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The Mass Media

The Mass Media

The Mass Media

UMass Boston students spend spring semester studying in Nantucket

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The group has become tight-knit over the course of the trip

The Nantucket Semester program is currently being offered through the University of Massachusetts Boston School for the Environment along with the School for Advancing and Professional Studies and the College of Math and Sciences.
A select group of UMass Boston students have been studying on the island since January. A wide variety of courses ranging from “Oceanography” to the “Natural History of Nantucket” are being taken by the 12 students on the most recent trip. All students live in the same house and attend the same classes each week. 
Some features of the trip quickly go from negatives to positives, as junior Environmental Science major Wilkins Ventura said. “The first couple weeks you feel trapped,” said Ventura, “and you realize how small the island is.”
“You see that you’ll be spending your time around these same people, so you go out and meet people who live there year-round,” Ventura continued.
“The idea that you could have no one around you for a mile or two, when you’re used to the city life, is scary and worrisome at first,” Ventura added. ”That contrast with the fast-paced city life… I now know what it feels like to be truly physically alone.”
Due to it being Nantucket’s off-season, there is less activity on the island. “It takes 30 minutes just to say goodbye after you start talking to someone [in Nantucket]. People are personal here, and the ones who live there year-round are not in a rush. Even the speed limit is something like 35 mph at all times. And they care about the land,” said Ventura
Ventura noted that the students appreciate how the community works to conserve the island and farm their own land. There is also a strong sense of community.
“Now I’m just dreading the time I have to leave,” he said.
This weekend Ventura and the other students will be building a fence on one of the island’s farms and shaving sheep for their wool. This semester they have also had a chance to visit the island’s signature lighthouses and other historical sites, as well as lend a hand in cleaning up some of the pristine beaches on the island. 
Ventura stated that being in Nantucket has brought him back to nature as he can be a part of a system that doesn’t exist where he’s from. He added that being in a place where people work together with nature and conservation in mind has been healing during the stressful time of junior year.
So for the student that feels trapped in the hustle and bustle of city life, the Nantucket Semester might just be the perfect escape.