In this piece of extraordinary writing you have chosen to read, you’ll receive a brief introduction to the author, their purpose, and vision. The intent of this article is to lay the groundwork for future articles and discussions ahead.
On May 1st, I was sitting at the airport waiting for my flight to go to Fort Polk, Louisiana for a month long training session. I had my headphones in, sipping on steaming hot coffee, and was just observing everyone else run around the airport. My phone rings and I look down and see the name SFC (Sergeant First Class) Spence, who’s my training NCO (Non-Commissioned Officer).
“Hey SGT (Sergeant) Spence, what’s good?”
“Hey SGT Cat (Cat is short for Catania), do you want to go to battle staff course after you’re done in Louisiana? It’s about 3 weeks long, and it’s in Utah.”
“Yeah sure- when do I leave?”
“You’d have to the very next day you get home from Louisiana.”
“Shit, well yeah why not- if you can just send me my orders soon, so I can send them to my employer to let them know I’ll be gone another month that’d be great”
“Absolutely, I’ll send them ASAP. Have fun in Louisiana and let me know if you need anything.”
A month passes by in Louisiana and I fly home on May 31st. I spend a short amount of time with family, do some laundry, and repack to fly out the next day to go to Utah. I get to Utah to start my next round of training, and luckily it’s all in-classroom training. Soon enough, a newfound friend and I discover that we have plenty of time to go hiking in the afternoons after class. I download an app called Alltrails, and we start setting out on hikes everyday after class in the Uinta-Wasatch-Cache National Forest.
One day while hiking, I was thinking about how incredibly happy and at peace I was while at an elevation of 6,000 feet. This thought later sets me off on a Google search binge to find out how I can hike for a living. I already knew that I didn’t really want to blog for a living; that didn’t seem sufficient to me. Somehow I managed to come across wilderness therapy, and started to investigate further. I found it interesting because I always wanted to incorporate the outdoors while helping others. This eventually led me to the Green Mountain College website and its majors. I looked up the location, and when I discovered it was in Vermont, I was like, “WTF”. I had previously been planning to move to Arizona, and clearly, Vermont is not geographically close.
I searched for other colleges in warmer weather, but couldn’t really find anything quite like the programs that Green Mountain offered. I said it, and applied to college on a whim. I already knew that I wouldn’t have time to come check out campus prior to attending due to work, previously planned vacations, and other military obligations. I just took the chance and rolled with it.
I got home on Friday June 30th, and started to unpack from my two months of being gone. I went back to work that Monday and was catching up with everyone. I got a call from Ryan Longe in Admissions, and he had told me that I had gotten accepted into Green Mountain. I was ecstatic to hear the news, but I was also torn at the idea of leaving my job.
I pondered the decision back and forth. I had a conversation with my best friend at work, and she urged me to go back to school.
“Hey Ange, I have some news for you!”
“I don’t know if I’m leaving yet. I need your help deciding what to do.” I continue to explain to her about how I was hiking in Utah and that it led me to applying at Green Mountain College.
“Katie, you have only one choice,” she says to me. “You’re going to school. Look around you, you come to work, and it’s the same thing day in and day out. You need to go to school because you have a shot at changing your life and pursuing your dreams. Girl, there are so many people that wish they had this opportunity that you do. Do it. I’m going to miss you like crazy, but you need to take full advantage of this opportunity”.
I had been back at work for four days after being gone two months and I was about to walk away from everything and everyone I knew to pursue a dream. I put my notice in, and I received an overabundance of supportive emails from colleagues. This made leaving my job a bit easier. My last day was July 20th, and from there I went on a vacation road tripping from New Jersey to Colorado and then flying to Southern California for five days. I flew back home to Wisconsin July 31, and on August 1st I left for Fort Knox, KY to spend a month there for training. From there, I flew home August 31st and then mid morning on September 1st, I started my road trip to Poultney, VT.
I pulled into the parking lot of the college at about 1 A.M. on September 2nd. I went to security and they let me into my building. From there, I crashed for about a couple of hours. I then woke up and went to the admissions office to finish in-processing for school. I had my first class at one 1:00 in the afternoon. I sat down, and later on in the course, the instructor was discussing a separate media practicum course. I enjoy writing for the most part, so I decided to sign up for the course because I definitely needed to add more things to fill my time (please read that last statement with sarcasm).
I decided that with this practicum course, I wanted to write articles on practical and essential topics and skills that students and teachers would find interesting and helpful, while building connections with others. I am by no means a professional in any manner, but I believe there is great value in sharing experiences with others. I have a lot to offer, and my goal is to help in any way I can.
Moving forward with this column, I promise the articles will be more and to the point. However, I felt that it was necessary for people to understand how I got to Green Mountain College. I’m also interested to hear how others got here, and I’d love to hear your story.
Feel free to email me at email@example.com.