It takes one to know one

by Brenda Shepard, Admissions Representative

The people of New England are a very different breed. It’s been wonderful to get to know so many high school students from all over Vermont, New Hampshire and Maine thus far. Traveling in Northern New England has also allowed me to think back on my own roots and heritage. It really does make all too much sense to have an Admissions Representative who is from the area speaking with students. After all, when it comes to New Englanders, it takes one to know one.

In Vermont, for example, I spoke with a Bed and Breakfast owner who had left her city job in Boston to move far up North (near the Canadian boarder) and open her own business.  She said –

To do a job like this, you have to be sort of a homebody. You have to like being in your home for long periods of time.  When I have people staying here, I can’t just leave whenever I want to. They rely on me for meals and such, which is a nice feeling, but one that not everyone would be suitable for.

She and I sat and chatted over the delicious breakfast of French toast that she had made.  She said that she came to discover a couple different things about people in New England compared to people elsewhere in the country.

People around the country think that New Englanders are cold people, but that’s just not true. We know that people like their space, so we give it to them, but if you start talking to us or ask us for help, we will talk your ear off and help you in any (and every) way possible.

I realized, thinking back on my teenage years in New Hampshire, that this was often the case.  We give each other space in the check out line and are careful not to make any unwanted eye contact.  However, ask any of us for advice and we’ll tell you 3 different stories of how one of our family members had the same problem and how they fixed it. Ask us for directions and we’ll “take you there ourselves; it’ll be faster that way.”

Most New Englanders would give you the shirt off their back, plow your driveway after a big storm without you even having to ask, and offer you their guest room if you had no where to stay.

I try to keep this idea in mind when traveling around in the different states in New England, meeting with students and letting them know about new programs and options for them at Mason. New England high school students, just like the generations of people before them, seem to follow the personality pattern; one that could be compared to an M&M: hard outer shell, soft on the inside. Here to prove my point, cue the Shaw Brothers.