick interlude I was driven out to Northampton where I have been staying for the past two weeks as part of a women’s history “camp” at Smith College, a women’s liberal arts college.

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Alumnae Gymnasium, the location of the college archives as well as the Sophia Smith collection

As part of the course, I worked within the archives and the Sophia Smith collection, looking at letters and memorabilia books from the first Smith alumni (so late 19th century–1880 and beyond). We also explored the work of a local artist, Edwin Romanzo Elmer, and the work of the YWCA, the Young Women’s Christian Association. We viewed the Sylvia Plath collection, which was filled with the delicate pieces of memo paper that Plath had written The Bell Jar on, as well as her college typewriter. We handled delicate documents, wore period dresses, and went on several field trips, one of which ended in many bug bites but a stomach full of cold watermelon and a beautiful view from Mt. Holyoke.

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The view from Mt. Holyoke

The experience was three-fold: I worked in a subject I was interested in (history), I experienced life in a college situation (after a while you just stop caring and walk around in only a towel), and attended a women’s college (basically the experience I want in college). I saw a performance by Lenelle Moïse, a Haitian spoken-word poet, and experienced the evolution of black music through the years (the lecture began with Beyoncé and ended with a beautiful song called Green Eyes, which I wish I could force you to listen to). We drove an hour and a half to Hancock to a mountain resort called Jiminy Peak, and attempted about 3/4 of the rides before we just rode the ski lift up and down the mountain for an hour.

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The view from the top of the ski lift

I’m heading back to Boston tomorrow. I meet up with two friends whom I haven’t seen in person though I met them two years ago. I’m looking at colleges and spending time with people before I head back to San Jose for peace and a few weeks of calm before I’m thrown back into the school year and the oncoming deluge of college applications.

I had fun; I really did. It’s hard to categorize my experience because there were lulls and peaks, but the friends I have made here are amazing and I’m sure we’ll keep in touch. The course itself was wildly exciting for the first week, but as things slowed down I found myself re-reading materials that I had read multiple times before. Smith is actually one of the colleges I have been thinking about applying to. Unfortunately, my experience on the East Coast seems, to me, subpar. I realized on my first weekend that I didn’t like the East Coast as much as I liked the West–the prospect of being away from California for four years while attending college was a little hard to handle. I guess I feel like I’ve really connected with California, though I hadn’t realized it until now. Of course, I will be applying to East Coast schools, though probably only as a back-up.

Nevertheless, my experience here at Smith was wonderful. It’d be hard to forget.

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