Monthly Archives: April 2012

Senior Month

May first historically acts as a nostalgic day filled with memories of going out to breakfast with my dad and being granted his permission to arrive to school late due to our homemade holiday. However, tomorrow’s arrival of May first is already hitting me with preemptive nostalgia for the start of my last month at Middlebury College. Naturally, it is nearly impossible to fathom the thought of graduation and of fleeing the nest that has housed me for the past four years. However, I have been preparing for this moment all year and while that cannot remove the reality, it can at least cushion the sting.
Another plush cushion has been the influx of notifications about activities that surround this final month. In fact, it has been a feather bed. We are being showered with events and ceremonies simply for completing four years here. I am tempted to say that I cannot wait for senior week, even though it signifies the end of an era. I am also tempted to say that I cannot wait for the exclusive class of 2012 tank tops.
Aside from many ceremonies and gatherings that will occur throughout the month, the last week here promises to be nothing short of fantastic. We have a day dedicated to lounging at the beach (Dunmore, close enough) followed by an evening Caribbean Cruise (Lake Champlain, close enough). We will wake up to a mimosa brunch with our fellow graduates. We will do the unthinkable and attempt to hit every bar (3) in the local area during a ‘Pub Crawl’.  We will have the opportunity to spend an entire day crossing off To-Do’s from our ‘Bucket Lists’. We will stay up late, dancing into the night for a Senior Formal in the same space where we first Dos-ee-doed at the Ho-Down four years before.We will fall asleep after a Last Chance 80s Dance, with the promise of charming crushes and chanting Call Me Maybe. We will not fall asleep ever before graduating and dine like royalty at Steve’s Park Diner. We will graduate being quite tired but also being filled with pretty spectacular memories.
While tomorrow is certainly a marker of nostalgia and sadness for the inevitable end of our time here at Middlebury College, it is also an indicator of the incredible senior month that will follow.

Finding My Center

The student center is the core of most college campuses, a building overemphasized on the tour as the heart of the campus, with students flowing in and out constantly, pumping out activities and information to the entire community.  Yesterday, I started wondering what role Middlebury’s own student center serves… How many times a day am I in McCullough?  Who else is usually around?  What happens there?

McCullough lies at the center of campus, directly between many of my classes and my dormitory.  Last Wednesday I stopped by the mail center to look for letters or care packages (and got a paycheck too!).  I then immediately spent a part of that paycheck buying tickets to our spring concert, Wale (one of my suitemates is the chair of the Middlebury College Activities Board (MCAB) Concerts Committee and was in charge of booking him) and tickets to Stopkiss, a play that my other suitemates are directing and starring in as part of their senior work, at the Middlebury Ticket Office.

On the way out, I glanced up at the Honor Code signatures on the wall.  Upon matriculation, every Middlebury student signs an agreement pledging to submit only original work with proper citations and to maintain integrity in all aspects of academic life.  I flashed back to the day we signed the pledge, when hundreds of freshmen squeezed into McCullough to meet with the deans and to assume responsibility of our college lives.  The pledge brings a unique atmosphere to Middlebury: tests are unproctored, and closed-note take-home exams are common.  As a result, students work for personal achievement rather than in direct competition with their peers.

Later on in the night, I returned for Trivia Night at Crossroads Café.  The Café is a student run business that serves healthy food options including Asian noodles, frozen yogurt, fresh fruit, coffees, and smoothies.  The Café’s stage hosts student musical performances, poetry readings, trivia nights, lectures, and community discussions on a regular basis.  I grabbed a table downstairs while my friends ran upstairs to the Grille to order food.  They returned a few minutes later with a Dr. Feelgood (a grilled cheese with chicken tenders inside) and a Heart Attack (fries smothered in cheese, bacon, chicken tenders, bbq sauce etc.) for the group to split.  The room quickly filled with about a hundred students hunched over in groups trying to identify a man (Nicolae Ceauşescu) from his photo.  A few hours later, as Trivia Night came to a close, I swung by MiddExpress (the on-campus convenience store in McCullough) to restock on tape and notebook paper before heading home with my suitemates.

As I reflect on the number of things I did in McCullough over the course of a single day, I’ve realized that I’ve been underestimating the Student Center all these years.  McCullough may not be the only center of student life on campus, but it is definitely an essential part of daily life for MiddKids.


One of the buzzwords most heard around campus this past week has been avocado, in light of a recent gift by the parent of a freshman Feb of 10,000 pounds of Ettinger avocados to Middlebury College dining services. As the avocados made their first appearances in the dining halls last week, students were shocked and awed at the unexpected presence of such an exotic food alongside our normal bananas, oranges and apples. Word spread like wildfire, and the dining halls became new sites of expectation and anticipation.  And as the myth of the avocados spread, so did rumors of their origin. Many speculated as the to the exact quantity of avocados that Middlebury was now in possession of—5 tons, 20,000 avocados, an entire truckload full?—yet their exact numbers and source remained something of legend.

Yesterday, Middlebury Magazine published an article online detailing the exact quantity and source of the gift of the avocados, including quotes from the chefs of our three dining halls on campus who were tasked with coming up with creative menus to make use of this windfall.  Indeed, over the past week, the dining halls have been replete with creative dishes featuring avocado, and every trip to the dining hall offers another opportunity to discover the new, and perhaps unexpected, ways that the avocado has been implemented into our daily meals. Over the past week, I have tried avocado coconut ice cream, avocado lime cheesecake, avocado salad, grilled avocado with pineapple relish, and of course, guacamole. Moreover, these dinosaur egg shaped vegetables have been showing up in surprising locations all across campus. I’ve discovered several in my suite this week, and students can be seen stashing one in their backpack to be eaten later as a snack.

All in all, the avocado has overtaken Middlebury, and from the sound of it, we’ll be eating them for a long time to come. So, if you’re going to be visiting Middlebury in the next couple of weeks, or if you’re coming to campus next week as part of Preview Days, be sure to look out for these creative additions in Ross, Proctor and Atwater! Guacamole forever!

Readyyyy, GO!

Unlike most seniors, who are busy getting ready to present their written theses at the symposium, this week I’ve been working feverishly with the other dance majors to prepare for our thesis concert, which goes up next weekend. At the beginning of the year, I was daunted by the prompt: “make whatever work you want to make. You have the support and the resources–now be an artist!” Now, though, I’m really excited to be showing a body of work for which I’ve been at the helm every step of the way.

This week, though, I’m even more at the helm than I was expecting to be! Our lighting designer and technical director for the concert just unexpectedly went on maternity leave–we’re really excited for her! It means, though, that the four of us are all of a sudden in charge of self-producing our show. While this caused a minor freak-out for a day or two, what we realized was that… actually, we can totally do it! It’s going to require some hard work and a lot of list-making, but four years of learning how this happens has left us well-prepared. The tech crew has been scheduled; the posters designed, printed, and hung; the program laid out and proofed–it’s going to the printer on Monday. All the things other than the actual dancing and choreographing are things that we–almost to our surprise–actually know how to do.

Though it was daunting at first, now I’m kindof excited. It’s a fun challenge–and best of all, it will result in a show that we can really be proud of!

Julieta Paredes Carvjaval: Communitarian Feminism

Julieta Paredes Carvajal is an Aymara woman, communitarian lesbian feminist, co-founder of Mujeres Creando (Women Creating) and the Community of women creating community as well as the Communitarian Feminist Assembly. She lives in La Paz, Bolivia, land where a political change process is underway. She is anti-patriarchal feminist activist, writer, singer, author and poet, and has been involved in feminist training with indigenous and working class women throughout Bolivia and in other parts of Latin America.


I went to her lecture last night. I felt like my grandmothers and my aunts and my very own mami was speaking to me about their struggle as indigenous women under Western patriarchy for many generations. Throughout the lecture, I felt moved by Julieta’s thorough theoretical talk about Communitarian feminism and how it differs from other feminisms. In a nutshell, she summarized how feminism in Bolivia has changed before and after 1492. Before Christopher Columbus’ arrival, most indigenous women used to have full autonomy and power in traditional societies. Women used to control the land, hold political roles, and determined the well-being of the community. But that does not exclude the fact that indigenous patriarchal societies also existed in Latin America. However, in 1492, European colonists brought an oppressive institution that determined the tragic fate of indigenous women in Latin America: machismo. Indigenous women were negatively impacted by two forms of patriarchy: Western and Indigenous.


Her talk consisted on how women AND men should work together to fight all forms of oppressive institution. She used a metaphor: the human body. She said that the left side of the body is male and the right side is female. And if they don’t work together, one side of the body will suffer. The other side of the body will carry the weight of the burden. That is to say, as a community, we should care for each other even if we do not know the person. If a person is sick, we should help them. If a person is in trouble, we should give a hand. We are a community of people who should love each other. That was the best part of the talk.

20 Things I Will Miss

I have begun to make a list of things I will miss about Middlebury…  Some will say it is too soon I say, NAH!

  1. Waking up 20 minutes before you are supposed to be somewhere and still getting there on time.
  2. Not having to wash dishes daily.
  3. Having extended vacations such as Winter Break, Feb Break, Spring Break and Summer Break. In the real world you get circa 1.5 sick days a month and maybe a week long paid vacation, other than that Sallie Mae, Freddie Mac and “The Man” own you…at least until the student loans are paid.
  4. Taking long showers and not directly feeling the burden of a water bill.
  5. Leaving the lights in your room/apartment on and not being shocked when the heating bill comes.
  6. Being able to have heart to hearts with your friends face to face until 3 / 4 in the morning.
  7. Having impromptu 2 hours Skype dates.
  8. Being able to see your friends face to face, daily.
  9. Procrastinating till 2 in the morning and still getting a project done…Well maybe this will still work in the real world in some situations, but not both. A doctor can’t speed up a 12 hour surgery because he over slept.
  10. Having constant access to your professors, your mentors, and your bosses through e-mail, phone or drop in visit.
  11. The joy of care packages…once you leave college you will have to buy your own cookies and snack basket.
  12. Naps. One can schedule these in but it is very difficult at a 9-5 without getting pink-slipped.
  13. Rolling over and deciding… Nah not today.
  14. Walking around a town enclosed by mountains.
  15. The quiet tranquility of the campus, most nights from 11pm to 7 am.
  16. State of the art facilities.
  17. Not paying for ink cartridges.
  18. Having a buffet and open salad bar for every meal.
  19. Eating at all times of the night and day.
  20. Falling asleep in a Library/Public place and not being judged!

Foul Ball

Just when I thought I had everything organized, fate throws me a curve ball and I strike out between 3rd Base and Home. I was so close to having the big man upstairs yell “SAFE,” and finally feel like I was putting my life to good use. But instead I am on the ground with grass stains and dirt spoiled pants wondering whether or not I made a good move just going for it.

I use this long baseball analogy to describe my present position. In less than a week I have decided to defer, grade school for year and pursue a job. There were a host of reasons that played into this decision, the top reasons which were pre-req completion, undergraduate burnout and the desire to experience the work force. In less in 60 hours I made all of these decisions, not REALLY realizing that I have less than 40 days (Roughly the Lenten season) to complete it all. Oh and let’s not forget finishing all of my senior work, organizing for graduation, beginning to ship things home and finding an internship, before I move back to New York. It’s days like this I wonder “who needs sleep” even though it is one of the day’s most tranquil rewards. Yet, I m a firm believer (you caught me on a good day) that everthing happens for a reason. My schooling, my major, my change in plans, it is all a part of the greater diagram to help me reach my vocation.

Just 4 years ago I had no idea what I wanted to major in and my desired occupations shifted from Culinary arts, to interior design to whatever was floating through the air duct that day.  I was anxious on just what this dance class was teaching more, or what if I don’t properly use the centrifuge and my experiment goes awry, what then? Now that I have been able to put a few things into perspective I can tell you either redo the experiment or improve on the next one. If none of those work you still leave with the experience that has given you more knowledge. Day by day I am becoming more confident with the decision I have made. Whatever the next year and a half brings I plan to embrace it with opens arms knowing it will all pan out how it is supposed to.

College MUST-BRING checklist

So the week before we left for spring break, the weather was absolutely phenomenal. I’m talking 80 degrees, maximum sun with the perfect breeze—-sheer perfection. My friends and I basked in the glorious sun before taking off for spring break because who doesn’t want that perfect base tan to kick off Beach Week? Naturally, I packed up all of my winter belongings and shipped them home. I mean, what are the chances that the temperature will drop in APRIL, my goodness? Imagine to my surprise when I came back to New England and realized the gravity of my mistake. In order to help you guys out, I decided to make a checklist of things you should always have in your possession in college, particularly at Middlebury College.
-nice sunglasses. I “borrowed” my father’s vintage Ray-bans and I consider this a prime decision. (I’ll tell him eventually…) They’re classic folding wayfarers and you just can’t go wrong. Besides, you’ll use them all year round to block out sun and/or snow reflections.

-good fleece. Your Pata-gucci will protect you from the winter in May if it just starts snowing on you.

-stapler. You will be the most popular kid in your class if you show up with one of these on a day an assignment is due.

-shower shoes. This is not optional.

-tape. You never know when your MLK’s “I Have a Dream” poster will just fall on your face while you’re sleeping. Better to be prepared than sorry.


Being a Freshman, for the Third Time

Starting over. Just when you thought the application process was over, after 4 years it starts again. Well for some of us it does. And the sad part is the common app still has yet, to create a hub that services jobs, grad schools and internships in one place. For me it was graduate applications. As a High School student I never truly appreciated how efficient Common App really is. During HS I was frustrated with this Mega-computer computer that had no phone number on the website and only serviced students through an online medium or e-mail or quick chat. Applying to grad school was a whole different ball game. Each school had a unique individualized application which asks for everything short of your soul. (Kidding!) It’s also nervous because visiting Grad Schools does not take place the same way that visiting perspective colleges did. It is moreso you apply and then you are invited to visit if you are accepted. This is daunting task as the characteristics of your grad school will inevitable contrast you undergraduate experience, especially if you attended a liberal arts school such as Middlebury. I applied to all large state/research universities and now I am faced with the task of choosing one. In 3 months I will have to move to a brand new state, find an apartment, a roommate and state off as a first year student all over again. The cycle repeats. Enjoy undergrad while you can! There is nothing else like it.


To those of you who’ve just been admitted to Middlebury, congratulations!!! The next weeks are sure to hold a big decision–I urge you to reach out of me, or any of the senior fellows, with any questions you might have (about Middlebury, Vermont, college in general–can be anything!). After an arduous application process and a long wait, you’re doubtlessly being courted by many fabulous institutions. The ball is in your court. Enjoy it!

For those of you who are anticipating this day coming in a year or so, take a deep breath. The process ahead of you can be exhausting at times, but if you can remember to enjoy it, it’s fun! Whether online or in person, you’re taking scouting trips for the possibilities of your next four years. Enjoy trying on different future lives!

I’m looking forward to meeting many of you at Preview Days. Enjoy your decision-making!