Eleven Middlesex Community College students have been spending a lot of time imagining how they would describe the life they lived – from the perspective of living well into their 70s. These students, part of MxCC’s SOC*210 Sociology of the Family course, have been studying family memoirs, an important oral and written tradition shared by nearly all generations throughout all of history. Students have spent time with senior citizens from the Covenant Village community in Cromwell listening to their stories and remembrances, and then created a written “recount” of their own envisioned lives. On December 16, students visited to Covenant Village to share their projects with residents.
This is the second year MxCC has included this community-engaged learning assignment as part of the course which is designed to be “an examination of the evolution of contemporary relationships such as dating, cohabitation and marriage” and how changes in these relationships affect the individual, family and society. Talking directly to older generations provides a first-hand perspective of life and society in days past which is crucial to comparing it with today’s world.
“One of the greatest joys and inspirations the older generation can impart to younger people is to share memories of life in the past – how they lived, how the spent leisure time, what they cared about, how they participated in the community,” explained Dr. Rebecca Loew, assistant professor of behavioral science. “It is mutually beneficial, and a lot of fun, for the younger generation to hear these stories and consider their connection with those who came before them in their family trees and in their communities.”
MxCC student Ebony Beall thought the project was valuable and said, “We need to make sure to instill in the younger generation that they must pay attention to what’s going on in the world in order to make a difference.”
One Covenant Village resident, Eunice Wiseman, agreed and added, “I’m wondering if a course like this could be taught at the high school level as I think that it could benefit students at an earlier age to consider their future.”
This memoir project is only one way MxCC has teamed with Covenant Village for learning experiences. Students in MxCC’s therapeutic recreation program often complete internships at the retirement community, and Covenant Village residents visit the College to view student artwork and attend special events.