Why would a high school junior stray from their comfort zone – a rigorous and exciting education in one of the greatest cities in the world – and go work on a farm in the rural countryside? Clara Liang ‘16 chose that journey when she switched from the west coast to the east coast this fall semester to participate in a co-ed, wilderness semester experience in the white mountains of Vermont. The Hyphen decided to catch up on how school has been going for her.
What school are you going to this semester?
I’m at the Mountain School in Vershire, Vermont for the first semester of this year, which is a semester school for juniors and seniors that focuses on cultivating a community of students who learn to know a place and take care of it.
What is the biggest challenge of being away?
One of the biggest challenges of being away from home is feeling conflicted about wanting to stay in touch with my friends and family, while also wanting to be here fully and experience all the different aspects of Mountain School without being distracted by trying to keep up with everything going on in San Francisco.
How is The Mountain School different from Lick?
The Mountain School is very different from Lick in a lot of ways, but the biggest difference is living and taking classes in the same place, and being with friends around the clock every day of the week. Also, at the Mountain School, you spend a huge part of the day outside, whether it’s reading E.E. Cummings in the forest as part of English class or splitting wood or harvesting food. The days here are really long — we have classes in the morning, then some type of farm work or hike after lunch, then more classes until 6 in the evening.
What are some of the similarities?
Just like at Lick, there is a very diverse group of students at the Mountain School (although people come from all over the country instead of all over the Bay Area). Everyone here is very motivated to learn and push themselves, like students at Lick, and there is a lot of focus on community-based discussion and learning.
What made you decide to go?
My brother told me about the Mountain School because a lot of his friends from college went here, but I hadn’t heard of it before then. I decided to apply because it sounded like a really unique opportunity to be able to experience living in a place completely different from the city and meet a group of very different, interesting people who have come together because of similar interests and a desire to do something different.
Read more about school here: http://www.mountainschool.org/