Transfer Student Project: Anna's Story
Since arriving at Evergreen, Anna has been enamored of the atmosphere. “I didn’t know that this was in the middle of a forest, so when I first came here I was like, ‘Where is the school? I only see trees.’ But that was one thing I really liked, when I realized that there’s going to be clean air for two years, at least.”
Download a Windows Media File with clips from an interview with Anna. (This is a WMA file and should play on your computer using Windows Media Player)
Anna is focusing on pre-veterinary studies at Evergreen, after transferring from Central Washington University and Shoreline Community College. She heard about Evergreen through a previous professor, but other than word of mouth, Anna feels she came into this phase of her education blind to preconceived notions. “I was expecting a very active and involved social life here, involved with and actually tying academics and social things together, not just learning in the classroom but going out and doing it, and I guess that’s exactly what I’m getting.” Anna believes Evergreen gave her the opportunity to be involved in rigorous studies as well as learn how to manage her time and energy in a new system.
The structure of the 16-credit program was challenging for Anna because of her previous linear learning experiences. “[I]t was a kind of shock going from separate classes—50 minutes in every class once a day—to a program, which attacks one topic from all levels and there’s assignments just from one class everywhere.” Though daunting, the integrated curricula provided Anna with explorations she feels are unique to this institution. “[Evergreen] is so holistic, I can incorporate things I wouldn’t get at other schools. I’m studying in my class—part of it is herbal medicine—and I wouldn’t get that through regular veterinary medicine education.” When the 16-credit program load became too much, Anna broke her education down into separate Evening and Weekend or Extended Education classes, like Chemistry and Genetics.
Anna’s most valuable experience at Evergreen has been the relationship between teachers and students. “A lot of it is the people who teach here. It seems like they go beyond just giving you information—they involve you… when you talk to them, they don’t just say, ‘Do this, do that.’ They ask you questions and make you think.” In addition, she describes the seminars as an open conversation around the same topic. “It really makes you think, and makes you have to listen to other people even if they have something to say that you might not want to hear or might not understand.”
Instead of letter grades and GPA’s, Evergreen students both write and receive written evaluations at the end of programs. These evaluations were another aspect of Evergreen’s structure that seemed foreign and strange to Anna. Indeed, they took some getting used to. “It is weird. After getting good grades for a while, I was almost craving these letters. But what does that mean? It doesn’t mean that I know everything. It means that I did what was required for the class. Really, I felt that narrative evaluations… open up the class… I can do something that’s not part of the class because I don’t get points for things. I get the experience, and I get the knowledge from it, so I like it this way.”