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I passed Division II!

So for those of you unfamiliar with the intricacies of the Hampshire College academic system, it’s pretty untraditional. You go through three stages, called “Divisions.” Div I is all about fulfilling some basic requirements and testing the academic waters. Taking a bunch of different classes in various disciplines. Seeing what you like. It usually takes most people a year.

Division II takes around two years, and is more self-directed. You start focusing on your main interests, and studying what you think you may want to go into. I spent two years taking writing, science, and photography classes, essentially.

Division III is your thesis, similar to grad school. It’s IT, the end all be all of your Hampshire existence. Your time to shine and do The Project you’ve always wanted to do, be it taking pictures of stuff, pottery, growing things, writing things, interviewing people, sailing stuff, building stuff, sewing outfits, creating a whole new language, making books from scratch… you name it, you could do it for a Division III as long as you can justify it to your committee and show them that what you’ve done is worthy of graduation.

At every step along the way your work is reviewed by an academic advisory committee. Some people get assigned faculty, but I’ve been lucky enough to have good working relationships with professors, so I’ve always chosen who I worked with. For Division II, my committee consisted of Will Ryan and Christina Cianfrani. And tonight, they both decided that my work was worthy of passing Division II:

(from our online course registration system, TheHub)
William Ryan recorded a Div II Pass on 09/25/2008 at 09:51PM
William Ryan recorded a Div II Committee Signature on 09/25/2008 at 09:51PM
Christina Cianfrani recorded a Div II Pass on 09/25/2008 at 06:49PM
Christina Cianfrani recorded a Div II Committee Signature on 09/25/2008 at 05:25PM

It’s over. Two years of work, finished. Now I’m officially in “Div Limbo,” which means I’m technically past Division II, but I’ve yet to file my Division III contract.

In the next week or so, I’ll draw up a contract of what I will do for the next few months. My committee, chaired by Michael Lesy with Will Ryan as a member (and possibly others, I’m not sure yet), will then help me through the work I’ve set for myself, evaluating me along the way.

In May, I will have a final meeting, where my completed project will be reviewed one last time. At that meeting, Michael and Will will decide whether or not I have completed the requirements to pass Division III and graduate from Hampshire College.

I am now 3/4 of the way through, but the truly hard work is yet to come.

I’m ready though. Let’s do this…


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