I met Shelby Chestnut ’06 at Island Bubbles, a laundromat in Brooklyn. We walked down the street to a little juice bar where I interviewed her about her Antioch experience. I was particularly excited to interview Shelby because I’d seen her speak at a panel on race at Antioch in my first year, and she seemed incredibly on-point about… well, everything. Plus, everyone knew who she was and told me I must interview her during my travels. She did not disappoint!
Antioch prepared me to be a change-maker in society more so than any other thing in my life. The things I learned there I still utilize to this day and I’ve been out of Antioch a decade now. I think the people that I met there—faculty, staff, students—were and are some of the most important people in my life and in my development. And I think within higher education sometimes there’s this idea that it’s sort of this bubble world that you have to leave, and it doesn’t encompass the real world, but I think the structure of Antioch, and I think the ways in which people are devoted to Antioch really allows it to be an extension of society. What you’re dealing with there is no different than what you’re dealing with in a work setting or living in a community. The faculty that I studied with were some of the most progressive, dedicated minds that I’ve ever met, and I still hold them in very high regard and am close to most of them. And students too—the ways in which we sort of grew up together and learned to be critical of ourselves and of each other and what we expected out of society is something that, I think if it existed in more places presently, we wouldn’t have some of the oppression that people face. In my current job I work at a crisis organization, but it’s no different. Every day there’s some issue that needs to be addressed and some issue that needs to be fixed, and people joke that it’s what I’m good at, but it’s really because of what Antioch taught me.