Education Without Boundaries
Monica Mainville had just found out one of her classes had been canceled. It was the first spring-like day of the year — the kind perfect for lolling with friends on the quad — but she was disappointed. “I really like that class,” she lamented.
At other schools, Mainville — with her intense dedication to her studies — might be an anomaly. But here, she is one of many students who care deeply about learning for learning’s sake and for the benefit of others.
“I just knew this where I was supposed to be,” she says of Goucher. “I could just tell that students here care about things — like human rights and activism — that most people our age don’t even think about yet and really don’t even consider.”
When she was searching for colleges, Mainville had a list of things she was looking for, and Goucher had them all. “Goucher was my dream school, basically,” she says.
Besides become part of a socially conscious student body, she knew she also wanted to find a college where she could forge really close bonds with her professors. She didn’t just want to listen to cold lectures in stadium-sized classrooms, and she didn’t want professors who only sometimes deigned to answer her emails. She wanted teachers with whom she could work on research, talk to about important issues, and have a friendship.
Mainville lauds one of her favorite professors for “pushing students in a genuine way, encouraging us to grow, to get more in touch with ourselves, and to be a part of our community.”
Mainville is entrenched in the campus community, one where she says, “Everyone accepts everyone else.” As a studio technician for art classes, she cleans the studio space a few nights a week and works with students in the introduction to 3D class. She is in charge of Hear My Voice, an annual publication to which students contribute works inspired by trauma or recovery. Mainville is also a student assistant to the college librarian, and she helps sew and assemble costumes for the Theatre Department’s productions.
Off campus she has volunteered at a pre-school for homeless children in the Station North neighborhood of Baltimore. For a semester she spent every Friday morning working with kids who struggled with language skills and reading. “Some of those kids went home to nothing, so you could see in their eyes just how happy they were to be given attention and to be learning,” she says.
Farther yet off campus, Mainville worked in the only psychiatric hospital on the island of Barbados during one of Goucher’s winter break intensive courses abroad. She helped counsel men who were addicted to alcohol and drugs and who were working on recovery. Prior to this experience, she had thought she wanted to do addictions therapy. She says it was a great opportunity to explore the field, even though she realized it is ultimately not what she wants to do professionally.
This coming fall she also will be doing a semester abroad in London at the University of Roehampton.
Mainville says she has loved the opportunity to study abroad. “A lot of schools encourage students to study abroad, but Goucher requires it and makes it so easy to do. I just can’t believe that I’m being given all of these opportunities to learn in other places,” she says.