Dec 12 2013

Something Positive

Filed under Blog Posts

It is finals week and for some this is not the most pleasant time.  So I thought something a little bit more positive might be perfect for this time of year.  Something I did not realize until I reached my senior year is that there are some parts of Middlebury College that I love.  There are events and traditions that I have grown very fond of and look forward to every year.  Yet, in trying times it’s often easy to forget to see the shining light.  In the “Man, this Middlebury place isn’t what I necessarily want it to be” phase the positive and exciting might escape the forefront of your thoughts.  To combat this, I arrived at a list of my Top Ten Favorite Events and Things I Look Forward to at Middlebury Every Year List (In no particular order here they are):

The Top Ten Favorite Events and Things I Look Forward to at Middlebury Every Year List:

1. Homecoming (Black Pearl Ball)

There is nothing more wonderful than old people coming back and speaking about their experiences.  Alums have stories for days and from Thurs-Sun the last week of October you have the opportunity to shape your own perspective with some context from the past.  More importantly, this weekend just has fun events. I have at least four distinct Black Pearl Ball memories and instances that I can think back to that will produce a smile.   I can think to at least four conversations that I enjoyed with alums from each year and every fall I look forward to the coming weekend.

2. J-Term

I love J-term.  Who doesn’t?  The idea of J-term itself is enough to send shivers down spines.  Imagine this:  1 month, 1 class, free time to do whatever you want.  I got a P.E. credit for playing dodgeball twice a week and this all came after one long marathon of a fall semester.  If you had the opportunity to do something you really enjoy doing then what better time to surround yourself by it than during J-term?  Yeah, it is cold and it does snow a lot but you will never have trouble finding time to nap, party, hang-out or play video games.  J-term is my favorite time to be on campus because it creates a moment to catch your breath.

3. The DMC Block Party

Every first Saturday of May (Mark for Calendars for May 3rd 2014-shameless plug) DMC hosts its Annual Block Party.  Six or Seven years ago it was called the “Black-Out” because it rained and there was literally a black out followed by untold shenanigans (catch some DMC alums during Homecoming to figure it out). Two word: Plain fun. 3-on-3 basketball tournament, food for weeks, and some sort of music. Last year featured student Dj’s killin’ it on the one’s and two’s and the year before that Dead Prez came and worked the stage through all of the tech issues you could imagine.  Right before Spring finals we rally around good weather (or bad weather in the past), good music, good food and a little bit of basketball.  When it’s cold, snow on the ground and you possibly feel a little grimey (Specialist), it’s always nice to think back to the sun and fun that the block party created.  There are also talks of finding love at the DMC Block Party.  Alums at the last homecoming told us how they met at a DMC Block Party over 10 years ago.  So about those Ross Basketball Courts…You might wanna check out the movie Love and Basketball.

4. Midnight Breakfast

I love Breakfast.  I love Breakfast at midnight.  I love Breakfast at Midnight during Finals week.  It’s just fun.  Its chaos between 10:50 pm and 11:59 but around midnight it dies down and you can enjoy breakfast in between studying for exams and secluding yourself from the rest of the world in a tiny room somewhere that no one knows about to write a paper.  It’s a bright spot for many and I love waffles so I cannot complain.

5. Saturday and Sunday Brunch

I love Breakfast.  I also love sleeping.  So, being able to sleep in but still have time to get breakfast is fantastic. Waking up late on Saturdays and Sundays and still being able to have a Waffle (Which I love) all the way until 2pm in the afternoon is just winning.  Back in the day Ross had large Belgium Waffle Makers and it was an art to make a perfectly crispy yet delicately warm and fluffy waffle.   But if there is anyone strolling into Ross at 1:53pm on a Saturday or Sunday you can count on me because I enjoyed a long sleep and I am holding back exclamations of excitement to have breakfast.

6. 2am I should be working but I am having outrageous conversation with my friends

We all do it.  When we least expect it and when we most need to do work, be it a Wednesday or Tuesday night, but we actually walk into a lounge or a room (that may become our signature spot) and expect to do work.  It all starts with good intentions.  We come into that room after dinner so let’s say its 8:30pm and we buy snacks but suddenly it’s 2 am and we’ve done a ton of laughing, music playing, and even a little bit of random video watching.  The conversation as rages on and you guys have covered every topic from A to Z and laughed non-stop.  At one point or another you all acknowledge that it is late and that you SHOULD either get to work or leave but something about this moment and experience says that this is a valid part of being a college student.  We are supposed to meet these people and waste time together because we are building bonds.  So naturally, you will go to class the next day tired and without having our reading done but we smile because we know that the night before we enjoyed organic conversation and company.

7. Those 2 weeks of spring that feel like summer

In the spring semester for about a week and a half everybody flips a shit:  Because suddenly the sun comes out.  Temperatures reach the high-70s and sometimes the mid-80s and everyone is wearing salmon colored shorts, sitting in Adirondack chairs, and laying in grass.   Everything transforms.  Take your books outside and tan a little while enjoying a slight breeze.  WE ALL lose our minds.  Trips to bodies of water in Vermont, basketball at the courts behind Ross, and finding ways to procrastinate through the weather happen all over campus.  People who have spent full semesters locked away in their rooms now come out and play.  We take our meals outside, the proctor patio is packed and it becomes more okay to just be out and about for no real reason.

8.Going home for short breaks

As time wares on a Middlebury, it just becomes time for a break.  It happens to the best of us. The food becomes bland, we see the same people every day, and we haven’t been away from our work or the stress that comes with it so we get to a place of exhaustion.  Usually when that kicks in we have a break coming up very shortly and we have count-downs and use the upcoming break as motivation to finish all major assignments due right before that vacation comes. I love those breaks.  I love going home and getting the things that are not necessarily available here in Vermont.  Spending time with people I do not see as often is refreshing and it’s the perfect time to recharge before throwing yourself back into the fire.  But what I really like about these short breaks (See Thanksgiving Break) is that it makes me grateful for what I have back home.  I can appreciate the things that I have and can go back to.

9. Finals Week (?)(!)

My favorite week in the thirteen (or twelve…but who’s counting?)** week semester is finals week.  It is a chance to put a strong close and tie up all the loose ends in your semester.  It’s an opportunity to express yourself in different media.  Yes you are going to put in ridiculous hours at the Library and sleep very few hours but I think it’s a time to produce some of your best work.  It’s a moment when you have final projects, essays, presentations…you name, it you got it, but you also have nothing but time.  As a Film major I made remix video after remix video and some of my most creative and expressive works came out of Finals week.  Embrace the struggle because there might just be some closure and final products that you can look back at and feel proud of.

10. Friends

If you get anything out of your time at Middlebury it will be a strong set of friends.  These are the people you laugh with, eat with, and struggle with.  The group of people who all have their own quirks, flaws, and personalities and flaws and flaws.  They can be from your hometown or from all different walks of life and the reality is everyone on campus needs this team. This is your support system that keeps you strong.  When you are away from campus, these are the people with whom you look forward to hanging out when you get back to campus and these are usually the people who can keep you up until 2 am when you should have been doing your work.  One thing about Middlebury is that this team will consist of people who all study different things and have a diverse range of experiences at Midd and pre-Midd but come together and rally around each other.

During this tough week, if you get a chance, which you will because you will find time to not do work, maybe consider listing your favorite events at Midd and thinking about why you enjoy them.

**A question asked (Raised?)*** by Debanjan Roychoudhury

***An edit mentioned by Debanjan Roychoudhury



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