Green Mountain College and the College of St. Joseph recently closed, and when students from the two colleges first found out, their minds began racing.
Fast forward several months and many of those students are now at Castleton University. Transitioning has been easy for some, but not so much for others.
“It was easy because I knew people coming in, and I play sports, so it was easier to make friends,” Green Mountain transfer Demauriye Smith said.
Adriana Machado has had a little tougher time. Green Mountain College, her school, closed and these uprooted students have the right to feel emotional about it.
“It has been alright,” she said, although talking to her you can see that the closure affected her differently than the other students. She was deeply rooted in the school.
She only had one year left.
Smith talked about how the closure made him feel sad, upset and even confused.
The students said the abrupt change took them from what they knew as a home or a safe place.
“I felt heartbroken and betrayed by them because I thought I would graduate from Green Mountain College,” Machado said.
But John Ebo, better known as Obi, had very different thoughts from his peers. He looked at the school closing as a new chapter in his life. He was sad about the closing but very happy with the outcome of being at Castleton.
“I honestly looked at it as a new opportunity. Doors close and others open. GMC closed and Castleton opened,” he said with a laugh.
He also talked about how it is for him and having friends from GMC here.
“Having friends here makes me feel at home and it makes it easier to be social,” he said.
He chose Castleton because he did not want to leave Vermont. He performs music and he has grown a fan base and said he likes Vermont.
The students said having friends around and familiar people near you can be very important during a major life change. It helps even more if they go to the same place as you.
“Yeah, it makes it feel like an extended version of Green Mountain College, especially seeing familiar faces, not only students but also staff,” Smith said
For Smith, seeing people he knew from Castleton, playing basketball and seeing Green Mountain College students and staff made his transition much easier.
For Machado, it has been good and comforting because she has her boyfriend here with her, but she is very much still heartbroken. Green Mountain College was her home. She was so close to finishing before she got the news.
Deron Walter, who came to Castleton from St. Joseph’s, said he chose Castleton because he knew people here and it is closer to his family. He talked about how he liked the diversity on campus.
“I get to meet students from different backgrounds and cultures, and I get to share mine,” he said.
When talking about how he felt about his school closing, Deron Walter said, “I was worried about what to do next.”