Clara Cho ’20 is currently on Hamilton’s Program in the Adirondacks. She shares her reflections on the impact the program has had on her.
When I arrived at the Mountain House for the Hamilton Academic Program in the Adirondacks on Aug. 20, it was with the thought that it was only one semester away. But now it has become so much more. I will be living in the Adirondacks for my spring semester, as I take a leave of absence. I have found both a job and a new internship, along with a place to live, all through connections I made while doing this program. Next spring, I will have a full-time job at Dogwood Bread Company, one of my current internships. I have also been fortunate to find an internship with ADK Action through one of our Common Experience Seminar guest speakers.
Brittany Christensen, director of the environmental/social justice activist group ADK Action, spoke with our group about the importance of food access within the Adirondack Park and the issue of food deserts. We met her at one of the organization’s major project sites, the Farmacy. A small fresh produce store within the Keeseville Pharmacy, the Farmacy provides a food source for people in a town that offers only a Stewarts convenience store for groceries. Meeting Brittany gave me the opportunity to find this internship. I am excited to engage in outreach work, both in person and through social media which will be expanded in the spring.
At the Dogwood Bread Company I have learned the complexity of running a small business and have become immersed in the community of a rural area that functions in part around the daily interactions that occur at Dogwood. Every Thursday morning, I head out in the darkness to get there by 7 a.m., just in time to see the fresh bagels go into the wood fired bread oven, a signature feature of Dogwood, and take the scones out of the oven to be set in the display case.
Each week at Dogwood is different, as my coworkers and I perform various jobs depending on what is happening. I have gained insight into running a small business, especially learning about pricing products and calculating baked goods ingredient costs. At the same time I have become part of the “crew” of workers as well as an accepted member of the community.
Dogwood has become a piece of my life here in the Adirondacks, and it is an internship that has come to mean so much more to me than I ever thought would happen. I am beyond excited to have been hired for the spring, in conjunction with my internship at ADK Action.
My idea to stay in the ‘dacks was actually spawned by meeting a customer at Dogwood who asked me what it was that I wanted to do, after I explained that I was a history major at Hamilton College. I pondered that on my drive home and realized that I want to stay here, in this place that has become a home to me with a community that I feel comfortable in. I am also lucky enough to have extra credits to do this and still graduate with my class, along with understanding parents who are supporting me in this.