Chris arrived at Evergreen primed to chart his own educational course. He graduated from a large public school in Winnetka that offered an Integrated Global Studies School for high school juniors and seniors. This two-year “school-within-a-school” is designed to provide a smaller learning community for self-directed students interested in pursuing interdisciplinary, experiential education. Since this approach to education is very similar to Evergreen, Chris was familiar with interdisciplinary studies. “For the first time in all my school experience, the classes started connecting,” he says. “It was a lot better to learn that way.”
Because he found the interdisciplinary approach so well suited for him, when he was trying to figure out what college to attend, he looked for ones that, as he says, “fit my style of learning.” He sifted through the college guides and found a few possibilities, but based on his voluminous research about each, only Evergreen jibed with what he was seeking.
At the beginning of his senior year, Chris visited the Olympia campus and was impressed with the diversity, the down-to-earth atmosphere and the caring people he encountered. He was sold.
Originally, Chris intended to take a gap year after graduating from high school to serve in the AmeriCorps NCCC (National Civilian Community Corps) and to defer enrolling at Evergreen. Instead, he was offered several scholarships, which changed his plans. “I wouldn’t have been here this year if not for the scholarships,” he says.
Like many freshmen, he hasn’t yet determined his academic path, but he’s pretty sure he’s bound for a career in education because he enjoys working with kids and teaching people. He says Evergreen is the perfect place to align his interests with the educational choices available to him. “I don’t see things as black and white anymore. The world is full of more intricacies and a lot more connections.”
Despite being a long way from home and family, he says, “My parents are happy that I’m happy and thriving in this environment and doing so well.”
Chris still plans to go into full-time community service by joining Americorps—but after he graduates. “Evergreen’s made me really value experience in learning and Americorps would be a huge learning experience.”