Courage: Invite a Personalized Education

I’m often asked by high schoolers and friends who have elected to go to large state schools if the size of the College of William and Mary makes me feel claustrophobic. Since I graduated from high school with a class of 44 students, an undergraduate program with 6,000 undergrads doesn’t really have that affect on me. From the moment I stepped onto William and Mary’s campus while on a tour over three years ago, I desired to attend a somewhat small college. Based on the past two years, I could tell you about our low student/faculty ratio and how great it’s been to have such small class sizes, but I don’t think I really came to understand what I love so much about a small college experience until I began reading Martha Nussbaum’s explanation of the Socratic method.

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First Interviews and New Discoveries

June 9, 2013

Greetings from Cádiz!  This stunning, coastal town is located in Andalucía in the south of Spain.   It is absolutely breathtaking, and I am thrilled to be here.  I arrived on Wednesday evening, 24 hours late, due to an unfortunate passport-related error on my part.  All things considered, I am very lucky to have only been delayed a day.  Upon arrival, Megan, Professor Cate-Arries, and Mike met me at the train station, and then moved me into my homestay with a hospitable 70 year-old woman and her husband.  That evening, “Team Cádiz” had a little evening “pow wow” to discuss what was to come in the days ahead.  I asked Professor Cate-Arries what Megan and I should tell people when they asked us about our research, because (as we learned in our Seminar) even though many people are starting to explore la memoria histórica (the historical memory) of the Franco era, it is still a topic that one needs to be careful when talking about, because you never know on what side of the conflict different people were (or even are) on.  It is still an extremely sensitive topic, as Megan encountered first-hand last year during the W&M Summer Session in Cádiz.  Megan and a few of her classmates were instructed to go out on the street and ask people about their experiences during the Franco era.  Those that were questioned got very upset and angry, and were completely unwilling to talk to them about it.  In order to avoid upsetting anyone, offending anyone, or stirring up bad feelings, we all decided to be vague and tell those that asked (including our host parents) that we are researching family memories and experiences in Spain throughout the generations, especially related to the 30s and 40s.  We agreed that it would be best to keep the “Franco-and-memoria-histórica-talk” limited to people Professor Cate-Arries had already established relationships with.

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