Stacks Image 2684

The Happiest Time Of My Life

I always intended to take time off after high school. High School was very traumatic for me, not just the social madness, but more so the way education has evolved in our modern culture where memorizing names and dates is considered learning, and concepts and ideas are no where to be found. I grew up in Palo Alto in the heart of the dot com boom and there was incredible pressure on the school to be rigorous. We had more workload than people had when they went on to IV league colleges like Harvard and Yale (fellow students have told me this). I spent all my free time doing busy work homework when I should have been out learning about myself and the world.

So I planned to take a break from education and go work for the Peace Core or volunteer for an NGO abroad somewhere. Something that would push my limits and put me in an unfamiliar land and culture while doing something good for the world.

When I made a list of Colleges I wanted to go visit, there was this tiny College called Bennington that I almost didn’t keep on my list. But I wound up visiting anyways and that visit would change my life forever.

I fell in love with Bennington very quickly after arriving. It is a beautiful open campus with a sort of neighborhood of colonial style homes as dorms with a grass field in the middle that stretches out to a view of rolling hills that are covered in every shade of orange you can imagine in the fall.

me-cfs__happiest_time_2

The energy at Bennington is indescribable. It feels like creativity and expressive growth is just oozing from every crack in every building. It’s something you can feel on the campus. It lifts you up and inspires you.

The people at Bennington were like no other community I’ve ever encountered. They were all the people who were so individualistic and unique in their vision and life choices that they didn’t belong anywhere else.

There were no grades at Bennington, no tests and no curriculum. All classes were project based, classes were pass fail, and students were given a lot of freedom to pursue their passions academically.

So after spending the day there, not only was I absolutely convinced that’s where I wanted to go to school, I was so inspired that I decided to skip the time off and enroll right away.

My time there, but especially my first semester, was the best time of my life. It felt like summer camp. My classes were interesting and provocative, but most of all I thrived creatively, socially and spiritually. I’ve never to this date, with the possible exception of my car, ever felt at home anywhere else. This is actually a common feeling for students there, so much so that it is one of their advertising slogans. Something like "when students come to Bennington, they feel like they are coming home". It was my home and in some ways I still think of it that way.

I only took art classes that first semester and spent all my time making art, pushing myself creatively and expressively, and hanging out with all the amazing people around me. I’ve never felt like I fit in so well anywhere before or since.

It was a time of great inspiration, innocence, idealism, romanticism, happiness beyond measure, endless energy and endurance. It was a time of real awakening for me spiritually and very healing after my experience in High School. I thrived. I will never forget the experience I had there, the friends I made, and that feeling of finally coming home.

I usually write about ME/CFS on this page, but some of you asked for posts about my life, and I thought I would change things up this week.

Stay strong everyone. Ron is still working day in and day out. Last I heard he was heading into two day long meetings with NIH. He wants to end ME/CFS more than anything and won’t rest until he does.

Love,
Whitney

Donate to ME/CFS research at the Open Medicine Foundation to help stop the suffering of millions and end ME/CFS.








Blog Archives
Index

Year / Month