June is finally here, and as all of you lovely incoming students get ready to wrap up your final year of high school, I’m just beginning my summer adventure here in New Student Programs as the summer orientation assistant. Looks like we’re all going to have an exciting few anticipatory months ahead of us!
Even though I started at Hampshire way back in the fall of 2008, I can easily recall the mixed emotions many of you are feeling now – the excitement, the anxiety, the suspense of the unknown. Change can be difficult, but Hampshire has been a wonderful, comforting place for me ever since I first set foot on this campus as a student.
Though I came in with the intention to study creative writing, I soon found myself drawn to the studio arts and to circus. My studies involved combining these two areas in the form of mask-making and clowning. I spent a semester abroad in Italy studying the masked theatre form known as commedia dell’arte. My time spent in the country my grandparents grew up in rekindled my passion for Italian history and folk culture, this time as viewed through the lens of feminism, and with a greater understanding of politics and poverty.
My Div III was a circus show that took place in South-Central Italy during the Fascist era, and my goal was to highlight some of the issues that my grandparents had to face: strict social rules for women, a war that the uneducated Southerners didn’t fully understand, and having a responsibility to your family beyond all others. Div III was a challenging year, but it was also a wonderful opportunity for me to bring my own perspective, skills, and identity into something important and often overlooked.
But Div III is still far away for all of you, and there is plenty of time to explore your passions. And as important as academics are, I hope that you all are able to meet lots of amazing, inspiring people and get truly involved with this campus. Student groups are one of the best ways to do this; I was involved with Hampshire’s circus group, Circus Folk Unite!, for all four years of my college experience, and it was one of the most important and influential aspects of my life here (and in some ways, it still is!).
Even though the bulk of my duties will be logistical stuff pertaining to your upcoming orientation experience, I want each and every one of you to know that I’m happy to answer your questions, chat about Hampshire, and help you ease into this next phase of your life. Beyond everything else, Hampshire is a community, and one that you will be able to help shape in the coming years.
Congratulations, and welcome!