my pathway experience

Betwixt and Between: An Introduction to College Honors

Megan Ruggiero, '10, an English major with a double minor in theater and business administration who is a member of the Wesson Honors Program, discusses her Pathway, Betwixt and Between: An Introduction to College Honors, led by Humanities Professor Ann Page Stecker.

Pathways, the foundation of Colby-Sawyer's Liberal Education Program, are a group of theme-based, interdisciplinary seminars that students choose for their first and second years. This Pathway examines the ways people map paths from one creative, cultural, or intellectual experience, and one set of relationships, to another. Students are encouraged to ask impertinent questions about change and growth, and devise ways to map their own process of being in-between.

Pathways are designed as theme-based and interdisciplinary. What do you see as some of the major themes discussed in the course?

I have nearly completed the second semester of my sophomore year at Colby-Sawyer College. I can hardly believe that time has passed so fast. I'm still lost in an abyss of life-altering decisions and plans for the future. Has anything really changed? With both Pathway seminars almost out of the way and three stepping stones later, I feel as if I have just leapt over the threshold onto the Colby-Sawyer campus. In reality, two years have flown by. I am still anxious. I am Atlas with the entire weight of the cosmos upon my shoulders I have been bombarded with opinions, beliefs, and various ways of seeing the world. Yet, I am still waiting. I am waiting to find my place, and most importantly, I am waiting to find myself.

Now that you have nearly completed the sophomore seminar, what are some of the important things you've learned through the course?

The first section of Betwixt and Between: The Honors Pathway was a crucial step in my assimilation process of becoming a college student. I quickly learned that one is expected to contribute to class discussion, ten books is really a small number when it comes to assigned reading, and “liminality” is a word, though Microsoft Office seems to disagree. Now, in the second session of Betwixt and Between, I expect to find what I am looking for.

Please describe some of the resources used in the class.

The syllabus is atypical, containing graphics, quotations, and reading that is somewhat self-paced. It is encouraging to see a reading list of literary pieces that all seem relevant to the course and our central focus. The Penelopiad by Margaret Atwood; A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius by David Eggers, and Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison are just a few of the texts guaranteed to excited the imagination.

What kinds of projects have you completed for the course?

Not only is it refreshing to unite with the same students who shared my enlightening experience with me freshman year, I have also found that I am thrilled to be writing a 30-page paper, which will be collected in its final form at the end of the semester. The project has been dubbed The Magnum Opus and it is composed of both a written and presentational component. Though this seems like a daunting task, it really is not that difficult to write about oneself for 30 pages. Professor Stecker has invited us to invent something that is truly unique to each of us. Her only guidelines are to use an autobiographical event or series of events that have placed each of us in a luminal, or transformative, state. We must also choose a trickster whose story can be woven throughout the pages of our own. Tying in the literature we have been, and will be, covering in class is the third and final stipulation. Beyond these three simple rules, our minds are free to wander, experiment, and discover pieces of ourselves that we never knew existed.

The name “Pathway” suggests a journey. How has the course and you and your classmates evolved from one year to the next?

I have high hopes for my second go at Betwixt and Between, and I expect every one of us to compose an Opus that is thought-provoking, powerful, and pleasing to the ears, full of voice and magnitude. I look forward to finding myself with the people I met when I first arrived on campus, the people who will be so difficult to let go of in just two short years!