Frost White: Why EA Worked for Me
Hi, my name is Frost and I am a recent EA graduate now attending Hampshire College in Amherst, Massachusetts. I first joined EA after an emotionally rough Freshman year was followed by a physically rough Sophomore year. Having pneumonia during first semester finals resulted in me missing almost two months of class and being so significantly behind that I needed to find another solution. While all my teachers were understanding, the way the school system is set up was not at all conducive to my goal which was always learning first, and grades later. That was the year before EA opened and when I saw that they were taking applications, I immediately signed up in hopes of finding an educational model that fit me better than the one I was stuck in.
The best part about EA to me, and the part that lead me to Hampshire College, which is similar in the goals and pathways to those goals, was the ability to apply anything I needed to know but wasn’t necessarily interested in to any form of media or any other information that I wanted. In my Junior year, this meant that writing and musicals turned into a way to showcase knowledge of history, science, and even math skills. As my interests changed in my Senior year, I demonstrated knowledge through mentoring and tutoring other students. Along the way, I’ve seen people show history through art, math through video game coding, and even things like psychology through live experiment. The opportunities to apply knowledge to passions and goals in life is tremendous.
Like I mentioned, Hampshire has a similar model to EA. It’s all about people and involvement and passion that I never would have experienced if not for EA. The ability to ask for help that I learned from EA is something I use every day, as is the knowledge of my own boundaries and limits, the understanding of what it takes to motivate and interest myself in a subject, and the ability to know that not every mistake will end your entire career. EA taught me to plan ahead, to follow a set of deadlines, and to be accountable for my own work, instead of making someone else accountable for me. On top of that, the chance I was given to research fully into topics that interested me has already directly paid off for me in college. My senior project in EA directly connected to classes I have already taken in college, and that’s not even accounting for the skills I learned doing the project itself.
I won’t lie and say I’ve been having the best college experience ever. I’m far away from home, I didn’t know anyone before I got there, and I’ve never had to deal with a lot of things that I have to do now as an adult- financing has been really hard, and finding time to take care of myself along with handling classes and work. But because of EA, and because of the direct support of my advisors and teachers in EA, I’m here and I know who I am and I know what I want and need to learn to achieve the goals I set back when I first figured out what I wanted to be when I grew up. I still need to learn to proofread before turning in papers and that sometimes I need to get out of bed and go outside no matter how cold the floor in my dorm is. But I’ve made lovely friends who are interested in things that I know and that I can share with them because I was given the chance to be more than a student in a public school classroom.
Thanks for all you do,