Dallas, Texas, 1987. I can’t remember the exact day, or even the month (although I think it was April) but I do remember thinking that it was really time to do something with my life. After a dismal year of college in 1982-83, it was “suggested” I take time off and consider what I wanted for my future. That time off turned in to five years of working in various restaurants and a move to Dallas to meet my newly born niece and watch her grow up.
After a few sweltering years down there, I began to do what was “suggested” years earlier – I evaluated my situation and decided I was definitely not satisfied with life as it was. So, I told my sister I was moving back to Vermont and going back to school. I still didn’t really know what I wanted to be, but I knew what I did NOT want to be and that was all the impetus I needed.
I began taking classes at CSC in the spring of 1988. I was a part-time, non-matriculated student trying to find a direction and a path that felt comfortable to me. It didn’t take me long to remember that learning excited me and I began to feel a direction and a purpose to life.
This feeling convinced me to embrace the penury of being a full-time college student and I bravely stepped in to the abyss. I have certainly never regretted the decision and I am glad that Castleton was the place I chose to receive my higher education.
Coming from a long line of educators, I decided that might work for me too so I declared as an education major and was on my way. I soon realized that teaching at the lower levels was not for me so I switched to a major in English with a concentration in secondary education. I thought this was a better move, since I sill felt like a 17-year-old most of the time (and still do all these years later!).
As a nontraditional student, my experience at CSC was exceptional. I regretted the limited amount of time I had on campus that first year because of supporting myself and traveling 60 miles a day to and fro. As I realized more and more academic success, and became comfortable with life as a student, I wanted to be more involved in general. I found myself working less and being on campus more, even though it meant relegating myself to a diet of Ramen noodles.
Castleton is the place where, at the age of 24, I finally began my life. I not only took the classes I had to take (the despised math cores!) but also courses that interested me. Hey – if it took me this long to get there, I was doing it right this time. I enjoyed every minute.
I know that my positive experience at CSC was directly related to the faculty and the willingness of my professors to invest in students. Gregarious by nature, I enjoyed the interactions I had with fellow students and faculty and I was encouraged and inspired to reach even higher by a few professors who honored me with their attention, support, praise, and the occasional challenge. I would like to take this opportunity to thank all the fine teachers I had at CSC, but especially the English faculty who took me under their proverbial wings and showed me how it was done.
To Joyce, John, Denny and Steve – thank you, thank you, thank you! You made me work hard, you modeled what it means to be a great teacher and you offered me your friendship. I have now taught Upper School English at Long Trail School for 15 years and I hope that some of my former students remember me as fondly as I do you all.
Class of 1993