Seasonal transitions for a graduate student

pyramid through trees
Right now the Learning Center is transitioning from spring into summer, though the weather might not always show it. All of the graduate students in cohort 12, as well as interns, seasonal, and full time staff, are cleaning up from Mountain School and getting ready for Family programs, Adult seminars, and adventures in the backcountry with high school and college age students.
For me, it means floating between the Youth Leadership and Learning Center summer trainings, working to develop lesson plans, and creating workshops to facilitate with the incoming cohort of graduate students who have their first class next week. Officially, my position this summer (or, my “summer leadership track”) is Graduate Program Facilitator & Youth Leadership Adventures Support Graduate Assistant—which is a fancy way of saying that I’m helping out with the Youth Leadership program and working with the new grads.
It’s all really exciting and I’m looking forward to my unique summer leadership experience.
I’m especially excited to work with the incoming cohort. I like to reflect. I do it a lot—in my journal, by myself, with other people. Through this position, I get to watch another group of people go through most of the same experiences I went through last summer when I first started this program. I get to see them start out as 11 strangers and become a community. Just think about how much reflection that will enable me to do!
The role of Graduate Program Facilitator, or Community Facilitator, was developed last summer by one of the previous students who wanted to create more of a connection between the two cohorts. We overlap for about nine months so there’s actually quite a bit of time to form friendships, mentorships, hiking buddies, etc. But in the past that hadn’t really happened on a cohort-wide level. This last year, however, that changed. I think my cohort would say that we know our most recent predecessors pretty well. I hope I can help facilitate that same feeling with the next one.

Leading photo: Pyramid Peak, through a canopy of Douglas fir trees. Photo by the author

Ryan Weisberg is a graduate student in North Cascades Institute and Western Washington University’s M.Ed. program. Ryan grew up here in Washington, exploring the natural areas around Bellingham and in the Cascades. Ryan is the Chattermarks editor this year during their residency at the North Cascades Environmental Learning Center.

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