To begin the story at the beginning, read "Part 1: Post 1: Beginning Again," published in January, 2013. To consult a description of the campus, read "Part 1: Post 14: The Greening of Campus," published in March, 2013.

Monday, August 8, 2016

Year 4: Part 5: Post 2: Fall Semester

The fall semester’s classes have begun. Or, I supposed I should say “fall quarter,” as there are four of them, or even “quintal,” as there are five parts to the academic year, counting the spring before classes start, but we usually say semester.

Anyway, I have two classes, Healer’s Health, and Geology and History. The former is one of Allen’s. It’s about all the things that often go wrong with the mental health of people in the “helping professions,” like burn-out and codependency, and how to avoid them, recognize them, and do something about them. I never really thought of myself as headed for a “helping profession,” but I needed the credit, and, as Allen has explained, my ability to listen to people is very much something that other people could come to rely on. In one way or another, we’re all becoming priests or priestesses, and we all have to confront and prepare for the vulnerability that involves.

The other class actually focuses less on history the way we normally talk about it (though supposedly they’ll be some of that, too) and more on geology as a kind of history. It’s mostly a close look on the geologic history of our immediate area, how our mountains and valleys and soils and everything were formed. I won’t get into the details of what we’re learning as it would give away where we are. It’s taught by an ally.

Each class has met once so far. The rest of the week I’m either working off campus or I’m working for Charlie’s horticultural team.

The thing is, these are my last two classes as an undergrad—maybe my last two classes here, depending on if and when I return as a candidate. And I have to say they’re anticlimactic, especially the one about geology. I mean, geology is interesting and everything, but it’s not like I’m spending my last semester here hunting horcruxes like Harry Potter.

My first semester here was definitely organized as an introduction. I think all of my classes, at least most of them, actually had “Intro” in their titles. Everybody in those classes was new, and everything was calculated to draw us in, to welcome and induct us, into the school. Now? These just happen to be the classes I’m taking this semester. Most of my classmates aren’t graduating with me. There’s no conclusion.

We do have the Graduating Novice Meetings every month. At the beginning of the year they said they’d give us information this way, but they really haven’t told us much. Instead, they usually ask if anybody has any questions or concerns, we talk about whatever comes up for a few minutes, and then we just all chat for the rest of the time. But it’s been interesting to meet as a group every month, all 34 of us, to really get a sense that we’re all in this together, almost like a team. And it’s an acknowledgement. It’s like, yeah, this year is different for us and, yeah, we are different than the other students and, yes, it’s really happening—we’re going to leave this place soon.

That acknowledgment helps it seem a lot less weird.

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