I have noticed that graduating seniors are posting about changes, and although I am not graduating this semester (because I took time off) I can still comment on some of the different changes I have experienced since we all came to Green Mountain in the fall of 2008.
Athletics. Athletics seemed to be an unwelcome place for me, specifically with soccer. I will not comment on the coaching staff prior to who we have now, but just my experience. As a freshman, I felt that the team was slightly unwelcome, divided, cliquey, and full of coach’s “favorites”. As a new player, I felt unwanted and decided not to play. I decided to return this past fall, under our new coach, Seth Benjamin. Although it is difficult for any coach to come into a new program and try to fix the ruins that were left behind (or continue a legacy), Seth has been doing a great job and is fair to all, and treats all equally. I won’t equate our wins/losses into my opinion, I can only look at how he has brought a team of very different people together.
Academics. I have been a biology major since the very start. I cannot say that I felt very comfortable as a freshman in biology classes, or that I made a lot of friends right from the beginning. I mostly spent time with people outside of my major. However, as a first semester senior, I can say that it seems that most people I have classes with are really cool with each other, get along really well, and seem to enjoy each other’s company. We all make a great time of bio majors: freshman, sophomore, juniors, and seniors. It’s really awesome!
Drugs/Alcohol. I see far fewer people who go on massive drug binges and drop out, each semester. Not that the number was particularly high at any point (usually just a couple students) but such as with any school, you see students that are unappreciative of the opportunity to get a college education, and squander it away by “having fun”. More and more, I see student leaders who are involved in activities on and off campus, are great students, and happily balance social and academic lives. It’s really neat to see a school full of people who really want to be there.
Pluralism. As a freshman, and up until this year, I felt that students of color seemed to be very separate from the majority of white students on campus. The school seemed to be fairly cliquey, and students only spent time/ate meals with their social circles. Now I see that students of color seem to be more integrated with various social circles, rather than just spending time with each other.
Classes. Classes just keep getting harder! This may seem obvious, since I am aging and taking upper level courses, but that’s not all of it. Even as a senior, taking 2000 (sophomore) and 1000 (freshman) level courses, they are much harder than when I took such classes as a freshman. It could be that I have become dumber =P. However, I mostly attribute it to the way that the school is strengthening its academic program. This includes more reading, more homework, more class participation, et c. I think it’s great!
Food. I eat at Chartwells everyday, and have since I was a freshman. There seems to be a greater variety of options at each given meal, and more dishes overall. Also, there are WAY MORE local food, especially food that comes from our farm!
The Biomass plant and smoking policy have been mentioned, so I won’t beat a dead horse here. However, these things are really monumental and deserve multiple mentions.