Leaving Amherst, Onward to Dickinson

The semester has officially ended, and the summer has begun. Teaching is over for a few months, and now I turn to focus on my writing, research, summer camp, and moving. Yes, I am moving again! This year at Amherst has been marvelous, but unfortunately it was only a year-long position. After months of silence on the job market, I had a series of interviews in April, and landed a visiting assistant professorship at Dickinson College in Pennsylvania. Over the course of the year, I will be teaching Intro to Women and Gender Studies, Intro to Sexuality Studies, Feminist Methods, and an upper-level elective. I am excited about the opportunity to work at another small liberal arts college and it will be great to return to the Mid-Atlantic region, although I am sad to leave Amherst and Massachusetts.

This summer will be a whirlwind of packing, driving, writing, and prepping for a new semester. I am also working at a few LGBTQ summer camps, which means I am currently writing lesson plans for Camp Aranu’tiq, where I will be the art director for two weeks, and designing educational workshops for Camp Lightbulb’s NYC “Summer School.” I am also working on a paper for the Queer Histories Conference in San Francisco in mid-June.

As I have been walking to and from campus the last few days, marveling at the fluffy clouds in the blue sky over the mountains, I have been thinking about how much I will miss this place. It has been a fantastic place for a rural queer person like myself to live, and Pippin and I have had many adventures in the fields and woods. Amherst College has also been a great place to work, and I have grown a lot as a scholar and professor while here. So I thought I would pull together a list of things that I will miss, as a reminder of some of the things that I have loved this year, as well as a list of things I am looking forward to in regard to Dickinson, as a reminder to me about the exciting things to come.

Things I Will Miss (in no particular order):

  1. My fantastic students, especially my students in my Trans Representations class; I learned so much from them this year, and I was beyond impressed with their final art projects. I was lucky to teach students from all of the Five Colleges over the course of the year, and each one of them was brilliant in their own way.
  2. My colleagues in the SWAGs department, and the staff who run the Queer Resource Center and the Women and Gender Center on campus. It has been wonderful to collaborate together, and to learn from each other this year.
  3. Friendships. I will particularly miss my friend N. and our weekly dinners together, and my neighbor N. and my neighbor M. who both accompanied Pippin and I on countless walks. I will also miss coffee hang-outs with J. talking about teaching, gender, and non-binary identities.
  4. The barn and fields behind my home, and the changing shape of the landscape across the shifting seasons.
  5. Likewise, I will miss walking the Rail Trail, Emily Dickinson Trail, and the trails of Bramble Hill Farm, Larch Hill Conservatory, and Amethysts’ Brook.
  6. My apartment with its wood floors and warm radiators. The pine tree outside my bedroom window and the turkeys that walk by in the morning.
  7. SNOW. Believe it or not, I really enjoyed the winter up here, and will miss the beautiful snow. Fortunately, I know that I will get plenty of snow in PA too.
  8. Frost library on campus, and access to the Five College library system.
  9. Food, coffee, and book places: The Book Mill, AJ Hastings, Amherst Books, Broadside Books, El Comalito, Captain Jack’s Roadside Shack, and The Black Sheep.
  10. The Western Mass Queer Exchange Facebook group, which has been a great place to connect with the LGBTQ community up here, and to find resources like a veterinarian, and LGBTQ-friendly doctors and therapists.

Things I am looking forward to at Dickinson:

  1. Teaching engaged students. All of the students I met during my interview were fantastic! About 15 of them showed up to my research talk during the midst of finals, which shows how invested they are in the department.
  2. Working with my future colleagues. Again, I had fantastic interactions with everyone I met during my interview, and I am excited to work with the other WGSS faculty and WGSS affiliates at Dickinson next year.
  3. Teaching new classes including Feminist Methods and Intro to Sexuality Studies.
  4. The department trip in September, which is an annual bonding and learning experience for faculty and students. This year we are going to Philly.
  5. Writing my book on trans kids, and mapping out a new research project on LGBTQ Summer camps.
  6. My new apartment–it was tricky finding housing that would accept a dog, but I finally found a quirky little two bedroom apartment that I think Pippin and I will love.
  7. Being closer to loved ones and family–I will be near to friends in Lewisburg, Harrisburg, Baltimore, and DC, and much closer to my parents and sister who live on the Eastern Shore of MD.
  8. Exploring the mountains around Carlisle and the Susquehanna watershed with Pippin. (I wonder how he might feel about some canoeing…)
  9. Skiing, maybe? I love snow and winter, and I think the smaller PA mountains may be more accessible to this ski-newbie than the Vermont ones were.
  10. Midtown Scholar bookstore in Harrisburg.

Cover image: Taken by me today on Bramble Hill Farm.

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2 comments

    • Exactly! I am sad to leave Amherst, and I am excited for all the new possibilities ahead. It is hard to move from place to place, but it also means I get to move and explore new places!

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