Here’s a quick guide to get to know me:

Name  Bella Roper

Hometown Santa Rosa, California

High School Credo High School

How did you come to find yourself at Sterling College? As a requirement for graduating  my high school, every senior has to complete two weeks (and change) volunteering outside of our community. I chose to reach out to Sterling College because I wanted to push my boundaries, and see how far my drive to explore could take me. When I thought of the farthest I could travel, while still having a person I could have close to support me, I thought of my friend Favor Ellis, Dean of Community at Sterling. I proceeded to email Tim Patterson, Director of Admission to see if there was any jobs that I could help out with. Having had a lot of past farming and hands on work experiences, I was not intimidated by the idea of gardening or working with cows and pigs. After many phone calls, emails, and more phone calls, I bought my plane tickets for Burlington, Vermont for my journey to begin its first steps.

What about Sterling appeals most to you? The first thing that drew me in about Sterling was that every student seems deeply connected to their environment. The pictures of dirty hands and well worn boots made me so happy. There was a sense of constant interaction with the earth and community that seemed so raw and honest that I felt like I had to come visit, whether or not I end up going to college here.

What do you hope to experience while you’re here?  I hope to begin to find my own rhythm in life, and see what kind of people I should surround myself with. Having met only a few of the faculty and students, I am beginning to find out what kind of person I hope to grow to be, and how I want to contribute to this earth.

If this interview could have a soundtrack, what 3 songs would it play? (song title & artist please) “Breakfast at Lady A’s” by Gaelic Storm “The Wanderer” by Dion & The Belmonts “The Lion’s Roar” by First Aid Kit

Who is your favorite poet?  Charles Bukowski would have to be my favorite poet right now. His style of writing, both word choice and structure, is similar to my own. I have a tendency to enjoy poetry that is less wispy and mushy, and more punchy, realistic and relatable. Also, I appreciate how clearly he can phrase his emotions without forcing them down the readers throat.

If you could be anywhere in the world right now (besides Vermont’s Northeast Kingdom) where would you go and why?  I would want to be in Scottland right now. I can’t quite articulate why I want to go there, other than I have some gigantic pull to be there. Maybe it’s the land, the people, or just the idea of it.

Tell us one secret about yourself.  I love pillows. I am used to sleeping in a twin sized mattress with four other huge, plushy pillows surrounding me. Even when I go camping, I always try to bring a pillow with me. So traveling to Vermont with no pillows is a big thing for me. Perhaps now is a good time to learn that pillows don’t mean everything…or maybe I can learn it later.

What’s been your favorite part of Sterling so far? I like the genuine look that people give me when I shake their hand. Not only are their cheeks pulled back in a smile, but it shines in their eyes too. I’m also loving all of the livestock. There are so many baby bunnies and lambs right now. Seeing them bounce and run about makes me so incredibly happy.

What do you hope to gain from this experience?  I hope to gain a better understanding of both self reliance and community. There is a balance between the two, and I find that I don’t have a equal amount in my life; either I’m too dependant on my community to support me, or I ignore my loved ones so I can explore what it means to be an adult. I see that that isn’t healthy, but I need to create new pathways of traveling in order to progress forward in my life in a productive and gratifying way.

prospective student–Bella Roper


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