I visited Antioch College in Yellow Springs, Ohio. I first heard of it a few months ago when SG, an alumni of City Year who attended and now worked there, came and talked to us about it. The philosophies and structure of the school immediately struck a chord within me, and I looked it up immediately.
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“Passengers and visitors in the airport terminal are reminded not to leave baggage and packages unattended at any time. Unattended items will be removed by the Airport Police.”
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When I arrived in Columbus, the flight was early so I had to wait a bit before I got picked up. It was this girl whose name I can’t remember but I think they called her Cat. Driving was Tim. In an Antioch van which was beat up, messy, and loud with radio music ranging from hard rock to traditional Irish folk.
I was actually able to talk to them somewhat gracefully on the way to the college. They pointed me out some landmarks and took me on a wee tour of Yellow Springs – which is the cutest and the coolest town I’ve ever seen – and the campus – which is beautiful and small. We stopped into the Security Office to get my keys, and proceeded to my unit.
I’d write more of my impressions but I’m too tired and frazzled, and you know how you get when you’ve had too many reality shifts and new experiences in one day – in sort of a purgatory after experience and uprooting and before mental analysis.
In any case, I met my dorm hosts very briefly – Marla and Chris – chucked down my stuff in my room, and Tim and Cat invited me to dinner.
The caf was closed, so we went to this food cop-op they have where in the group one person cooks each night. It was this great veggie and tofu stir-fry with brown rice. We hung out there for a few hours, and thankfully no small-talk ensued. We were too busy cracking on old National Geographics and talking about movies and listening to bluegrass.
I left eventually, on my own. Went back to my nicely empty unit. Was joined eventually by Melody, another early-arriving prospective, and her ride, Danielle. Danielle left soon afterwards and Melody and I talked for a while. She’s from Chicago, a senior in high school. She has a list of her top-10 colleges, #1 is Antioch, and coincidentally #2 is Johnson & Wales.
Marla joined us shortly. We all talked. Had some visitors. They all left for the party a bit under an hour ago.
Marla said she was just going to grab people and bring them back. And about 10 minutes ago, a bunch of people just came in, heheh. I’m in my room closed-off, though, so it’s all good.
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This is such a massive reality shift. I was talking to a bunch of prospectives – most if not all of whom are seniors in high school, of the odd variety if you will (funky hair, clothes, piercings, etc.) – who were saying how nice – yet very strange – it was to “not be the weird one.” See, the majourity of the students here are also of that variety. One of the prospectives posed an interesting thought – what would it be like to leave this place, this “bubble” if you will, and re-enter the “real world” as one back to being the “weird one.” Her specific example was to not have your views and opinions and beliefs corroborated after their having been for so long.
I’m not in an exact frame of mind, at least not with the students (unlike them, I identify with no set subculture, no specific set of values), but with the educational and life philosophies of the school. I’ve loved and identified with everything I’ve heard, and feel surprisingly comfortable here – that of all things says something huge. Comfortable with not only the campus and the faculty – which is a given – but with the students. Although of that “odd variety” I tend to despise because of their mentality (that is, “we don’t like you unless you’re different like we are”), but these cats aren’t like that, for the most part. They seem very accepting of me, regardless of how I dress and act, and though I do tend to identify with many of their beliefs, no one has attempted to infect me with those that I don’t… I haven’t gotten into one activist-minded political discussion – only breached upon them – and even in that breaching people seemed open to other realities.
Which is my big thing. Because I do tend to have many unpopular beliefs, and tend to be opinionated, but I try to always keep in mind that there are so many other perspectives on the same thing, and that I can’t blame anyone for their beliefs – unless they’re completely ignorant, heheh – because they’ve had their own personal experiences that had led to their reality.
Which is a lot more than most people do, especially extreme activists.