Part I: Lullaby
by Sam Scheu and Maddy Fones
To think that three short months among twelve relative strangers came together to form a community. Now in the final week we have taken time to reflect on our experience and enjoy our last few days together. Between studying for final exams and editing final papers, we've found time to paddle around the lake in the snow, spend time in our favorite spots, and enjoy final meals together.
Last Thursday we had a visit from Dan Berggren, a renowned Adirondack folksinger who has been visiting the semester for years. http://www.berggrenfolk.com/ He sang us comedic folks songs and sweet lullabies into the night.
On Friday night we had our formal dinner, complete with a prom-style photo shoot. We were lucky enough to have Steve and Marianne, who are two former ADs for the semester, join us for a dinner of black bean burgers, a group favorite.
On Saturday morning we woke up at the chipper hour of 4 AM to hike local Mount Arab to see the sunrise. After seeing the pinks and purples shine over the Adirondack High Peaks, we headed down to Tupper's Lumberjack Inn for a much needed breakfast. We sang "Johnny Appleseed" in the middle of the diner and savored our final Saturday breakfast together in true Adirondack Semester fashion.
The past few days have found us busy with papers, tests, and our final Arcadian clean-up. With two nights left here on Massawepie, everyone is experiencing mixed feelings about heading home. Though we are excited to see our families, this place has become a home that we've all come to cherish and love. Leaving will not be easy, but we are ready to take the lessons we've learned and apply them to the next chapter of our lives.
Part II: The Pages Turned & Lessons Learned
by Tori Bean and Nick Schessl
As the semester draws to a close, Arcadians are facing a reality they almost thought would never come. We are about to leave the world of the woods we've become so comfortable with to return to a world with flush toilets, showers, and square rooms. With Thanksgiving just around the corner, we are all excited to return home for pie and mashed potatoes, but anticipation of our departure is also accompanied by feelings of anxiety and sadness for leaving behind the community and lifestyle we've gotten used to and now see as second nature.
Despite these apprehensions, we've taken time to brainstorm on how we can transfer our Arcadian lessons back on campus and our lives beyond. In order to combat the fast-paced lifestyle that the Adirondack Semester has given us the chance to escape, students plan to continue meditation, journaling on a regular basis, getting outside even if it's just taking walks in the woods, and other tactics that have become routine here. We will continue our lifestyle of simplicity and sustainability by consuming less and turning down the thermostat. Some Arcadians plan to cook homemade meals with friends each week to reap the benefits of healthy eating and real conversation. Instead of spending so much time with technology, we plan on finding better forms of entertainment, like reading or working on constructive creative projects we have learned in our woodworking classes.
Though this switch back to the "real world" might be a huge shock to our systems, the three-week capstone internship will provide a smooth transition between cultures. The internship, which takes place between Thanksgiving and Christmas, is designed to give students a better sense of what it is like to be a citizen of the Adirondack Park by giving us the opportunity to live and work with local residents. This gives us a chance to apply the concepts learned on the semester, while giving back to the region, and acquiring an even deeper sense of place. Many students will work on farms in the Champlain Valley, while others will help out at local schools, intern with Adirondack woodworkers, or do research at the Adirondack Wildlife Refuge. During the internship, we will still be living Adirondack lifestyles, but they will be one large leap from the life we've had at Arcadia. Just before winter break, we will reconvene as a group one last time to share our experiences and a final group hug. From there, it is home to Santa and re-immersion into our old lives. Only this time, we will breathe deeper, move slower, and think twice about eating at Dana Dining Hall.