Author Archives: Ashali Bhandari

Not your average Friday

Friday, April 11th was probably the busiest Friday of my year.

At 8am, I was up having breakfast on Ross Terrace before heading to Bicentennial Hall to sign in for the Student Symposium. I was presenting my J-Term project on Mapping Trade areas of Grocery Stores and the day had finally arrived. I spent the morning walking between poster presentations and oral sessions and learnt about Alexander Hamilton, the psychology of comforting conversations, mergers in the Airline Industry, the evolution of EDM, and more! I went to lunch with other presenters and then returned to present my poster to professors, students, parents and other visitors to the symposium. The symposium finally came to a close with a large reception with delicious chocolate covered strawberries and a performance by the Middlebury Dance Company.

I ended up grabbing dinner to go and ran to the Ceramics House on campus. I was late to meet my friend who was going to teach me how to throw, use the pottery wheel, and hopefully make a bowl! I ended up breaking the bowl as I was using the wheel, but I had a great hour making a fool of myself and learning about clay.

After washing off, I watched the sunset on my walk over to Wright Theater to see the student -faculty play! It was A Clockwork Orange, one of my favorite books. I was excited to watch my book come to life. Alex and his Droogs,  Beethoven’s 9th, and this dystopian world were all brought to life by a cast of around two dozen Middlebury students. Professors and students worked together to design and make the set, costumes, and props, and a Middlebury Alum was the director! The show was a wonderful end to the symposium, where students in the theater department had the opportunity to showcase their work!

Finally, I had a relaxing end to my night, meeting up with some friends on the Middlebury College Activities Board for some snacks and games where the different committees (Marketing, Concerts, Social etc) went head to head!

Overall, a super eventful Friday!

Symposium Fever

Think stimulating conversation, delicious food, debates, performances, speakers and presentations. Take them, put them all together, and you have the student symposium- a two day event where students get to display works of art, performances, theses, and independent projects. The two day affair includes a keynote speaker, two performance sessions, poster sessions, and oral presentations, where students who conducted different research/work are allowed to present any way they prefer.

So why am I already excited? The symposium doesn’t begin until April 10th… Mainly because for the first time, I’ll be presenting my independent project!

Yesterday, all the presenters had a meeting, where we learned about when certain presentations would happen, guidelines for posters and presentations, and about what other people were presenting. It’s amazing how one meeting can start the excitement. Forget midterms! All I want to do is start my poster and work on presentation points. Do I want my maps in the center, or the text? It’s a stream of never ending questions that I can’t wait to answer. Present, take a break, grab some chocolate covered strawberries, and take a walk around the room to ask some questions and learn from my peers!

Winter Carnival

February is the shortest month of the year, but then again, short is sweet! It’s one of my favourite months of the year at Midd: the days are getting longer, the spring semester begins, and it’s the month of Winter Carnival. This year we celebrated our 91st! Winter Carnival Weekend is a celebration of our varsity ski teams, where students go to the Snow Bowl or Rikert and watch the alpine and cross country ski teams race at home (that means students get Friday off to go watch races)!

The carnival also entails a big kick-off bonfire and fireworks show followed by a comedian performance right across the street! Everyone shows up to the bonfire in their big jackets and grabs a cup of hot chocolate to watch the fire grow, and soon coats are off because the heat from the fire (and the hot chocolate) is keeping everyone toasty. Soon enough, the fireworks are up in the sky and the DJ is playing tunes as everyone enjoys the evening!


Friday is always the first day of races, and friends will get together and take the shuttle up to the Snow Bowl, or to Rikert to watch our teams compete, listen to some live student bands, and get some grub, and as the day is done they come back to campus just in time for a small concert to get their groove on! Saturday entails more races, an après-ski hot chocolate bar (yes we’re big on hot chocolate here- but don’t worry there is white chocolate too!) and the Ball. Every year, 1500 students will fill the decorated Nelson Arena and enjoy snacks, some drinks, and dance till they drop (or until the ball finishes at 2am).



Now that the races are over, the ball is done, and February is starting to draw to a close, I’m waiting to see what March brings…


January: that time at Middlebury known as yay-term, or play-term, as students engage themselves with one class that meets a few times a week and have enough free time to try a handful of new activities. There’s only one week left of this j-term and here is what I am determined to get out of it:

1. Snow-shoeing: In my four years here, I have tried a variety of winter activities. I’ve been skiing, sledding, and ice-skating. I tend to fall down a lot. So for the sake of my tailbone, I’ve decided I need to find a new winter sport. My friend suggesting I try snowshoe-ing by taking walks on the TAM ( which is most importantly FLAT GROUND. Hopefully, I’ll be standing up straight and I’ll be able to explore Vermont in the winter!

2. Become a wine sommelier : Every j-term, seniors have the option to sign up for a wine-tasting workshop that meets once or twice a week. Finally, I was able to register with two of my friends and go down to the Sparkling Champagne and Wine bar to taste some delicious sparkling wines. I now know about the single and double fermentation process and the filtration processes. Next week we taste champagne, and then maybe I’ll become an expert!

3. Master GIS: This is probably the wackiest one on my list (yes, even more so than me thinking 4 wine tastings will deem me a sommelier). I’ve spent my j-term using a mapping software to learn how to determine trade areas of a grocery store and learning about different factors that impact site selection. It’s been great, and while I know that I will never be a “master”, I’m determined to become as knowledgeable as I can about using the software and tools that I’ve been employing.

4. MovieMarathonSunday: This may be the only time of year where my school work doesn’t demand attention 7 days a week. I’m going to pick out my favourite movies on netflix, make a pot of tea, and curl up in bed and stay there all day instead of braving the sub-zero temperatures!


The FINAL Stretch.

It’s that time of year on campus: FINALS WEEK.

The more I think about it, the more I realize that I have a very strong love-hate relationship with this week. Sometimes I think about the structure-less time where I can wake up as early (or late) as I like and study whenever I want. I have the leisure of going anywhere on campus and walking into a classroom to study without running the risk of walking into a 30-person lecture and having to turn right around and go somewhere else to work. I can choose to have a day where I don’t even need to shower or leave my house! I can cook, work, sleep, and procrastinate without stepping into the cold!

And then I start to think about the work: the papers, the exams, the study guides, and I remember the “hate” part of the relationship. It’s the time of year when the library is so crowded you would think it was a (insert name of your favorite band here) concert – except it’s not.

But then you look at the stress-buster posters and go get some snacks with DMC and get a massage by MCAB and the Office of Health and Wellness, and then you play with some therapy puppies, and all the stress temporarily disappears…

Until it’s 10pm and you realize your final tomorrow morning requires you pulling an all-nighter, but no worries. The library is open 24/7 during finals! You can go to midnight breakfast from 11pm-1am and get some grub to help you power through or bond with friends over communal suffering (chocolate chip pancakes can get you through anything!!)

Despite the bad rep finals week gets, we do it pretty darn well at Middlebury, plus it means you’re one week closer to the holidays!

Classes Classes Classes Galore!

November 13th had been on my calendar for about 2 weeks. My alarm was set for 6:55 am. The night of the 12th, I put my laptop next to my bed and stuck a post it to it with all my desired classes and their numbers so I could register at 7am. November 13th was my last registration of college.

Registration is the process by which students choose their classes for the next semester. The week before you’ll hear the dining hall buzzing with “are you taking this class” or “I really want to take that class but I bet its going to fill up with seniors” or “that professor is supposed to be awesome!” and for the first time I was in the first batch to register. Registration goes according to class year, so as the oldest in the school, we get first pick!

As I started looking through the course catalog and started writing down classes I wanted to pick, it occurred to me that I could only take four! I remember sophomore year, thinking that as a senior I would take three classes, have a fun last semester, and now that the time has come I wanted to take 8!!! I finally decided to take cartographic design, modern architecture, economic history and thought, and the global economy.

As I submitted my classes, I realized that was it. I would never again have to look at classes for future semesters and decide what to take, and I smiled because I’m going to enjoy my new classes to the fullest!




Even though Halloween is coming up this Thursday, I’ve been feeling the Halloween spirit settling in for the last two to three weeks. A few weeks ago, I arrived back at my house on campus to discover that our house had been “ghosted”. For those of you who (like me) don’t know what being “ghosted” or “boo-ed” means, its a surprise  waiting on your door in the spirit of Halloween fun! When you arrive home there will be an orange piece of paper with a friendly Casper-type looking ghost and a poem along the lines of:

It’s a small way to spread some neighborhood fun! By Halloween all of our neighbors must be ghosted, each and everyone.

And the best part, is the bag of candy attached at the bottom for everyone in the house to share! The next step was for us to refill the bag with new candy and go stick the ghost on another neighbor’s house to continue the ghosting tradition!

As the fall festivities continued, last week my housemate showed up with four pumpkins and one spooky looking jack-o-lantern making our living room feel like a pumpkin farm! A few hours later, our kitchen caught the fever as pumpkin seeds were cooked (as soon devoured) by my friends!

And then last Sunday, my friend brought over two boxes of Funfetti cake: HALLOWEEN STYLE with orange icing and bat shaped sprinkles which lasted in our house of 6 for about 24 hours!

And today, two days before Halloween, I’m starting to get my costume ready. I remember my first year, when I hadn’t celebrated Halloween in 8 years, buying a Queen of Hearts costume and being more excited than ever for people to guess who I was! The evolution of my costumes has been somewhat sporadic: starting with the girly Queen of Hearts and then moving sophomore year to the comical monopoly man whose stick on mustache refused to stay on, and the spooky Morticia Adams on the Monday which was Halloween. Last year I decided to become more traditional and do something scary as I turned into the spooky skeleton, and this year, I’m determined to be as creepy as possible as I’m attempting to make my own Grim Reaper costume. I went to our local Ben Franklin store and bought some black cloth for my cloak and a plastic golf club for my scythe. I bought some black and red face paint to make my face as scary as possible and hopefully it’ll be as terrifying as I hope.

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…