Asking the questions no one else asks
Darrel Frost ’04
Director of Communications, The Nightingale-Bamford School
New York, New York
My job is telling stories about a remarkable school, but I might have ended up as an architect or a historian or a banker or a dancer. The things I learned at Puget Sound—to ask the question no one else asks, to take the next step without hesitation, to remain absolutely and serenely good-humored, and to be honest—these things would have served me as well in those other occupations as they do in my current one.
So my Puget Sound education prepared me for my life. That’s a tired characterization, I know, but no less true for its greeting-card stature. I could produce a long list of gerunds describing my experience (challenging, inspiring, and such), all of which would be true. But what I’m most grateful for is the blessing of a bruised ego. At Puget Sound you glean much from acknowledging and analyzing mistakes, and if you have no fear of messing up then you'll be far more likely to explore and test boundaries, whether academic, geographic, or personal. One of the best lessons I took away from Tacoma was how to pick myself up when I failed—and let's just say I had many, many opportunities to practice that maneuver.
Puget Sound also drilled into me the idea that learning and exploration are fun. There is nothing like the high of connecting dots, of finding the answer to a question—or even just the joy of exhaustion from hours spent swimming the lengths of an idea. I had the privilege of studying with some of the best teachers I've ever met, and their real lesson wasn't in the books they were reading but in the glow on their faces while they read.
At Nightingale-Bamford I have the happy task of celebrating other people. I love this school. It is not dissimilar to Puget Sound—a small community of people who share a passion for learning and a passion for each other. And they're as supportive of me professionally as they are personally: This year I'll begin teaching a public-speaking course to juniors, in addition to my desk job in communications, and I'll be chaperoning a weeklong trip to Italy and Croatia.
In the meantime amidst work and a few small volunteer gigs, New York sustains me now as it has for seven years: with shows of extreme quality (both high and low), an unhealthy number of shockingly good restaurants, and a vibrancy that is unchallenged outside of Tokyo (or Tel Aviv on a Saturday night). The city, as I like to say, keeps my wallet empty but my heart full.
Photo courtesy of Darrel Frost ’04