Transitioning into spring

For the past three years, The MVTimes has asked four recent Vineyard high school graduates to share their experiences during their first year after graduation. Elie Jordi is a 2015 Martha’s Vineyard Regional High School graduate who was also a newsroom intern with The Times during the second semester last year. He writes from Burlington, Vt., where he is attending the University of Vermont.

Elie Jordi, left, and Eli Hanschka on the summit of Mount Washington. — Photo Courtesy of Elie Jordi

I remember at accepted students’ day last April, we were asked to say why we chose to attend the University of Vermont (UVM). The student who went before me said honestly, “I came here to ski.” Everyone laughed and clapped in agreement. While we did come to learn, college is a time to have fun, and what better venue than in the mountains? With three ski resorts within 45 minutes of UVM, winter sports are taken very seriously. Unfortunately, throughout November, Burlington was hit by unusually warm temperatures. Instead of highly anticipated snow, a cold drizzle drowned out any hopes of an early start to the ski season.

Last winter was epic. The East Coast was slammed with snow, as many of us know too well. While many associated the snowstorms with the burdens of shoveling cars and driveways, it was a skier’s dream. Last winter was the best winter many East Coast ski resorts have seen in years. I, along with many others, came back to school after Thanksgiving break with high expectations for another great winter ahead. Yet, as November turned into December, the temperate weather stayed. Photos of resorts covered in mud and grass added to the disappointment. As the semester came to an end, the uncovered resorts became the least of my worries — it was time for the dreaded finals week.

I had four finals spread over the course of a week and a half. Compared with many of my friends, I had a very reasonable schedule. Finals pose a stressful challenge for many, including myself, and they were the only obstacle standing between me and a month-long winter break. Thoughts of home raced through my mind as I prepared to take four tests that would decide the fate of my grades. All of my finals were reasonably hard, but nothing unexpected. It all came down to my last one: Chemistry. It was my hardest course, and its being last made it that much more painful. My mind was already in vacation mode a day prior to the test.

Let me set the scene for this horror of a final. I walked into the 200-plus person lecture hall, full water bottle in hand and calculator and No. 2 pencil in my pocket — classic test-taking materials. I walked down the steps into the room, gazing from row to row of sleep-deprived students. Finding an empty seat, I settled in and acknowledged the persons to my left and right as if preparing for battle. I took a couple of deep breaths, doing my best to act cool. The professor put a countdown clock on the screen, and handed out the tests. Doing my best to push aside my thoughts of home, I focused on the task at hand. While the test was a challenge, I walked out the lecture hall I was satisfied with my performance. The memories of long nights at the library and microwave dinners all seem to wash away when you receive the grades you had hoped for all semester. I was ready to leave, and within two hrs of my last final I was on a Greyhound Bus headed home.

Coming back to the Vineyard is always great — until it isn’t. Hear me out. Getting onto the boat and realizing you’re pretty much home is a wonderful feeling. I had high hopes for my break with no work to think about. Spending time and catching up with family and friends is always enjoyable. However, after two and a half weeks, the Island began to feel very uneventful. To pass the time, I have been reading books and playing a lot of Frisbee golf. My friends and I entertained the idea of venturing off-Island in search of something interesting to do; unfortunately the price tag was a little too steep for college students. Nevertheless, nothing makes me happier than being home, but I’m ready and excited to go back to school.