year: Freshman from: Georgia

Mindfulness sets Putney apart because it extends to other areas. I think it makes us more considerate human beings.

This trimester, my work job is dinner crew, which I think is such a Putney job! It supports the idea of students sustaining the school and taking ownership, and I think it also makes us be more mindful of people and the world around us. Unlike any other school, here it’s my peers washing my dishes, and I’m washing theirs. This mindfulness sets Putney apart because it extends to other areas. I think it makes us more considerate human beings.

Coming into this community, I was struck by how welcoming everyone was, and I didn’t expect that to last, but it has. All the other students are supportive and open to giving you advice from their own first-year experiences. The teachers also, make the environment open. At my old school, I sometimes felt afraid to ask questions, like I was just supposed to get it, but the classroom environment here is so different. My teacher for Humans in the Natural World, especially, immediately made me feel like I could ask anything. Not because she said anything explicitly, it’s just the sort of environment she created in the classroom.

That class, Humans, has been interesting. When I first saw the class would be combining science, social studies, and English language arts, I was confused, but the course material incorporates the subjects so smoothly I hardly noticed. For example, we did a cow lab, which sounds like science. But we also talked about decisions farmers had to make to be most profitable. The science part was genetics, selective breeding, genetic manipulation. How can we make a cow that produces the most milk? But we also introduced ideas of ethics and morality—is this right? Is this wrong? And we worked with the actual cows in the Putney barn! I also learned that working with cows isn’t as gross as it sounds. They’re cute!

In a way, we’re all privileged, since we have the opportunity to be here. That’s humbling to me. There are a lot of leaders in this one small place. I look forward to growing as a person. I can feel something is happening that’s preparing us all to be leaders.