(Partly reformatted from a conversation with Dylan)


Wanting to be closer to home was definitely a factor, so that was a location thing rather than Hampshire as an institution. Both because I was at a distance that made it impossible on a practice level for me to do things like… drive home for the weekend or whatever, and also because it made plane tickets really expensive so even coming home for breaks was a challenge (and as a side note I learned that time difference are a bitch in communication).

     The weather was another thing. Not seeing the sun was really hard on me, and the whole ice skating from building to building didn’t give me a lot of motivation to go out and do anything, which only made me feel more isolated and kind of trapped. While it might have been easier now knowing what to expect and how to deal with it a little better, the weather isn’t something that’s going to change much (and when it’s warm it’s all humid, and who likes that? Not me).

Transportation-al things weren’t deciding factors, but they didn’t help. Not that I minded taking the bus, but when it’s 12 degrees outside it’s way less appealing, and going in to Amherst somehow always became an all day thing even if we were only gonna go for like an hour (and Northampton always took forever because the bus was never on time), and even if I could afford a car who would want to dig it out of the snow? So that kind of added to the isolated feeling. I think a more urban campus would make life a lot easier on me. I’m kind of… high stress, so the only way for me not to do/think/worry about work is to be doing something else that almost entirely consumes my attention – which I don’t do often enough – and being able to get off campus or go do something are the easiest means of escape both mentally and physically.

While I loved that I could basically do and study anything I wanted at Hampshire, that was also a source of stress for me because I felt like every day I was re-deciding what I was doing, what I wanted to do, how to do it. For better or worse at a “normal” college you have a path that you’re on, and if you really change your mind about it you can switch majors or minors or whatever and change the path, but at the end of the day you’re still on a path. At Hampshire sometimes I felt like I was stumbling around in the wilderness, looking for the path (something I did literally a few times as well). That wasn’t because of a lack of advising or anything- Will was great and I’m sure if I had said, “Can you help me outline a little more how I can meet some of my goals with classes and professors to work with and so on” he would have, but I still don’t think it would have made a difference. I’m a pretty indecisive person, and I’m learning that until I’m really locked into a decision (and even then…), every choice I didn’t make seems like the better one. As Lipkin said to me when discussing school and this next year, “The grass is going to seem greener wherever you aren’t.”

I’d really like to go somewhere with a screenwriting program/department. Even if it’s not my major, I want there to be more for me in that area than one or two classes taught every few years. Even though I could study both writing and film at Hampshire, actually getting the two to intersect in terms of classes was really difficult because (as Will said) “None of the writing people want to teach screenwriting because it’s really film, and none of the film people want to teach it because it’s really writing.”

Not as a deciding, but a contributing factor, was the general extremity of the Hampshire community. While I can definitely appreciate it more now that I am away, it was really challenging sometimes to deal with the fact that no matter what the issue was (be it politics or art or science) it felt like everyone at Hampshire was at the most extreme ends of whatever spectrum it was. I recognize, of course, that not everyone was that way it’s just that he who speaks the loudest gets heard, and in some forms that extremity I felt exists everywhere, but anyone who’s gone to Hampshire has to admit the polarity that exists in such a big way there. Alex and I had a lot of… discussions/debates/arguments of the year about a lot of things, but at the end of the day what we were doing was still exchanging ideas and viewpoints and I got the feeling that a lot of people were really interested in that exchange, they just wanted to tell you their opinion and why you were wrong. Of course, I’m getting nitpicky at this point, because that’s just an opinion and that’s the result of interactions with certain individuals or groups of people. But some days it just felt like it was in the air there.
But I’ll probably miss all those people if/when I end up surrounded by human zombies without opinions. We’ll cross that bridge when we come to it though.

I’m chatting with Alex now, so I’m just gonna chalk this up to done and I’ll amend it later if need be.

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