"One person's craziness is another person's reality." –Tim Burton
What is considered normal versus abnormal comes up almost everyday, especially in the food industry. Foods such as chicken feet, haggis, spam, grubs, blood sausage, or ant may seem normal to some people or cultures, yet completely revolting and bizarre to other. Who is to say what is normal and what is weird, then?
To us CIA students at the Greystone campus in California, our open teaching kitchen may seem “weird” to Hyde Park students. Our 800-square-foot library is probably deemed “bizarre” by most of the bachelor's students. Our humble campus of about three-hundred students may seem like a mere drop of water in a lake when compared to Hyde Park’s boasting enrollment of about two-thousand students. Though, to us at the Greystone campus, all these “abnormalities” are normal, everyday factors.
The three Hyde Park bachelor's degree student groups we currently have at the Greystone campus – Advanced Baking & Pastry, Farm-to-Table, and Wine Studies – were definitely pushed out of their comfort zone when they first arrived. Their idea of normal was completely flipped when they came Greystone.
When asked what the biggest differences were, almost every bachelor's student laughed and answered first with the weather. Staff involvement, a more laidback or homier atmosphere, and more personable people were other popular answers as well.
Many of the students noted that at the Greystone campus, “the staff is more involved… hands on with learning… and it is a lot easier to get information here,” versus the Hyde Park campus, where the students said it can be hard to find the right faculty member that one is looking for.
California’s laidback atmosphere and great weather seem to be stereotypes that are actually true for once. When asked to elaborate on the more relaxed feel of Greystone versus Hyde Park, bachelor's student Paul Valenti, simply replied, “California, dude.” Another bachelor's student said, “When we first came here, we thought we’d be yelled at.”
The CIA at Greystone, is a day and night difference compared to the weather in Hyde Park. “It’ll be twenty degrees [Fahrenheit] while you’re walking to class with three feet of snow,” said bachelor's student Arni Cabatingan. The average for Greystone during the winter is in the mid-fifties and the coldest it will get is about 40 degrees Fahrenheit.
However, with a great weather there is a price to pay, literally. The downfall of Greystone every student agreed on was the cost of living. Here in the Napa Valley, the cost of living is especially high. Although, one perk of being a CIA student in the Napa Valley that saves money is name dropping. "You can go into a restaurant, winery, or bar, say you're from the CIA, and they'll treat you well. That doesn't happen in New York," mentioned one bachelor's student.
With their semester spent at Greystone almost over, the bachelor's students are sure to view the California campus much differently now than they did when they first arrived. Like almost everything in life, what may have once shocked us becomes the everyday norm.