distraction no.99

Nova Ren Suma | On Writing & Writing Distractions

Not an Author Newsletter… something else.

My College Is Closing

Just got the news today that my college, Antioch College, a strange tiny school that turned out to be the perfect place for strange and then-tiny me, will be closing in 2008. Supposedly it is closing to design and build a “21st century campus.” Really it’s because they ran out of money and didn’t have enough students to stay open.

I went to Antioch as an intensely shy, comfortably odd girl and came away as a more confident, passionate, focused writer. I realized who I wanted to become there. I applied to my MFA program while there, with an odd (what else?) short story based on a study-abroad trip to Japan that I went to while there. I met the love of my life there. We became inseparable there. I met some amazing friends there (you know who you are). I would not be who I am today without Antioch. It was always my fantasy to “make it” as a writer and use my earnings to fund the writing program there and endow scholarships and make some kind of difference to a place that always seemed to be on the brink of falling apart. Now it’s happened. No matter what complaints we may have had about the school—and it’s been a long time, but I seem to recall I had many—I feel truly sad about the loss of Antioch College. I don’t know if there is another place like it in the world.

Update: Some more info here

17 responses to “My College Is Closing”

  1. I am truly sorry to read this news. I went to a similar liberal arts college (thought not quite as liberal, but close) not far from Antioch and knew people who transferred to and from there. Siblings of my college friends went there. I was always impressed by Antioch and its grads. This is such bad news for small liberal arts schools in general, which tend to produce not only good writers, but good thinkers.

  2. Ooh, that’s too bad. The things you’ve done seen and been through it. Strange the kind of wistfulness & nostalgia this kind of news produces. I live in a very very small town–every time a business closes or a building comes down, you really feel it.

  3. My boyfriend went to Antioch. He has been similarly saddened by this news, too. I missed out on the college experience, but listening to his stories about Antioch I can tell it’s a special place.

  4. I am shocked at how sad this has made me. I mean, I’ve had a day to think about it, and the sadness isn’t going away.

    To be honest, it makes me even more bitter that I am still paying for Antioch. And will be until the end of time.

  5. My condolences, too. Like you and elizabeth, I went to a small liberal arts college. I also had/still have my complaints, but I would be heartbroken if it closed.

  6. I only just learned this from your post. Wow. I was counting on little ‘ochians to keep the tradition of being ‘ashamed to die’ alive. Thosy leafy sidewalks, the quarterly issues, those identity transformations.

    I feel like a ship sailing past a lighthouse which suddenly extinguishes. We are the map now.

  7. it’s just terrible. for all the things i disliked about antioch, the intention was always great. it’s just another example of poor administration screwing up a good thing.
    this way the admins can get rid of tenured professors and well paid unionized staff, raise their own salaries and “reopen” with less qualified people who are being paid peanuts… terrible.

  8. It’s funny you should say that about clearing house of tenured folks, E. That’s one of the first things that ran through my mind when I heard the news- and Michael said fairly much the same thing.


  9. …so, Erik will take over the Comm department, Nova can teach creative writing, and I’ll be a janitor!

  10. Will, you would not be a janitor. You would teach the horror movie theory courses and offer a master class in cooking hot wings.

  11. Oh yeah? Well, what if I WANT to be a janitor, eh? You gonna try and stop me with your “creative writing” teacher powers? What’re you gonna do? I’ll MOP you!

  12. Antioch has offered the most incredible co-ops and work study opportunities of any college in America to date. What other colleges have ever offered such a rich and diverse experience to study abroad, provide excellent academic curricula and encourage people to THINK?! The well-known quote by Horace Mann speaks volumes.
    Antioch must live on! Instead of spending billions on war why not put some serious funding into rebuilding this unique campus immediately.

  13. Even although I was only there for a few months in the capacity of hanger on and erm, c-shop volunteer (cough) that place had an effect on me and – wary of seeming like a gatecrasher – I too feel sad. Before we went there E said to me, you know you’re going to meet some amazing people that you’re going to be friends with for a very long time, and inside I dismissed his comment, reluctant as I was in those days to entertain the possibility that many people were worth meeting at all, let alone that they would be in one place. Well here I am, 9 years on, through varying degrees of contact, still missing those people and still considering them my friends.

    As I write this I am drinking my coffee from a Denny’s mug that I nicked from the branch of that fine establishment that was closest to Yellow Springs. There’s a cafe in Edinburgh that I go to simply for the fact that it’s like the c-shop has been transported, nonchalant staff, freebox, shabby sofas and all, into my city. I still can’t look at a bottle of Goldschlager without feeling odd and quietly smirking to myself. I can’t enter a forest without thinking of the Glen. I was just an outsider but you all made me feel welcome and like I was one of you, which I guess is part of the Antiochian spirit, and I hope that lives on in all of your lives because it’s a truly wonderful thing.

  14. Sharon, you weren’t an outsider there! You fit *right* in and I for one (surely I am nowhere near alone on this) wish you’d popped in earlier.

    Besides, if you hadn’t volunteered with the Cshop, I would have had to move into it that quarter.

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