This summer, twenty four students have been given the pleasure of being a part of this amazing program. I get to boast, or at least share, about being one of them. While it is only our second day, there is so much opportunity for anyone that has an interest in anything ranging from geology to even history, and I can definitely say that I am sincerely intrigued for what’s to come.
On our first full day of the program, we were allowed to sort out our own breakfast. Fortunately, every one of the students here is so kind, so one of my new roommates made three of us early birds some scrambled eggs and toast. We did have to go to the other house for non-gluten-free bread, but that's a necessary precaution to avoid cross contamination. It's wonderful that the RAs and administrators take health concerns so seriously, so no one's health is jeopardized. We had plenty of time to get ready in the morning before our first lesson.
The first class we had today was oceanography where we were introduced to our lovely instructor Dr. Ellie Bergstrom, who instructed us that it was okay to refer to her by her first name or by her title, keeping the climate informal and relaxed. We were told about our projects and group work and what our time here will look like in her class. She told us that it is very much her goal to make busy work not a priority and very uncommon so most of our learning is done through hands-on experiences. And she told us of our class after lunch where we’d be heading down to Racing Beach and collecting data for one of the group projects she had instructed us in. I have hope that this class will be a helpful challenge that isn't too stressful, as it is something that deeply interests me.
After a brief snack of “ants on a log” and a social moment, we headed back into the lecture hall for our second class, Oceans and Society. This is something that I have always found a general curiosity about, having the pleasure of growing up around Woods Hole on Cape and New Bedford on the mainland. Learning about the whaling and fishing industries and humans’ impact on the oceans is intrinsic and inescapable in the region I call home, and as such I have developed a strong love for it. We started off the class with a little social activity to get to know each other, a little partner interview questionnaire about what we hope to look for in the class, but also more personal based topics, such as “who makes the best clam chowder?”. Conversations erupted from this activity and led us down quite a few rabbit holes, but that's what historian Ben Kochan, our lovely instructor, was really looking for. We learned today about our future curriculum, such as learning about the fishing and whaling industries, and a possible book club for a little extracurricular fun. For me, this will definitely be the class I learn from natural intrigue and showing interest through my work will be very easy.
After our lunch of salad and wraps with chicken, we made our way down to the lovely beach for our data collection trip with Dr. Bergstrom. We were placed into groups of 6, each of us with a specific specialized field. I shared my interest in biology and geology, and thus was assigned to both of them. Today, however, I solely worked as a biologist, cataloguing my algae and seaweed finds as well as a few pufferfish that decided to swim through the area. It was a ridiculous amount of fun to be able to get our hands dirty and our shorts wet while taking real data from the area of the ocean we were studying.
We retired back to our cottages for dinner of rice, veggies, chicken, and egg rolls, with flexibility for those of specific diets, and then watched a lovely documentary about coral and the danger they are in because of global warming and human activity. Study Hall followed and we were allowed to do our little journal entries and various other work we so desired to complete, while also being able to just hang out and socialize. Then we returned back to the cottages for the final time of the day to settle down.
I really enjoyed today and I have serious hope to enjoy the following three weeks with my new friends. This is everything I wanted in a summer camp, and it's all right here; the minds, the hands on experiences, the history, the platonic teaching style. This place is beautiful and I have high hopes for the coming days.