In 1995, shortly after earning a high school diploma (GED), I applied to college. I had a very laissez-faire attitude about the whole thing, applying to only two schools. After several years as an autodidact, I simply did not care if I was accepted. And so I was not particularly concerned when Bard said “No, thank you” (nor was I surprised, as they’d made it pretty clear that they did not know what to do with a homeschooler’s application — no grades? Sacrebleu!). I was accepted at Antioch, which is no big surprise since they accepted something like 99% of applicants. I was intrigued by their co-op program, so I accepted their acceptance (if you know what I mean).
After I sent off my applications, I went off to the City to work for a film festival (warning: the linked post is LONG). It was pretty awesome, as Nell can attest. While I was doing that, I sent off a request to defer my enrollment at Antioch. I stayed in New York till I ran out of money and housing, at which point I moved back in with my mom for a few months; then I was a nanny for a while, and eventually I was 19 and decided that it was time to give college a try. (I felt that I was already a bit old and experienced to be a freshman, and that if I wanted that experience it was now or never. I never thought there was a time limit on education. Just so we’re clear.)
So I went to Antioch that fall, and if you read the post I linked to in the previous paragraph you know I hated it. I made a few truly marvelous friends, though — people who are important to me to this day. It was because of Antioch (sort of) that I met Nova. And of course I met Will there. Our romance was a strange one (read all about it here) and probably shouldn’t have lasted, but here we are and it’s going on ten years. So the cost of tuition was worth it, but I do not for one second regret leaving after a year. If not for Will (we met in the second half of that year) I’d regret not leaving sooner.
Antioch sounds like a great school. Small classes, passionate professors, design-your-own curriculum, and a co-op program that allows students to work in their field every other trimester. In actuality it is a claustrophobic campus of about 300 people where nearly everyone’s fucked everyone else and half the students are trust fund activists. The professors range from inexperienced to stoned to crazy with the occasional remarkable gem. The general education requirements are more stringent than at most academic schools. And the co-ops program is a joke, because a bunch of kids who’d never been on their own before fucked up on the job and got Antioch blacklisted by all the cool companies. So you have to find your own co-op, and I know more than one person who worked a shitty job “for credit” and stripped on the side to pay rent. Not that there is anything wrong with stripping, but I am fairly certain they weren’t allowed to count that as their cross-cultural experience (another joke of a requirement).
Some people loved Antioch, found exactly what they needed there. I am not knocking their experiences. I am delighted for them, in fact! Nova, for instance, discovered who she is while at Antioch, and met the love of her life there, too. But I felt, personally, that it was a tremendous waste of my time.
Except that I got a husband out of it. And he is worth all the crappy school experiences on earth.
I bring all of this up because today Yojo told me that Antioch is closing due to lack of funds/enrollment. And I laughed. And then I felt bad and wanted to explore why I felt so… not pleased, but maybe a little bit vindicated.