Monthly Archives: September 2013

Fall Frenzy and a Trip Down Memory Lane

On the 16th of September, 2013 at about 4:30pm, I thought I had stepped right into a time machine right back to 2010. It was Fall Frenzy, the first large barbecue of the year accompanied by the Activities Fair, one of my favorite events of the year! The hosts, Middlebury College Activities Board (MCAB) and Student Activities, invite all of the 150+ student organizations to set up a booth/stand on Hepburn Road and invite the student body to snack and join some new clubs. As I walked down Hepburn Road I took a trip down memory lane…

Last year (2012-2013), I remember getting dressed into my MCAB Fall Frenzy tank and walking over with four of my friends to set up the MCAB table and boy was I nervous! I was the Vice President of the Activities Board and I was one of the members who was going to hang out by the table for the entire two hours! Would people want to join? What if someone asked a question I couldn’t answer? My nerves didn’t have much time to escalate because before I knew it, I was talking to first years, telling them about how much fun it is to pick a spring concert headliner or plan winter carnival. Explaining how exciting it was to hear student proposals for a symposium or be the hosts for trivia nights on Thursdays! I got to spend some time working the MCAB inflatable obstacle course (and by work I mean see how quickly I could get through it!) and talking to other folks about what they were signing up for. When it approached 6:30, we packed up our sign, gave away the last of our free koozies and $2 tanks, and I remember feeling good about the number of people who wanted to join MCAB, waiting for the year to begin.

My sophomore year was the first year I was working a booth, well actually it was two booths! It was a frenzy of excited jitters, I couldn’t wait to tell people about Ross Commons and our events like Viva Ross Vegas and Fireplace Cafe every week and I couldn’t wait to be at the International Students Organization (ISO) table and tell everyone about our cultural show and frequent coffeehouses! It was a buzz of new energy: meeting new people, learning about what people are interested in, encouraging people to join! I was in the center of the chaotic energy running from one table to another but absolutely loved it! It was my first year working a booth and I remember thinking I definitely want to do this again…

And now we’re back both to 2013 and 2010. The first and last years of my college career, both times out to explore without working a booth, deciding instead to walk around and learn about new clubs I hadn’t heard of (yes as a senior I still didn’t know what it meant to be in Akido) and groove to some new tunes blasting from the Riddim dance troupes speakers while eating some delicious snacks I’ve picked up on the way. As I signed up for far too many clubs, I enjoyed my trip down memory lane and I looked around at all the clubs that I would have been involved in ifI had 300 other lives and smiled and went to go see what the MCAB and ISO booths were up to…

Retroactive Fomo

On tours, in information sessions, and in life I have often received the question, “What is your least favorite thing about Middlebury?”. I sometimes coyly respond that the walk to the gym is a little too tiresome for my liking. An ironic quip, nothing more. But when I give my honest response, I usually say something much more astute- Fomo, or, more precisely, retroactive fomo.

Fomo stands for “fear of missing out”. That’s my least favorite thing about Midd. There is so much going on, so much to take advantage of, so many moving pieces that, when you start staring graduation in the face and recognizing that you are already ¼ finished with fall semester of senior year, you start to feel like there are opportunities that passed you by. Retroactive fomo.

I remember the end of my sophomore year of high school and the internal debate I had about whether or not I should take AP English Lit with Mrs. Roeser. Mrs. Roeser’s name is enough to awaken fear in the hearts of Spartan warriors. The work load is tremendous. You are lucky if your essay doesn’t come back to you with red pen stabbed right through your cover page and onto her cluttered desk. Maybe I won’t take it, I thought to myself. I deserve a break.

No one deserves a break. I took Roeser’s course and it was one of my favorite high school courses ever. That is the attitude you need to have if you want to truly take advantage of all that Midd has to offer. Maybe I shouldn’t join Solar Decathlon… It’s too much commitment. Wrong. Join Solar Decathlon. Maybe I shouldn’t add math as a double major. I love math but it’s just so difficult sometimes. Wrong. Double major in Math. Push yourself to the limit. Set goals for yourself. Fulfill them and surpass them and then shock yourself with how much you were able to accomplish.

Four years will pass you by in exactly 1460 days no matter how you spend them. Do everything. It’s ok to spread yourself a little thin sometimes. It’s worth it, in a place like Middlebury, where opportunities are ample and experiences rich. You will never remember the course you didn’t take. You will never form connections with the people you didn’t interact with. You will never fall in love with the place you didn’t visit.

I have packed my Middlebury career nearly to the brim, but I know I could have added just a few more drops to the surface of the penny before it all spilled over. 1460 days. Spend them well!

Movin’ and Groovin’

This Saturday, the Middlebury athletic fields buzzed with activity. Starting in the middle of campus, the men’s tennis team kicked off the weekend with rounds of singles and doubles matches all day. Winding past the athletic center, women’s field hockey picked up their first win of the weekend and cheers of victory sounded from both the men’s and women’s soccer fields. The  cross country team hosted their only home meet of the season and swept the top finishing spots. Even the men’s golf team played and won on home turf.

A little farther off campus, I was competing in my own sporting event – of sorts. To kick off senior year with a flourish, a group of my friends and I signed up for the Vermont Color Vibe  run in Vergennes. The purpose of this 5k is twofold. One, it benefits a Vermont charity Camp Ta-Kum-Ta, a camp  catered to children who have, or have had, cancer. Second (and I have to admit this was the driving factor in our signup), you get to throw paint all over your best friends while getting a little exercise. What better excuse to wake up early on a Saturday morning and support a local charity?

Despite my initial excitement at the idea, my sleepy self was skeptical when we pulled up to the race to the tune of “Gangum Style” at 8:30 in the morning. But once we got out of the car, the spirit of the event and all the brightly costumed Vermonters was absolutely infectious. We picked up our powdered paint packets and set to work tie-dying our white t-shirts. Parents, children, fluffy white dogs, and a large representation of the Middlebury swim team, laughed, danced, and painted their way to the finish line in waves of colorful enthusiasm.

All in all, it was a winning day for the Panthers and a vibrant start to a year of senior bucket lists. I’m already looking forward to the next Vermont adventure!

Film Lab Number 1!

Getting involved in film production has been one of the best things I’ve done at Middlebury. Having always been intrigued, and then encouraged by friends and advisers, last spring I took Sight & Sound I, the Film and Media Culture Department’s introductory production course. It was demanding, hands-on, collaborative, creative, and exhausting. In other words, it was wonderful.

This semester I’m continuing the challenge and taking Sight & Sound II. This course expands on the foundations laid in Sight & Sound I, both expanding our technical skill set, and delving into all facets of the question “what makes a film ‘successful’ ?” Over the course of the semester we will make three individual short films and collaborate on one as a class. This collaborative film is written and directed by a current Middlebury senior and stars students and local residents. Our class will shoot this film over the course of ten Tuesday nights, swapping on-set roles every week.

This week, I was on the boom operator. I’ve done some work with audio recording, but never in a way that was such an arm-toning experience.

Check out some of these stills from this week’s shoot and stay tuned to see the final product in early December.

– Joanie

1Scene CameraSetup Direction IMG_1432 IMG_1589

Play Ball

Last first day of classes. First day of last year of school. But beyond that cliché Facebook status everyone seemingly fell victim too, making us realize that no matter how individual we are we really are walking this cobble stones path together, this is about yesterday.


Yesterday was Convocation and seeing the first years line the path to Mead Chapel, dressed in a familiar dress or button down, a pair of slacks, and a familiar sense of unfamiliarity that has begun to feel comfortable. I remember that day vividly. Our orientation week had been a hot one, confusing for an incoming student believing that, “wait, isn’t Vermont supposed to be cold all the time?” Caught off guard by the beautiful heat, we lined the path to Mead Chapel, following behind our Common’s banner, almost marching behind a flag, a team, a country, a new family tartan. What does Wonnocott mean? And why is our mascot a squirrel?


We were the incoming class of 2014 and were beginning, finally. After years of preparation, even deliberate or not, we had made it to the place we would call home for the next four years. We were united in a common nervousness if nothing else.


The nervousness culminated into a group mind of action, and that action was the wave. Yes, while not quite a Fenway Park all the way around the stadium wave, it was a top of the hill to the bottom of the hill wave. Smiles a mass and arms in the air, immediately more than nervousness bounded us. Perhaps it was more of a reaction than an action, but none the less, a memory was formed.


That same flutter of energy was felt yesterday. As I returned from a run I saw the first years lining up. Sweaty and tired, I climbed the stairs in my dorm that lines the quad and commented to a roommate, “Did you see all the first years lining up for convocation?” With a yes of agreement and an “We are old,” we began to hear singing. The communal nervousness of 2017 had manifested itself into a roaring revel of “Star-Spangled Banner.”


First Years, it is time to play ball. With the national anthem and the wave in place, it is going to be a great game.

The Sting of Seniorhood

I walk outside and am greeted with a blast of cool air and a flash of warm sunlight. I feel in my bones the minor chill and fluttery excitement of a new year. People rush around, hugging each other quickly, smiling uncertainly, swaggering down Mead Chapel Hill. It’s fall at Middlebury, and it’s my last. What happened?

I spent most of last night with two people who I am extremely close to on this campus, people I met on my freshman hall. One of them was unpacking and little notes, jokes, and pick-me-ups I had written over the years surfaced in the papers he had saved. They created a patchwork of memories: hilarious, bittersweet, intense, difficult, silly. We played guessing games as to when exactly they were written; we reminisced and remarked on how much we all had changed. I felt something tug at me somewhere deep and inaccessible, and I let it hurt. I think I will be doing a lot of this, and I think it will be a very good thing.

Middlebury hurts a lot of the time; you appreciate what you have, and you ache to retain it. The idyllic setting, the small classes, the engaged professors, the wide and easily accessible network of strong and supportive friends. These are things that are great, and inevitably there is pain when you are reminded that it doesn’t last forever. I have often felt guilty for feeling this pain because I feel like it makes it more difficult to appreciate the present moment. But now I realize that it is part and parcel of the present moment: it is a fluid sting, a natural accompaniment to love. Whereas in past years I have fought it, now I welcome it.

My wistfulness was also – pleasantly, in some sense – accompanied by nerves. It’s invigorating to feel some first-day jitters even as a senior. The campus feels new again, as it does every fall. I am changed, but I enter every year as a new iteration of myself; I get the chance to put a new kind of “Rachel” into action. I wait for results, I hope for the best, I get butterflies – I feel a part of the living, highly active organ that is this campus. I feel ready, and in that readiness, I feel a healthy level of expectation and even insecurity. I know I have attained a certain level of ownership of this place, but I also like to acquiesce that grip and let myself flow in the sometimes chaotic rhythm of it all. I’m a senior, but I only feel like one as often as not.

I have a lot to learn this year. I feel it in every step I take on the concrete, every breeze that unsettles my hair. In some ways I’m just a kid. But for the adult I am becoming, I have Midd to thank for making it painful.


Welcome to the Blog!

Hi all! We are the Middlebury Admissions Senior Fellows for the 2013-2014 school year! We’re going to tell you about our adventures, impressions, thoughts, feelings, and ruminations as we move through our final year at Middlebury. We’re a very diverse group of people, so you’ll find all sorts of different opinions and perspectives on campus life on this blog. Whether it’s the food, the professors, the dorms, or the weather, you’re guaranteed to hear many different sides of the story. But what unites us, undoubtedly, is our love for this place. We have all come to that passion in different ways, but we’ve ended up at the same place – Admissions! So we can’t wait to share our passion with you.

All the best for a happy and successful year and stay tuned,

The Senior Fellows ’13-’14