While regular Seniors are all picking courses for their FINAL semester, I am comforted by the fact that as a Senior-Feb I still have one year left at Middlebury.
Being a Feb has truly shaped my Middlebury experience. Having a semester- off before starting college gave me the time to relax and explore opportunities that would have otherwise not have been available to me. After a challenging Senior year of high school I was very much in need of a break! However, when I first found out that I was admitted to Middlebury in February I was unsure and scared of not starting college at a “normal” time in September like the rest of my friends. When I finally sat down and realized that I had 8 months to do whatever I wanted… the list of possibilities was ENDLESS.
I always had an interest in French, but had never used it outside the classroom. Therefore, for my “Feb-mester” I wanted to find a way that I could travel (affordably) and use my French. In my search, I found the organization, WWOOF (World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms), which is a network of farms and organizations all over the world that looks for volunteers to work in exchange for food and housing. I ended up making a contact with a farm, “La Ferme d’Art”, in the south of France and took my chances and decided to spend 6 weeks there as a volunteer. “La Ferme d’Art” or “The Art Farm” in an independent sustainable works project started by Pan, the owner, who reconstructed an abandoned farm house to create a sustainable farm and community center. Before I arrived he had just finished installing solar panels and finished a water system in which all the water supplied at the house was purified rain water. My daily duties varied. Some days I was responsible for feeding chickens other days I was creating new hiking trails in the surrounding land. Not only was I improving my oral French, but I learned so much about new sustainable agricultural and overall lifestyle practices.
Once I arrived to Middlebury for “Feb”-Orientation I was immediately reassured in my decision to come to Middlebury when I met 100 other first-year “Feb” students that had also participated in amazing and eye-opening opportunities. It was this energy and support from orientation that truly provided a secure start to my college career at Middlebury.
Now while all of my Senior- “Reg” friends are frantically registering for their final four classes and looking ahead to secure jobs and/or fellowships after Graduation in May, I could not be more happy that I still have one more year to work these things out!
From “Feb-mesters” farming abroad to skiing down a mountain to receive your diploma, being a “Feb” at Middlebury is truly a unique college experience. (But maybe I’m just biased…)