Education Without Boundaries
As a high school student, Camden Kimura did relatively well and got OK grades. But she only did her work because she had to, not because she cared all that much. By the time she graduated she was completely burnt out. “I did not want to do more school,” she says.
Though Kimura was resistant to the idea of college, she heard her father out when he mentioned looking into Goucher, which he had read about in the book The Colleges That Change Lives.
They flew from the West Coast to tour Goucher, and Kimura was surprised by her reaction.
“When you visit college campuses, they can be really intimidating and really uncomfortable. Goucher was, of course, like that, but there was also this underlying sense that it is comfortable. So, in the end, I chose Goucher,” she says.
She did decide to defer a year, however, so she could retool and re-energize herself before stepping back into an academic environment.
With her leap year, Kimura worked for about six months in London at the Pax Lodge, one of the four centers for the World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts. She had been a Girl Scout from second grade through her senior year of high school and had visited the lodge a few years earlier. On her troop leader’s advice, she signed up to help run programming activities and do cleaning and cooking in the facilities.
“It was hard work, but I loved it,” she says. “A big benefit was that it gave me a break in learning before entering Goucher, and I learned a lot about myself in the meantime.”
When she finally started classes at Goucher, something clicked for her. “Being at Goucher was the first time I ever just loved learning and loved my education,” she says. “I am still so into all of my classes.”
The blasé high school student is long gone. Now Kimura says she is glad to go to class because she knows that the professors are really excited to teach. She has written papers where she enjoyed the entire process and loved what she was writing. She even went through a kind of academic withdrawal when a literary theory class she was taking ended.
“I missed the discussions that we had with it and around it and resulting from it, which were so amazing,” she says.
She is even glad to go to her on-campus job in the preservation lab in the library, where she does low-level repairs on books, preps books for general circulation, and helps keep the stacks clean and orderly.
“I love working there; it is an extremely positive environment. Everyone’s there because they want to be there. They love their jobs and are very energized about their work,” she says admiringly.
Kimura recently declared an English major with dual concentrations in literature and creative writing, including short fiction and poetry. During her junior or senior year she plans to apply for a summer writing grant from Goucher’s Kratz Center for Creative Writing. These grants, which range from $1,000 to $3,000, are used to fund travel and research projects connected to a writing project, a writing-related internship, or attendance at a summer writers’ conference.
If she wins a grant, Kimara is contemplating using the funds to spend time researching or traveling to work on a poetry series about motherhood and Christian mysticism.
“That is what is great about Goucher. There are so many opportunities to do all these fun things,” she says.
For what others may view as more mainstream fun, Kimura spends a lot of time hanging out with friends doing low-key things on campus, like making meals together or gathering to watch all nine seasons of The X-Files.
“I don’t attend many parties, but I have managed to find a wonderful group of friends who have become a major support network for me and who I cannot fathom attending Goucher without,” she says.
Kimura says she really appreciates that her friends come from different places and that they have so many varying opinions, perspectives, and attitudes toward life and Goucher.
“I’ve noticed we sometimes sit around and just tell each other stories about where we grew up or where we have been,” she says. “Even within my social group, I feel I am learning. It’s a wonderful thing.”