MapMyTOUR

Some of you may have heard about the IPhone App MapMyRUN. Well, after walking backwards every day from one side of campus to the other and back, I was curious as to how far I was walking. The solution to my problem was simple: instead of mapping my run, I would map my tour. When I got back to the admissions office, I was shocked and pleased at the statistics on my phone. Don’t be intimidated by them, though. You must keep in mind that we meander through campus. This is not how much you have to walk to get to class. So the stats are as follows:

Every tour is 2.52 miles of walking, forward for all of you, backwards for us tour guides.

We gain an elevation of 55 feet.

We burn 259 calories.

That is one impressive tour, if I do say so myself. So come and join us for a brisk walk through campus, and you can work off that milkshake you ate last night (or at least I can).

Lemon Pepper and Butter

Fourth of July in Vermont was the best I have ever had. The Dean of Admissions, Greg Buckles, took the student workers under his wing and showed us a classic Vermont 4th. It started bright and early at 8:15am. Almost all of us made it on time despite the fact that it was a little early for our day off. We piled into the back of Greg’s truck and headed off for Bristol. We chatted about how Greg got to Middlebury, his time as a wild Salmon guide in Alaska, and his kids.

We made it to Bristol just in time to catch the outhouse races. Outhouse races are exactly what they sound like. Various organizations and businesses in the area built outhouses, put them on wheels, and raced them down Main Street. It was definitely an experience to see, especially for Khalid, Philip, and Naila who are from actual big cities. After the races, we headed back to Lauren Waite’s house to watch the parade. Lauren, a Middlebury alumna, works in the office seasonal. It was like walking back in time. Bristol just celebrated their 250th birthday, and the town retains that same small, Americana charm that filled me with nostalgia. We made it to Lauren’s house and were immediately introduced to generations of Midd Kids, all married or dating other Midd Kids. We had a delicious brunch before we headed off through the mountains.

But the highlight of the day was Bristol Falls. Greg immediately popped in the water, and us summer interns followed tentatively behind. We slowly waded in the water, and watched as people took the 15-foot plunge from the falls. Greg asked who was going up. I said yes before I could convince myself not to. Greg showed me the spot to jump from, and then went himself. I knew that if I hesitated, I wouldn’t jump. So I stepped onto the rock and jumped. As soon as I was off the rock, I wanted to be back on the rock! The water got closer and closer and then BAM! I went under. It was so awesome. I jumped off Bristol Falls with the Dean of Admissions. I think that qualifies as a check on my bucket list.

After Bristol Falls, Khalid, Naila and I rode in the bed of the truck down the dirt path through Lincoln Gap. The scenery was stunning, pristine, and fresh. We made it back to Greg’s house, and he cooked up some delicious salmon:  “All you need is lemon pepper and butter.” The summer interns sat in the AC and were lulled into a coma from the sun and the salmon and the perfect day.

 

Bristol Firetruck in the Parade

Midd Kids past, present, and future

After Bristol Falls

Preparing for Bristol Falls :)

Tomorrow is July 4th. Everyone knows it’s our nation’s biggest holiday and no one’s working so it’s a great day to have some fun. Greg, the Dean of Admissions, has been telling us that he is going to take us all to Bristol Falls and tomorrow is the big day. Bristol Falls is supposedly this huge rock that is a really popular place to dive off of. It is also really, really tall, so I have been doing a number of activities in preparation of Bristol. One of which would be going to Lake Champlain on Saturday.

Like my co-worker, Naila Jahan, I am city kid down to my bones, but I love to explore and do a lot of new things. When I was younger I used to love leaving New York and going down south to the country and just being around trees, bugs and all things natural and this summer I am determined to regrow that love. So on Saturday all of us interns went to the beautiful Lake Champlain. It was perfect weather, mid 70’s, warm enough to swim and tan in, but not too hot. The sky was enchantingly blue with spotted clouds here and there. The water was a little cold but it was fun nonetheless. I had my first kayaking experience this Saturday as well. It was phenomenal I had never had so much fun in my life and I wouldn’t hesitate to do it again. I also jumped off the dock into the lake as a small preparation for Bristol but I hadn’t realized how long it had been since I had swam and trust me when I say it had been a long time. Luckily some instincts kicked in and I did not drown but there is much practicing to be done.

So these past 3 days I have been going to Middlebury’s pool everyday to prepare myself to swim in Bristol and I would say my swimming skills are almost back at an acceptable level. Tomorrow will tell whether these practices have paid off.

Middlebury Bucket List: #5 Swim in Lake Dunmore

          As a summer student employee, I am a part of a small community of students who are living and working here at Middlebury for a portion of the summer or the entire summer (like myself). To keep us all entertained, we have two awesome summer Residential Assistants planning and throwing events for us. Last Saturday, our RAs took us out to Lake Dunmore, a giant lake that’s about a ten minute drive from campus. It’s where a lot of Midd Kids will go for day trips so it’s been on my bucket list to visit for some time, and I finally got the chance to! I love being in the water, though my swimming skills, or lack thereof, leave something to be desired.
          So we get there around midday and unfortunately, it’s not as sunny as we were hoping it would be. There were some ominous clouds in the distance but the lake and the surrounding area was still beautiful. There were twenty-something Midd Kids all hanging out: snacking, talking, trying to sunbathe with barely any sunlight, and just enjoying each other’s company. I was glad I was doing something to get the city girl out of me – that is, until a seagull pooped on my beach towel. Of course that would happen to me while I was trying to get out of my comfort zone. But my RA assured me that it meant good luck would be coming my way, and I apprehensively accepted that explanation.
          About two hours into our trip, one of our RAs announces that she has rented a canoe for us to use if we were interested. I was too scared to swim in the lake (mostly because my swimming isn’t exactly up to par) and I’d never canoed before, so I figured this was my chance! She told us that it was a four-person boat, so I decided to give it a go along with a friend and two other students who I had just met.
          The first warning sign when we got to the boat was the fact that there were only two life vests in them. Fortunately, my fellow boatmen knew that swimming wasn’t my forte and I was given one of the vests. Then we all got in the boat and started paddling. It was a great boat ride, the water was beautiful and it was nice to get out in the lake. We canoed towards a dock that was a little offshore and began to paddle to turn and get around it. I was so excited that I was actually in a canoe, this is so much fun, the water is-

And now, we are all bonded for life by the power of Dunmore. If you come to Middlebury, going to Lake Dunmore is definitely a must! (I’m the second person from the left!)

SPLASH — our canoe had capsized. I had a few seconds (or maybe minutes) of just panicking and the fear that I was going to drown out there (I hadn’t realized by then that the water actually wasn’t all that deep). Fortunately, I had that lucky life vest and a boat mate who was a camp counselor at some point, so she kept me calm. Out in the distance, I could see my RA and her boyfriend swimming out towards us to save us. While they did that, the four of us in the boat were trying to save ourselves. We ended up pushing the canoe to the dock in the middle of the lake to tip it over and empty it of water. We managed to do that and then we all got on the dock first to put ourselves back in the canoe. And this dock was disgusting, just completely gross. There was bird poo all over this and once the shock had left me, the stench hit me. It was looking like the bird poo that had fallen on my towel wasn’t bringing me good luck after all. But it’s okay, I was having an adventure and that’s all that mattered.

The two people who could canoe paddled it back to shore, while the rest of us stood on that smelly dock. And in my head, I realized that the time had come. I had to swim to shore to survive. Though the situation wasn’t half as life-or-death as I made it out to be. So I took a deep breath…and I jumped off the dock. The water felt great and it was much warmer than land was. I did have an irrational fear of lake monsters capturing me, though. I tried to swim my way back to shore, very much lacking in technique, but having a great time with it anyway. Everyone was ahead of me but they all kept shouting me words of encouragement. The shore looked oh-so-far away and I thought I was never going to make it. And then, before I knew it, I was back at shore and alive and well. All the MiddKids had been watching and kept saying how the canoe capsizing so was so epic and when I reached them sopping wet, I was welcomed back a trooper. And honestly, I was so happy with all that had just happened. I got swimming in Lake Dunmore off my bucket list, I had taken my first swim in an actual body of water, and had just made the memory of a lifetime. And my boat mates and I definitely made a special bond over that ordeal. I guess a seagull pooping in your vicinity guarantees you an adventure, which I’ll take as a form of good fortune any day.

Here’s to more adventures completing my MBL*! Stay tuned!
*This is the first in a series about my Middlebury Bucket List and my adventures and memories in crossing each item off.

A Vermont Weekend

Today is my first day as a Middlebury College Summer Admissions Intern. I took four weeks at home to recuperate from the semester. Basically, I watched four seasons of Mad Men and then furiously packed the night before. For Father’s Day, my dad and my sister and I drove up on Friday to enjoy a Vermont weekend.

Living in Philadelphia, we only got lost once or twice in the seven hour trek. Once we made it onto to Route 30, I knew I was home. Cruising through the Vermont hills and farmland filled me a renewed sense of comfort. I knew this was where I was meant to be for the summer.

After finally making it to the hotel, we stopped by the M Gallery for a gallery opening and some live music from a friend. It was such a nice re-introduction to the Middlebury community. The next morning we grabbed breakfast at Otter Creek Bakery, strolled through the farmer’s market, and then headed off to the Ben and Jerry’s factory. Unfortunately, we got very lost but we got to experience Bristol’s farmer’s market and more gorgeous scenery. We finally made it to the factory, and enjoyed some ice cream by the Flavor Graveyard (where the retired flavors come to rest). Then we headed to Burlington for a stroll around Lake Champlain, and we contemplated how many cows and how many quarts of milk it takes to make Ben and Jerry’s.

No trip to Middlebury is complete without some sort of moving in or out. So after six tedious hours, my family moved me in to my room in Stewart. And to top off the weekend, I took a sunset hike up Snake Mountain with twenty other student workers. It was beautiful! If you have never done Snake Mountain, put it on your Middlebury bucket list! It is breathtaking every time, and a perfect end to a classic Vermont weekend.

Alumni Weekend

Being in Middlebury during the summer has its own charm and atmosphere that is vastly different from the atmosphere during the academic year. This is true for both the town and the college itself. A lot of that change has a lot to do with the smaller amount of students on campus and the beautiful weather that comes with the change in seasons. But also during this time there is an influx of a different type of Middlebury scholar that comes to campus. These would be the alumni during reunion weekend.

The alumni add a whole new layer to the already rich community here on campus. There is just something about watching the class of 1962 walk by and knowing that you’re the class of 2015. It further reiterates the appreciation for the beautiful legacy and the long standing traditions that Middlebury has. And some of the conversations you have with these alumni; they are breathtaking. The saying “Listen to those who come before you” truly has a lot of merit. I feel like I’ve learned and gathered so much from a half hour conversation with a gentleman from the class of ’62 and I have barely scratched the surface of the wealth of knowledge he possesses.

I’m just amazed once again at the beauty of Middlebury.

Philip Williams ‘15

Life Abroad: 2 Students’ Perspectives

Below you will find two rising seniors’ accounts of their time abroad. One used a Middlebury approved but not directed program (he went to Oxford), and the other went to a Middlebury school abroad in Paris). They had very different experiences, but both fantastic. Take a look into the lives of two students abroad:

Shannon Muscatello ‘13: Paris, France, Fall 2011

What do most people associate with junior year of college? Study abroad. Or at least, I do. Studying abroad was one of things I looked forward to in my life. “When I’m a junior, I’ll be living in Paris.” Some people save up to buy a car. I saved all of my money to spend while abroad, traveling around Europe. Surprisingly, I did not use all of my money, but a good chunk was definitely gone when I arrived home in the US (Euros are so expensive, and Paris makes everything more expensive).

My name is Shannon Muscatello, and I just studied abroad in Paris, France, in the Fall of 2011. My dream finally came true to live in Paris, and it’s really weird to think that it is over now. That one thing I always envisioned happening is over. But it was an experience that I will never forget.

I chose to go to a C.V. Starr Middlebury School Abroad. About half of the students that go abroad use Middlebury schools. The rest, like Khalid below, use Middlebury-approved programs where the credits transfer, but they are not Middlebury directed programs. If you want to travel somewhere where we teach that language, you must use a Middlebury program, taking our language pledge. The language pledge is one of the most amazing parts of our programs abroad. In it, you pledge to speak, read, write, listen to, and live only in the language of the program. Complete immersion. And it really works. You begin to think and dream in your language, and it sometimes becomes difficult to speak your first language. (This is not to say that you can’t stay in contact with friends and family in English. I wrote a blog in English so my friends and family could hear about my time abroad – mesoignons.tumblr.com if you are interested. – They just want most of your life to be immersed.)

So, I, as a French major, naturally went to France. I had three choices: Paris, Poitiers, and Bordeaux. I chose Paris because, as stated before, it was my dream. I set off to Paris to live in a home with strangers and take classes with other Parisians.

My living situation was fantastic. I lived with a host family of two parents and a 21-year-old daughter in med school. Three older children would come by for dinner with their spouses, but did not live in the house. On my housing form, I chose to have fewer meals with the family per week because I knew that I would be busy. I was given one meal per week, so we would usually dine on Sundays. It took me a little while to warm up to the family, as it was more of an independent situation where they weren’t home very often, but I ended up becoming very close with them, going to their Christmas celebration, the daughter’s engagement party, and being invited to visit my host mom when she came to New York to see her eldest son. They were an amazing family to have, and it was nice to have independence.

Academically, I took four classes and an internship for credit instead of a fifth class. Two classes were at the Middlebury Center, two were at L’Université de Paris 7: Didérot. At the Middlebury center, I took a history and a culture/language course, and at the Paris university, two psychology classes. Those were scary and hard and very different because psychology is not that same here and there (they tend to focus on Freud and psychoanalysis). Classes were classes, interesting, but not the most exciting thing about being abroad.

My internship, however, was one of the most amazing things I did while in Paris. I worked at a sociocultural center where I would play with little children and tutor them and help them with their homework. This was in a poorer neighborhood than where I lived, so I got to see a different side of Paris that I would not have had a chance to. I got really close with the kids and my supervisors, and still keep in touch. As part of the internship, I had to write an at least 20-page (ended up being about 45 pages) paper that explained the center, what I did, and explored/analyzed a topic relating to it. It is incredible to have a 45-page paper written in French about my experience. It’s almost like a thesis.

Socially, I made a few Parisian friends; I would say the most out of the people I went to Paris with. I went to a university restaurant (a cafeteria for cheap meals for students), sat down with random people, and made friends. I had a group of friends that I would meet regularly for meals or on weekends, and it really helped my language skills. One friend, Hugo, was talking quickly to a friend about ¾ of the way through my time in Paris, making a harmless joke about me and my friend. I laughed and commented back, and his response was, “Oh no, you can understand me now.” My listening comprehension improved so much that he could no longer talk about me behind my back, however jokingly.

Life in Paris was fabulous. Very different, but very awesome. However, I missed a lot about Midd. I missed the dining halls being “free” and delicious. I missed grass that you could walk on and play on. I missed nature in general. I missed psychology in English. I missed teacher-student relationships, actually getting to know your professors. I missed the friendliness of the people as you walked by. I missed the active nature of this campus, aka not getting stared at in the streets as I run. Mostly, though, I missed my a cappella group, the Middlebury Mamajamas. They are my family, and it was so hard to be away from them and away from singing. Midd just doesn’t compare to anywhere, even Paris.

Khalid Tellis ’13: Oxford, Spring 2012

Before I delve into my time in Oxford and my time studying at the Centre for Medieval and Renaissance Studies (CMRS) /Keble College – University of Oxford, I will happily introduce myself. Hi! My name is Khalid and I am a rising senior from New Jersey. Here at Middlebury, I major in English and American Literatures with a focus in Creative Writing.  In turn, I was extremely excited to hear about an opportunity to study at CMRS with real-life Oxford University Tutors and all of the resources of Keble College.  One distinguishing feature about an Oxford education is that one’s classes will consist of lectures and tutorials. Tutorials are extremely unique because it consists of a student and their tutor, and that tutor normally has obtained the highest degrees in his or her field or are working on completing said degree(s). Therefore it is a class of one student, which allows for an outstanding classroom experience where a student works very closely with an expert on the materials he or she is studying. The deciding factor in my decision to apply to CMRS was the fact that tutorials are a unique experience and the lovely administrators at CMRS can find a tutor for almost any tutorial that one would like to take – I believe the exception is Organic Chemistry (the Principal, Dr. Mark Philpott, would happily remedy that conundrum if a student wished to study Organic Chemistry while in Oxford). That being said, you can be any major and study at the Centre for Medieval and Renaissance Studies. I studied in Oxford this past spring ’12 and my cohorts’ majors spanned a myriad of disciplines from psychology to archaeology, there were classes for them to take or they were designed to suit their home college and major needs.

The Centre for Medieval and Renaissance Studies in Oxford was founded to offer the opportunity to American college students to study in Oxford and more specifically at the University of Oxford. Thus, students are allowed to attend the program regardless of whether their college uses a semester or trimester system. Normally if one wishes to study at the University of Oxford through Middlebury, one has to study for the entire year. I knew I would miss Middlebury too much, so I was extremely elated to know that I would be able to enjoy Middlebury in the fall and experience Oxford in the spring.  On the other hand, students are provided with the opportunity to study at CMRS for both semesters if they wish to.  I highly enjoyed studying at CMRS in the spring. Each semester, students are enrolled in four courses and one of those courses is called the Integral Course. Ostensibly the integral course is a multidisciplinary course about England. One fun aspect of the integral course is the field trips. Yes, field trips! You are never too old for a coach bus and a trip to a few royal palaces. One week we would be studying a certain aspect of British history or culture and the next we were somewhere studying it hands-on. Normally, an Oxford student only takes two tutorials and lectures. At CMRS we had two tutorials, a seminar course, and several weekly integral lectures and discussion sections. My classes were as follows: Shakespeare II (seminar), Medieval Travel Writers (tutorial), Milton (tutorial) and Renaissance to Enlightenment (integral). It all sounds like a great deal of work, at times it was, but it was manageable as well particularly because of the scheduling of the program.

The first 8 weeks or so were spent listening to lectures and taking two tutorials and a seminar course (which ended two weeks after tutorials did, so it lasted 10 weeks). Thus, the last four weeks we spent intensely on our Integral Course which was titled Renaissance to Enlightenment.  The most challenging part about being abroad – at least academically – was the tutorials.  Each week I was required to produce a 6-8 page essay for each tutorial after having read the primary materials and finished secondary source research. Then, I would print out two copies, one for me and one for my tutor. During a tutorial, it is customary for the student to read his or her written essay aloud to the tutor after which the tutor will critique the students essay and his or her interpretations, responses and overall ideas about that week’s material. Reading my essay aloud was extremely nerve wracking, I am not normally a shy person but there is something to be said about having your work critiqued in general, let alone right in front of you by someone with a doctorate from Oxford University. Don’t get me wrong, I am always a bit anxious and excited to hand in a paper because I’m curious to see what the Professor will think of my interpretation.  Nevertheless, my experience in tutorials was extremely pleasant and I enjoyed them a great deal. Tutorials allowed for a great deal of discussion and collaboration between a student and tutor, and I at first wondered why the American education system did not allow for the same sense of transparency and collaboration. Then I realized that by going to Middlebury, professors are extremely accessible when I have questions about my work and my interpretation of the materials. Furthermore, I came to understand that I can and do achieve the same feelings of transparency and collaboration by taking advantage of a professor’s office hours and speaking with them after classes or simply whenever they are available.

Going abroad allowed for me to not only experience another country, another education system, (some might argue another language) but also another part of myself and my aspirations for life at Middlebury. I left Oxford surer of myself and more appreciative for life and time at Middlebury. Oxford, England is a beautiful place and the University of Oxford which consists of almost a thousand years of history, breathtakingly beautiful architecture and world-renowned places and things does not equal the natural beauty I have experienced while in Middlebury, Vermont. The tranquility I experience here at Middlebury is something I will cherish for a life-time, even when I undoubtedly move back to the hustle and bustle of one of our nation’s biggest cities. All in all, I highly suggest studying abroad to everyone, even if you are unsure of yourself, where you want to study or even your right from your left. GO! Just do it, it is better to have had the experience than to wonder about it later.

My First Tour!

As the school year comes to a close and summer at Middlebury begins, a small group of students have begun working at the Admissions Office for the summer and I’m one of the newest ones! I’m a summer intern working at Admissions for the next few months and I gave my first tours today!

It’s usually prospective students who are nervous about coming up to see us, but oddly enough it was actually me who was nervous today. I had never given a tour before and there were so many people visiting that my nervousness just kept growing.

All my fears came to an end when I began my tour and saw that everyone was having a great time! It was an almost sunny day and the tourees definitely enjoyed that, plus they got to see all the Senior Week hub that’s taking place right now. They asked tons of questions, which made it great because interaction between the tour guide and the visitors makes the tour so much better and I think I hit all the main points of what makes Middlebury so great! Granted, walking backwards for the first time for an hour on a sprained ankle was no cake walk (see what I did there?) but my group made it very easy. I hope my visitors enjoyed being on the tour as much as I enjoyed giving it and here’s to more tours to come! (meaning you should come visit us so that I can give more tours!)

Top 5 Middlebury College Traditions

Fall Orientation festivities are about to start up, and as is customary for this time of year I’ve been overcome with waves of nostalgia. True, I am only going to be a junior and thereby far from my prime reminiscing years, but there’s something about suiting up to crash the square dance that gets those fond memories a-stirring. Here, I offer just a few of my favorite Midd traditions.

THE HUNT

The Hunt is an epic scavenger hunt that takes place during one week in January each year. I’ve never competed in the Hunt myself (mostly because I am afraid of letting my more competitive side run rampant at the expense of my personal health), but I think any event that causes five flash mobs in one week is worth mentioning on this list. You may not be able to view last year’s submissions, but here’s a link to The Hunt’s webpage. The list of tasks itself is worth perusing if you ask me: http://thehunt.middlebury.edu/

SENIOR CRUSH LISTS

Nothing says “I kind of, sort of, maybe had a Proctor crush on you for one month last year” quite like a wall-mounted, papier-mâché diorama of your feelings. Each semester before graduating seniors leave us, they sit down and list the names of all of the people they’ve had crushes on since the beginning of their freshman year and display them in the dining halls for the whole student body to see. Here’s a link for the history of Crush Lists and for pictures of the best Crush Lists from 2011: http://midd-blog.com/2011/05/10/the-history-of-crush-lists/

ORIENTATION SQUARE DANCE

My inspiration for writing this blog post: the orientation event voted “Most Likely to be Crashed by Angela Santee,” and a not-so-subtle reminder that there are far too many plaid shirts on the face of this earth. Square-dancing is awkward; most of us can probably agree on that. But there’s something magical about square-dancing with 500 equally-awkward-yet-carefree strangers. I give you photographic evidence of its magnificence:

 

PICKING UP BUTCH

Butch Varno hollering at the referees from a floor seat at a Middlebury basketball game is one of the best things I’ve ever seen. Don’t understand? Check this out: http://espn.go.com/video/clip?id=5757413

WINTER CARNIVAL

In February, Middlebury holds its annual Winter Carnival. The weekend is structured around the ski races that take place during this time on the Bread Loaf campus as well as the Snow Bowl, but there are a whole host of other mini-events taking place on the Middlebury campus itself. Each of these smaller activities deserve to be recognized as traditions in their own right—Orange Crush (an 80s cover band; because who doesn’t enjoy gallivanting in technicolor spandex and off-the-shoulder sweaters?), the northern lights relay competition, or the Winter Carnival Ball. I, for one, have a particular soft spot for the snow sculpture competition having competed in the 2011 sculpt-a-thon with a handful of my closest friends. We actually won a cash prize for our sculpture of wine and cheese. Check it out: http://sites.middlebury.edu/middland/2011/02/23/winter-carnival-snow-sculptures/

 

Who stays at Middlebury in the summer?

In addition to the roughly 1,400 language school students on campus this summer, there are close to 200 summer workers who are staying at Middlebury for at least part of their summer to work a wide variety of positions around campus. Who are they? What are they doing here? Are they aware that school ended over two months ago? What do they look like? What are their favorite condiments?  Below are a small sample of students and their stories.

 

 

Jack Maher

Class of 2012

Hometown:   Oak Park, Illinois

Major:   Neuroscience

Minor:   Economics

Favorite Candy:   Sour Patch Kids

Favorite Movie:   Gladiator

Favorite Condiment:   Sweet Baby Ray’s BBQ Sauce

Summer Position:   Neuroscience Research Technician

Description:   We’re researching testosterone and its effects on spatial vs. reference, aka muscle, memory in rats.

Additional comments:   If you love being outside during the summer, Midd is the place to be: Swimming, volleyball, TONS of soccer, running, frisbee, hopscotch, etc. You name the activity and someone will want to do it too.

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