Eagle's Eye

An ode to our college in the forest


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Jamie Wanzek

Jamie Wanzek

It has been quoted by my roommate, Mark Twain, and has resonated with my past semester at Sierra Nevada College, “Don’t let your schooling get in the way of your education.” A constant conflict everyone faces while attending college, although after this semester, I believe SNC allows students to participate in ‘school’ while enhancing the imperative ‘education’ Mark Twain is referring.

When I chose to receive a higher education on the shores of Lake Tahoe, it did not occur to me the opportunities that would flourish. For the same reasons we all choose to come here (mountain lifestyle, Lake Tahoe), our small, private liberal arts college is an excellent place to be involved with your passion, while building community and earning your degree.

As a Sophomore here, I adore the petite log cabin college, in a forest. Only a five minute walk or skateboard from the world’s most incredible body of fresh water, it is hard to beat our location. While our school offers the swirling air of Lake Tahoe, there is also a small learning community spilling with opportunities and intimate intellectual experiences taking place, all across campus.

I have seen it as Interdisciplinary students encourage each other’s cultivated majors through their Service Learning projects. I have seen it during the Jale Warren Trepp Business competition, as the business department gathers to embolden each other’s entrepreneurial pursuits. Take a walk up to the Holman Art and Media center and the air is rich with Fine Art majors sharing their artistic mastery, or attend any BFA show and you will be grounded in the passion. Even last week, I attended the Psychology senior project exhibition and witnessed the psychology students and professors displaying not only their hard work, but the prosperous community in the Psychology department– alluring to witness as an audience member.

If one can build community, there also lies opportunity. When I came here after high school, I had two interests that carried to college; I had a passion in photojournalism and skiing. I was immediately put in the New Media Journalism major, and put on our freestyle ski team; two different aspects of our school I have built community within. The opportunities that I have experienced by being involved with my passions at SNC are unbelieveable. With three all expense paid trips to Oregon, New York City and Whistler, British Columbia, this past semester was a testament toward how grateful I am for this community and school.

Each trip I experienced this semester was at the root of SNC. While in Oregon for USCSA Collegiate Nationals at Bachelor Mountain, I was able to represent the school through my lifelong pursuits in freestyle skiing, while also sharing the National Championship with all our talented snow-sport athletes.  A day after returning home from Nationals I packed my bags for New York City, to experience the College Media Association journalism conference  with my fellow Eagles Eye editors and Tanya Canino. While in New York City, I was building memories alongside my SNC peers and teachers while gaining journalistic knowledge and experience.

My third trip to Whistler, British Columbia was through my internship (that SNC acquainted me) with the Association of Freeskiing Professionals. The organization sanctions the top tier of professional freestyle ski events (such as the XGames and Dew Tour) and allocates a points ranking system for the athletes. As their intern, I was able to attend the AFP World Tour Finals in Whistler. The trip to Whistler gave me the hands on involvement with professional journalism, while clipped into my skis. I was working alongside the top layer of the ski and snow industry; a humbling participation and once-in a- lifetime experience.

In a nutshell, this past semester was a culmination of why I attend SNC.  I did not come to this school to sit in a 200 student lecture hall, with a sea of other students chasing the same degree. I did not come here to have an ordinary college experience. I came to this school to obtain ‘real world’ experiences, and to pursue my individual passions with higher education guiding my path. I came to this school to participate in a flourishing community that shares a similar passion inside and outside the classroom. The education that Mark Twain advocates is alive and swirling across our petite log cabin college on the shores of Lake Tahoe.

Tahoe Sunset by Jamie Wanzek

Tahoe Sunset by Jamie Wanzek

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An ode to our college in the forest