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Back to school

Coloring outside the educational lines
By DEIRDRE FULTON  |  January 20, 2010


READThe perils of self improvement; When learning goes too far, get back on track. By Ashley Rigazio.

Some of us know (or think we know) our paths from a young age. We follow those trails through 12 years of school, and then four (plus) more. Some of us don't. We flounder, we search, we know what we want but we don't know how to achieve it. Some of us need to break out of our ruts, or exercise dormant creativity, or find new ways to express ourselves. The crucial component in all these scenarios? Education. Whether it's traditional or outside-the-box, we can't try new things if we simply don't know how.

There are more than 35 colleges and universities in Maine, according to the Maine Higher Education Council, which recently launched, a Web site dedicated to outlining those options. Indeed, Maine's public and private universities (including the University of Maine system; Bates, Bowdoin, and Colby colleges; and the College of the Atlantic in Bar Harbor) attract students from around New England and the United States.

But for those who chose a different path, or want to now, Maine offers several different types of learning opportunities. Here, we tell you about five unique programs in Maine that could take you down a new path, or turn a dream into reality. (Tuition costs do not include room, board, or miscellaneous fees, where applicable.)

Buoyant Force
A good friend of mine, one with a Classics degree from the University of Pennsylvania and a burgeoning writing career, has spent the past year as a carpenter's apprentice, demolishing walls and building decks. She counts this experience as challenging, educational, and character-building, and while this can be Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance, Shop Class as Soulcraft, quasi-elitist stuff, there's something to it. Working with your hands is rewarding in a way that's unfamiliar to many liberal-arts educated folks.

For those who want to get back to basics, one option is THE LANDING SCHOOL in Kennebunk, where students enroll in year-long wooden- or composite-boat building, yacht-design, or marine-technology-systems programs. Graduates are prepared to work in the marine industry as designers, builders, sailmakers, technicians, and salespeople. The school was recently accredited to offer associate's degrees in Marine Industry Technology (candidates must complete two Landing School programs plus 15 hours of general education). If such a commitment seems overwhelming, consider the WOODENBOAT SCHOOL in Brooklin, which offers much shorter workshops (one to two weeks) in boatbuilding, sailing, and navigation. For some participants, the program is a career move; for others, it's a learning vacation.

• The Landing School | Admission process: Application, transcript, references, essay, personal interview | Duration: One year | Tuition: Approximately $16,700/semester, with financial aid and scholarships available | 286 River Rd., Arundel | 207.985.7976 |

• WoodenBoat School | Admission process: Registration | Duration: 1-2 weeks | Tuition: $700 and up, depending on the course, with scholarships available | 41 WoodenBoat Lane, Brooklin | 207.359.4651 |

The Medium is the Message
So you're the one who's always carrying around his camera, or whose blog could be published — verbatim — as an essay on modern society. You're interested in stories — how others tell them, and how to transmit them to a wider audience. Why not do something with these natural curiosities? Maine has two top-notch storytelling academies: the MAINE MEDIA COLLEGE AND WORKSHOPS, and the SALT INSTITUTE FOR DOCUMENTARY STUDIES.

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