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Bailey Ray '08

Testing the Limits

Since comfort zones are where we feel safe, most people rarely venture outside of them. Not so for this senior. Bailey Ray, an English major from Canaan, NH, finds her inspiration by stretching her boundaries.

Throughout her life, Bailey’s tried new things. From working on the Cerridwen Farm as a freshman to volunteering for the American Cancer Society’s Relay for Life program, and from directing as well as acting in plays (including a starring role in the recent production of “Major Barbara”) to traveling through parts of Europe and South America, Bailey’s put herself in many different situations. But why? “I’m happiest when I’m outside of my own element,” Bailey explains, “as those are the types of situations that make you really learn about yourself. Sometimes your reactions can really surprise you, but either way, whether it ends up good or bad, at least in the end you can say, ‘I did that.’”

Even with the challenging situations she strives to be in, Bailey continues to succeed. During her travels through France and Switzerland, Bailey relied on four years’ experience with the French language to communicate with her host family during an exchange program. Her exploration of Argentina through GMC for two summers challenged her to master Spanish, an adventure that even she described as “intimidating.” And during her educational tour of England and Scotland, she not only examined the feminist works of the modern playwright Caryl Churchill with Prof. Paula Mann, but also spent her last few days in a hostel. “It was such a cool community, filled with people who were totally self-sustaining,” she says.

Bailey now finds herself focusing on the future by examining her past. As teacher’s assistant for Prof. Mitch LesCarbeau, she’s reflecting on the growth she’s experienced over the past three and a half years while analyzing the work of her freshman students. Her senior project in “A Delicate Balance” is also spurring thoughts of future possibilities—she’s exploring bilingualism and what it might mean to teach around the world. “Someone once said to me that language is more than a tool for communication—it’s a means by which we connect with people, the way we love and live. That’s what this project is all about; it’s an exploration of how language and culture affect one another.”

With all of this in mind, Bailey is unsure where she’ll end up in the future. “I’m actually trying to find a way to be in school forever,” she jokes. She does think she’ll probably get a PhD, and since she’s enjoyed her role as assistant teacher, she may find herself teaching, possibly somewhere out of the country. “I kind of want to see all the continents in my lifetime,” she says. “Antarctica should be interesting.”

By Nicole Ainsworth '09


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