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Posted by on 2013/03/07 under Uncategorized

After reading about Hampshire in Colleges That Change Lives, Hampshire has distinguished itself an ideal place of study for me. As part of the Five College Consortium, I am excited to have access to both the academics of these schools as well as the general area of the Fives Colleges. Hampshire’s primary points of interest are its freedom in majors, insight and progress through evaluations and the relatively small student body size. These ideas are manifest within two of my most important experiences: philosophy club and cross country. Because of this, I am drawn to Hampshire with a desire for closely related experiences. Simply put, this environment will allow me to flourish both academically and personally, and I look forward to all I will be exposed to at Hampshire.

My question, “How can individual perspective be used advantageously?” is the same idea behind Hampshire’s lack of limitation in the way of majors. Just as perspectives are inspired from countless experiences in an untraceable way, so are the endeavors and focuses inspired by an individual’s perspective. When these differences are encouraged in character and intellectuality, when there are no limitations on learning and inquiry, they are reflected in the ideas of students and so we have different discoveries and endeavors by virtue of individuality. As ambiguous as the future is, we know that it will be unpredictable and unlike anything previously experienced because we continuously journey into the unknown. It is for this reason that innovation in ideas must be allowed and encouraged, which is exactly what Hampshire does. As times goes by, current knowledge and ideas will be mixed and changed so that majors will become limited only to themselves despite all subjects being of the same reality and having a reserved aspect of other subjects in themselves.

This freedom is matched, as it should be, by evaluations rather than standard grading– majors and the grades that go along with them are both forgotten. Because the ideas of future Hampshire students are unforeseeable, the evaluations of those ideas are also unforeseeable. For this reason, the typical and vague grading system cannot be used because it lacks the depth necessary to describe the qualities that individuate these ideas. Evaluations reflect the life and growth in students. I want to be pushed until bewilderment, again and again; I want my ideas torn apart for the thrill of debate, the goal of learning, the necessity of reconsideration and the progress in reconstruction. This is possible by transcending grades and reaching the state of evaluation: where ideas and learning are cherished.

This is why the small student body size matters. At Hampshire, there aren’t so many faces as to have them become meaningless. For this reason, people can genuinely connect, push and be pushed by others and themselves. The small size promotes a community, rather than a mere student body.

In my experience, members in philosophy club connected with me through the passion for philosophy and learning, while my teammates in Cross country connected with me through the shared love of running and breaking our personal record times. In philosophy club, Mary and I understood each other and together we struggled for truth. Everyone in the club, especially Mary, encouraged me to consider questions I never thought of, to question my own arguments and improve them which ultimately changed my perspective completely. This growth was possible precisely because of the closeness of the community. In Cross country I ran struggling with one particular teammate, Macky, in order to go beyond what we thought we could do and shatter our personal records. The two of us were on the edge of masochism running even after practice and on weekends, we were both on varsity for our potential rather than achievement and we both finished races beating our personal records without being awarded medals because our standard were higher. It taught me to go beyond my own limitations and even do this beyond running, just as Hampshire transcends limitations. In both situations my love for them allowed growth and the growth they provoked created my love for them. With all the similarities, I can already see myself growing at Hampshire.

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