At 7:15 a.m., we pulled up to our woodworker’s house, groggy but excited. We skipped breakfast to get there with enough time to work on our individual projects. Opening the pulley-rigged door to the woodshop, I was greeted with the comforting smells of a woodfired stove, pumpkin bread, and coffee. I quickly turned to the pumpkin bread, layering cream cheese on a fat slice before I hesitantly grab a cup of coffee that’s been sweetened with maple syrup and milk. After stuffing my face with bread and taking a few sips of my caffeine-laden drink, I felt ready for a game of darts…
…. Wait wait wait, wasn’t I there for woodworking? Well, yes, but one of the reasons I, along with all the people I did the Adirondack Semester with, love this component of the semester program was because we could take the morning to relax, goof off, or actually craft some wood. We got there early so we could do a little bit of all three. Not to mention, our teacher, who identified as a gnome, had one rule when starting a project: we couldn’t meet with him until we made a bullseye on the dartboard.
After smiles and giggle fits spurred by the caffeine, I would finally fall into focus. I made earrings and cutting boards for gifts, and started making a shelf for myself. My fellow students made anything from small gifts to full wooden chests. Each day, we all arrived at different places on a spectrum of productivity, which added to the at-home atmosphere with no pressure on our work.
The cozy, laid-back atmosphere of woodworking added to the bonds created between students during the semester. Although the program lasted only a few months, our relationships are some of the strongest we have back on campus. We formed a community, and we treasured the place and people; many of us (including myself) still go back to the woodshop in Tupper Lake for a relaxing teatime.
The community I’ve found here at St. Lawrence spreads past my fellow students and the woodworking teacher. The connections I made on the Adirondack Semester inspired me to keep reaching out to people in the Adirondacks and Canton, and to continue with networking and broadening my community. The connections I made have enhanced my experience exponentially and my love for the area just keeps growing. I cannot speak enough of the community within campus and the surrounding area, and I encourage more people to join the privilege of becoming part of the welcoming community St. Lawrence has to offer.