She grew up in Boonville and then left for schools in Springfield and Calfornia.
Boonville resident Jennifer Davis grew up in the city and graduated from?Boonville High School in 2003. She then left to attend Missouri?State University. Now she’s back in Boonville and active in the local sustainability movement. She answered questions about her life through e-mail.
Did you ever think you would leave Boonville permanently?
Of course I did. Like most other kids from small towns across America, I thought of city excitement and wild adventures into the unfamiliar. Also, during high school I thought I wanted to make it big on Broadway, which was only possible if I moved to a place like New York.
What happened in your life between your leaving and returning to Boonville?
I majored in Theatre Performance at Missouri State for a couple of years after finishing at BHS, which was thoroughly enjoyable and safe. The summer after my sophomore year I went to New York to study acting at The Michael Howard Studios through their summer intensive program.
The city’s culture, pace and edge blew my mind and I was convinced I should drop out of Missouri State and move there immediately to “find myself.” Quickly, I realized the impracticality of that idea and forced myself to muddle through another semester at the university. Only, I had changed too drastically and seen too much to go on as I had before.
A hopelessly torn and confused 21-year-old I put down the books, grabbed a backpack and threw out my thumb with some friends, marking the beginning of a seven month journey of road living, Jack Kerouac style. I had no idea where I was going, why I was doing it, or when it would end. After hitchhiking and driving aimlessly around the U.S., I discovered the California Institute of Integral Studies in San Francisco that was one of only three schools in the country to offer Drama Therapy degrees and training. Coincidentally, I just so happened to be there during a school open house. The mostly graduate school had a cutting-edge, cohort style, interdisciplinary bachelor completion program.
I headed home to Boonville with the intention of getting myself into that school. It was also turning cold so my parents weren’t surprised when I tucked my tail and moved back into their house.
Working as a waitress, first at the Stein House and then the Bobber I saved money, I contacted people at CIIS and worked on my application.
The following spring I was accepted and by the fall of 2007 I was living in San Francisco and embarking on the most awesome educational experience of my life.
I graduated a year later and moved across the bay to Oakland where I worked as a barista, enjoyed hanging out with friends, and relaxed after having finished my degree.
When and why did you come back to Boonville this time?
It was kind of accidental. I didn’t plan to stay this long. Originally I decided to spend the 2009 summer immersing myself in the “sustainability movement” at home in Missouri, by volunteering at Permaculture/organic/ biodynamic farms, which I did for several months. Though the movement here in the Midwest is less obvious than on the coasts, it is unique and important. Industrial agriculture monopolizes the land and is in need of serious review.
During my studies at CIIS I focused on Ecology and Global Studies, which led me to discover some deep flaws in our species’ current global socio-economic system that most of us depend on for survival. It seems that we humans are using up resources and polluting the entire world more quickly than replenishment and restoration are possible. Ecological collapse is happening at an unprecedented rate the world over. Our system places economic value on production and consumption at incredible, unstable, and unbalanced rates regardless of the consequences.
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