This is not an experience or a place you can plan for, even when you’re in the midst of it. At any point, in any class, a moment or lesson or assignment can grab you and completely change what you’re focused on, your sense of why you’re here. Putney really underscores that you shouldn’t be static, that you should be progressing at all times.
For me, this dramatic shift happened when I took my first English class here. In public school, I was used to lessons being centered on a checklist of themes the teacher had prepared for us to talk about. Here, it’s a much more open and free-thinking discussion. It was actually just a conversation where we were thinking and developing our own ideas and then talking through them together.
Computer science came as a big surprise too.
I literally had no idea what computer science was before I came to Putney. In geometry, we had a couple of coding assignments. I got really into them, and have since taken Computer Science I and II. I find the logic of it meditative and challenging.
In some ways coding relates to my real passion, which is playing music and writing music. I play on my own, but I also took Music Theory I and Advanced Music Theory, as well as playing in jazz band. Those music theory classes were very intense academically, and came at the same time as my first English experience. Together, those rigorous classes set my priorities straight and clarified exactly why I’m here, which is to follow my passions of English and music and take advantage of the opportunities here to make the most of my education.
To make the most of it also means spending a lot of time here, since I’m a day student. After those experiences, I probably went from spending 60 hours a week on campus to 80 hours. This is definitely not a campus where you enter to learn and then leave—it’s an all-encompassing place. It really demands it. We all—day student or boarding student—have an obligation to create and uphold a functioning community, to do our part to keep it thriving.