Welcome to September! I just got back to Kingston and will admit I’m just a little dismayed to see the city overrun with undergrads again. Now don’t get me wrong – I don’t really have anything specific against undergrads… after all, we were all there once. I am just a little exhausted by the sight of them performing their ritualized drinking games on front lawns , and wandering the streets in hormone-fueled packs (geez- I must be getting old!). The next couple of weeks are going to be a little intense on that front, but it will all settle down soon enough.
I’m sure I’m not alone when I say that I feel a little shocked to find that it’s the beginning of September already. It’s still sticky-hot here, which allows me to trick myself into believing we’ve still got loads of summer ahead of us (though starting tomorrow the temperature will dip below twenty degrees and stay that say).
I feel a bit daunted to be back, only because I’ve got a tonne of work to get going on. I have to finish a paper (started earlier in the summer, but put on hold for the month of August while I was away), I have to contend with a massive list of changes that the ethics review board want me to make before they will approve my thesis project (again, not an impossible list, but a whole lot of fine-detail work that requires a certain kind of concentration and will power) and I ultimately (gulp!) have to get going on my thesis project research. It’s going to be quite a year!
Speaking of learning, I promised to fill you in on my experience at the Waldegrave Farm Summer Free School in Tatamagouche, Nova Scotia. My friends who live on the farm have been running the school as an alternative education model. It’s based on the notion that everyone has something to learn, and everyone has something to teach. Now in its sixth year, the free school attracts about 120 people every year to the weekend-long learning session. This year’s workshops were in everything from fencing and finger-knitting, to meditation, plants and architecture. Yours truly taught a workshop in freelance journalism.
I will admit that I went in feeling a little skeptical (I wasn’t sure I was sufficiently open-minded for such an undertaking) but it really was a magical experience. I was really impressed by the variety of knowledge and skill in the group. I learned about pain and taxes and improved my hula hooping skills. I took a basic salsa class. I ate fabulous food – much of it grown on the farm, the rest brought in from farms and businesses in the vicinity.
The non-hierarchical model of education is an interesting one — and a particularly interesting experience to have had just before returning to the hallowed halls of formal academia…
Here are a couple of pictures:
And in other news: I recently wrote two articles for the Back-to-School issue of the Coast, Halifax’s alternative weekly.
The first is called The Truth About Your T.A – it’s here.
The other is on kicking procrastination’s ass – find it here.
Happy Reading! Happy Back-to-school-ing!