When I first started college, leaving the nest seemed more frightening than I was ready to handle. Truth be told, leaving my high school sweetheart who still had a year to go wasn’t something I was prepared to do. I transferred a year later to an intensive conservatory program for musical theater. Shortly thereafter, I ended up working full time in theater, and stayed for almost a decade.
When I returned to college, I was looking for very different things within a school. I wanted a place that was small, knew the value of words and understood the importance of integrated learning. I wanted a school on the quarter system because the time spent in class with professors was less scattered and would allow me to focus more intently on fewer subjects. This would give me more abi lity to dig into what I was studying. I had experienced the constant pull of seven different directions in a semester before, and I wanted a change.
I had looked at Principia College many years before, but at the time it was not the proper fit for me. However, having the school on my radar from 10 years ago made it a prime candidate in 2010 when I started looking at programs to finish my degree in. I was amazed at the student-faculty ratio, the intimate classes, the writing seminar and the writing program. I was informed on my visiting weekend that the quarter system was ending the term before I would enroll. But I still felt, after much prayer, that it was the right place to be. The quarter system was a huge draw for me, but it was not the only reason I chose Principia College. I chose it because it was right and it was fitting. It was a unique, rare, special place.
Five semesters later, I have experienced some of the most challenging, life-changing, shaping and growth-filled moments of my life. I have learned more than I ever thought possible in many ways, and so much that I will never be able to put into words. However, I do look back and question why so much change from the things that made Principia College my first choice school has happened in such a short time.
I know I have to take into account that my interest in academia is so very different than it was for me 10 years ago, and I have to admit that perhaps I wanted something that was another form of education that didn’t fit into the state university environment. But I am saddened that so much of what made Principia my first choice is now gone. I have to ask what made these changes, because even now I still do not understand them all.
I have been told that Principia changed its quarter system to make the ease of transfer easier, but I wish the importance of being able to focus on only three courses so I wouldn’t have to split myself in so many ways would have stayed. I loved how it was yet another thing that made Principia so unique.
The fate of the writing program has been debated, discussed and decided. As a writer, it was saddening to watch this special support system being built into the school system itself, along with writing seminar disappear during my brief time here.
The positions available in so many of the departments have been shrinking quickly, and it is hard not to notice the strain that now seems to sit on much of the faculty as they try to accommodate the needs of the students without the same faculty they once had. I don’t question the administration’s love for the students, or that a lot of work has gone into making the changes with the best decisions for the school as the focus. But I do question why so many of the things that stood out to me as valuable parts of Principia have shifted.
I chose Principia because it was different, because it was unlike any other school I could ever attend. However, the changes that continue to take place at Principia take baby steps toward standardizing its education system to match its larger state school counterparts.