The Quintessence of Composition and Hiking

As our group stepped out of the van, the presence of autumn was electric. The brisk air had settled into the valley and through the blanket of vibrant colors rolling over the mountain peaks. The trees appeared as if they were painted through a kaleidoscope of yellow hues with hints of orange and red. In the horizon, the mountains rolled gently and powerfully over one another. As we made our way up the mountainside, the sun began to peak through the overcast skies. Rays of sun flickered specks of golden light across the sky and throughout the valley and foliage. The wind picked up as the blue skies opened up to the fading warm sunlight. In every way possible, it was the perfect day for an outing. This is just one of the countless memorable experiences that I have had through Composition in the White Mountains.

On Earth, I believe that there are about an infinite amount of absolute wonders, or certain aspects of life that are truly remarkable. These wonders are identified by their own character and uniqueness. In Composition in the White Mountains, taught by Angela Ricciardi, there is an incredible emphasis on these wonders of life and capturing them through writing. This composition class takes on the typical approach of college writing and completely transforms it to a hands-on, versatile, and personal experience for the students. The basis of this course revolves around immersing oneself into nature and reflecting upon it through individual thoughts, feelings, and experience.

Each week, our writing process begins with field notes from an “outing.” These outings provide students with the opportunity to engage in hands-on learning by exploring what nature and the White Mountains have to offer. In addition to this, it also allows students to expand their writing skills and capabilities by exploring a variety of new techniques, topics, and styles. These advancements are directly shown through the journals that are developed from the field notes.

Journals are the beginning stages of the essay and serve as the basis for the topic, focus, and purpose of the piece. Throughout the writing process, students work collaboratively and are encouraged to express their thoughts and feelings creatively. This practice of peer collaboration provides the class with the opportunity to create new relationships while also gaining insight on other perspectives. Overall, this composition class as a whole has an immensely positive impact on the aspects of writing and educational experiences alike.

When signing up for Composition in the White Mountains, I was seemingly unaware of how incredibly impactful it would be on both my educational and personal experiences. From the very first outing, I was taken aback by how amazing and influential this class is. I have always been a lover of nature and the great outdoors. Throughout the course of this class, my love and appreciation for hiking and nature has only grown exponentially. Each hike has the power to not only enrich my education, but also to broaden my horizons on personal experiences and life itself. There is no better feeling than that instant your vision turns from scaling up the face of the mountain, and your eyes meet the vast mountain landscape of New Hampshire. Each detail within the horizon is simply euphoric. Each experience is unique, captivating, and exhilarating. Each outing is bursting with opportunity and knowledgeable potential. In my eyes, this class simply captures the true essence of being a student at Plymouth State.

Overall, Composition in the White Mountains is both a highly rewarding and regarded course at Plymouth State University and has truly impacted my education and shaped my experience here.

Victoria Pedersen Ciulla ’24 is a first-year student at Plymouth State University. She is majoring in public health and double minoring in both global health and women, gender and sexuality studies. The path that she has chosen is based on her love of service and passion for connecting others. In her future, she hopes to inform, empower, and educate communities on important topics and issues regarding health and wellness. As a whole, Victoria is an outgoing and down to earth individual who enjoys hiking, running, skiing, painting, and enjoying the little things in life. She looks forward to the amazing experiences and opportunities awaiting at Plymouth State University.