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April 11, 1982 - Image 15

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 1982-04-11
Note:
This is a tabloid page

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0

Learningby experiencing: NELP'

ByHarlan Kahn
Riding in a van for 14 hours, with 10
people I didn't know is how my summer
began-Our destination was an obscure
place that can only be truly remem-
bered by those people who have lived it.
Deep in the woods of New Hampshire,
in a little town called Wolfeboro, at a
girl's camp named Kehonka, off the
shores of the wide, beautiful Lake Win-
nepausakee lives the University's New
England Literature Program.
For me, NELP was the ultimate in
academics. For seven weeks, I hiked,
camped, read, wrote, talked, ate, slept,
partied and did an awful lot of thinking.
I was enrolled in three classes and ear-
ned eight credits.
THE MOST important part of the
program, however, were the "classes"
attended on the dock, in the wooks, at
the Dockside restaurant, and even on
the mountains climbed. Much was
leanred through the diversity of people
I met, during our talks by the fire, and
in our huge, seemingly continuous
meals.
I lived in a old beat up wooden cabin
with two other students. The three of us
livedabove three other students, who
were all complete slobs. We became
close friends and shared - countless
laughs together.
The staff of NELP centered around a
core of three professors, although
anyone who had anything to teach could
teach it. In fact, the professors would
probably take offense at my referring

The Michigan Daily-runday
Playing cot
in Montana

By Poe Coughlan
Did you ever drive to town with a cow
licking your neck? Put up 15 tons of hay
by hand or savor prairie oysters fresh
from the fire? Working as a ranch hand
on a cattle ranch last summer in Mon-
tana, I had the opportunity to experien-
ce these and many other western
traditions.
May first found me far from the
student-clogged- streets of Ann Arbor,
bouncing along on a snow-drifted dirt
road in the middle of the boonies.
Destination? Sleeping Pines ranch
tucked up beneath the Bridger Moun-
tains, in Bozeman, Montana, accessible
only by a 40 mile decrepid dirt road.
HOME FOR THE next four months, I
soon discovered, was a little, 100-year-
old, one-room, homesteader's log cabin
complete with a quilt covered brass bed
and an ancient cast-iron wood-burning
stove. Beneath the southern-exposed
porch, a stream trickled. The main
house itself is nestled against the
Bridger Mountains in the northeast
corner of the Gallatin Valley. The floor
of the valley is checkered with rolling
fields of winter wheat and barley. En-

closing the
Mountains to
to the west
Spanish Peak
In most par
month of Ma:
in Montana.
two feet of
already snow
my hopes I
necessitating
with my wood
ALTHOUGI
break and tr
horses for wo
found myself i
the cattle op
branding. Wit
ground, it was
the horse opei
owner's son's
the veterinar;
every rancher
With a rope
attaching him
him, and thi
people pushing
was loaded in
Ford. Albert
his horns re
See SU

NELPERS DERIVE insight and inspiration from this mountainous New Hampshire landscape.

to them so formally. More accurately,
they were our friends.
THE SCHEDULE varied from day to
day. Each morning we had class from
ten to eleven, but the remainder of the
day we had reasonably free. Often we

spent our afternoons in "societies," ex-
tra-academic activities which ranged
in subject from Chaucer to gravestone
rubbing.
Requirements of NELP, however,
are inconsequential. Everyone knows
what is expected of them. Respon-
sibilities are met, but we could
basically do what we pleased. There
were no formalized pressures.
We acted as freely as we wished,
forgetting the formal constructions on
most of our lives back in Ann Arbor. If
you want to go skinny dipping, fine. If
you want to go on a "solo" over night in
the woods, go ahead. If you want to
sleep through class, or write a novel,
okay. What was important was that you
put forth an honest effort to make the
most of your NELP.
EACH NELPER KEPT a journal,
though there was never a particular
reason stated for keeping one. As funny
as it may sound, I think my journal
became one of my best friends. I used it
to record all my experiences. The
troubles I had or emotions I needed to

express found a convenient sounding
board in my journal. It came with me to
the summits of Mt. Chocorua and Mt.
Washington. It traveled to the coast of
Maine.
As NELP progressed, you could see
things changing. Most obvious of these
was nature. The nights, once wintry
cold began to warm. The black flies
died off and the mosquitoes moved in.
The numbing lake water became
swimmable. The gorgeous sunset that
we witnesses every night from our
dining hall windows gradually shifted
its position in a trail across the
horizon. The moon and stars shining
more brightly than any city dweller
could ever see, also altered their con-
figurations.
The changes that were more difficult
to perceive were personal. We
NELPers began to look at our lives and
our world in a new light, each of us in
our own way.
We felt we experienced true lear-
ning-not in the basement of Angell
Hall, or in a carrel in the UGLi, but
living.

Daily Photo by POE COUGHLAN
A RANCH WORKER tries to show this horse who's boss.

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