Monthly Archives: September 2012

Home and Away, Home and Away

“I have a flight that gets in today at 3:20 PM. Want to pick me up? :-)”

I received this text message early Saturday morning (before the first day of classes) from one of my best friends on campus, a girl I had met during our First-Year Orientation in an embarrassing incident (on my part). I remember walking in front of Ross Commons, coming back from some Orientation session to find a group of students sitting in a circle with one student walking around the circle. I stopped to figure out what exactly they could be doing until I saw one of the students in the circle stand up and chase the other student that had been walking around. In that instant, it came to me, they were playing “Duck-Duck-Goose.” The last time I had played this game was probably in elementary school and a playful rush streamed through my blood. Fortunately, the students noticed me and in friendly Middlebury fashion, beckoned me over to join. I remember sitting in the circle, reliving the nervous anticipation of someone tapping your head and yelling “Goose!” And then – it happened. I got up and bolted for the guy who thought I was the one he could out run. I was out to prove to my new first-year friends that I indeed was the fastest in the group until, all of a sudden, I slipped. The dew-covered grass became my worst enemy as I landed on my backside on the ground. What made it worse was that one particular girl in the circle could not stop laughing and laughed LOUDLY. From that moment on in the game, no matter what else happened, this girl kept making reference to my epic fall. Who knew 3 years later, this would be the friend that I would instantly replied to with:

“Of course.”

I had not seen her since we both left for abroad (she went to China and I went to Chile) in the winter. I knew our reunion would be the highlight of my day except the fact that every time I would mention it to someone, they would warn me of the Severe Thunderstorms and Tornado Watch approaching the Vermont area. But the sky looked pretty clear to me when I left at 2:30 PM… until I started seeing the traffic lights swinging due to the high winds on the way out of Middlebury. By the time I reached my friend at the Burlington International Airport, the winds had street signs completely blown over. As happy as we were to see one another, our hugs were quick as we realized conditions were only worsening. The rain began as we were pulling out and by mid-way it poured to the point where we could barely see through the window.

As excited as we were to come back to Middlebury for our senior year, after being abroad, my friend and I were both concerned about the readjustment (reconnecting with old friends, adapting to the workload, making this place home again, etc.). Jokingly, with still some worry in our voices, we kept making reference to how this “Severe Thunderstorm” may be a bad omen for the year. By the end of the drive, the rain began to settle. After we moved her things into the house (a house of 30 people, so more like a dorm), we sat in our common room to catch up with the house members we hadn’t seen in months, some an entire year. Already, it was so nice to talk to these people, to see how some things really hadn’t changed. Then, all of a sudden, one of the house members rushed into the common room and started screaming, “Come outside! Come outside!” Without question we followed along behind him. He took us behind the house, facing toward the Green Mountains.


My friend and I couldn’t see anything and thought he was just about crazy, but then, behind the clouds, we made out a huge rainbow. If we were still looking for omens, I think this was the one to accept.


My last first day

My last first day of school. That Monday that students everywhere both dread and look forward to had particular poignancy for me this year. I was a senior, or, as I’ve also come to think of it, officially in the 16th grade. As my dad reminded me in an email early that morning, there was always the possibility of grad school after Middlebury, but I couldn’t escape the realization that for all intents and purposes, this was it.

I tried hard to recount past first days of school. What did I wear to Ms. Levine’s kindergarten class on day one? How did I feel before walking into seventh grade homeroom? I vaguely remember going to the first day of high school with my best friend Bridget, her mom driving us in a blue Jetta, pulling up to the curb past senior lot where kids who seemed infinitely older and obviously cooler than me milled about, blasting music and shouting cheerfully across rows of cars. Other than that, I have to say, the details of my previous first days are pretty fuzzy.

This year, I awoke early for my 8:40 AM class, U.S. National Elections. Of the six other girls I live with, four of us were up, brushing teeth, packing books, making last minute outfit adjustments before walking out the door into the crisp September air. I had two classes that day, and managed a busy afternoon with working here in the Admissions Office, running in the gorgeous trails around campus and formatting the newspaper for our first issue out that Thursday (side note: The Middlebury Campus is the school’s student weekly. It rocks and you should definitely check out our new and improved website: At the end of a long day — filled with both new and familiar faces — I arrived back home with a smile on my face.

Since then, the days have proceeded in typical Middlebury fashion: fast! It’s been a blur of classes, meetings, late nights, problem sets and books. But mixed in with those memories are experiences of a different — non-academic — sort. Since classes have started, I’ve constructed flower crowns and ground corn kernels to make corncakes at a nearby fall harvest festival. I’ve biked 25 miles and sampled treats along the way from a variety of farms in one of Vermont’s best autumn events, the Tour de Farms. I’ve chatted with friends and professors at a reception for students who recently returned from studying abroad. I’ve played field hockey on a turf field overlooking the Green Mountains as the sun was just beginning to set.

The past few weeks illustrate exactly what I love about being a student here. The opportunities for learning and exploration extend beyond the classroom and into the surrounding community and the gorgeous Vermont wilderness. While my first day of school this year may not have been exceptionally exciting, I am aware of a slight shift among my peers and me as we enter the fall semester with full Midd Kid force and enthusiasm. As seniors, we have a renewed appreciation for what it means to be at Middlebury. Graduation day, pushed back as far into our minds as possible, may loom in the distance, but it also challenges us to take advantage of all that we can while we are still here. I am excited not only by class discussions about the current Presidential race or strategies to alleviate hunger around the world; I am excited to delve into the outdoors, meet new students here on campus and laugh a lot with those whom I already know. Somehow, just knowing it is my last year here makes the grass a little greener, the Proctor granola a little sweeter and the music blasting on Saturday nights a little louder.

Questions and Reflections

As both a pre-emptive and a reflective exercise, I think that it’s a good idea to review the most frequent questions that I have gotten thus far in my presenting experience, along with the most difficult ones. This gives me the chance to both improve on my responses by making them tangible and well-formed, and consider what it is in certain queries that I find hard to formulate an answer to.

I have now more than once been asked how a study abroad experience fits into a student’s total academic experience, and senior year job search. I know that this is a particular concern for those who have hard science and not language majors and consider going abroad a luxury, but I am always quick to say that going abroad can be adjusted to fit any area of study. A Pre-med student can take science classes at the host university in Munich, Germany, shadow a local doctor, and volunteer for a blood drive campaign. An Economics student can study development in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, or create an independent project around how the Olympics in 2014 will affect the Brazilian economy. A Middkid interested in English can take advantage of our exchange program with Oxford, heading to the source of modern literature and can see the very places about which Dickens, Wordsworth, and Austen wax poetic. Going abroad is an option available to everyone, and one that, having studied and volunteered in Madrid, Spain and Lisbon, Portugal, I highly advise.

Another top question, often more forefront in the minds of parents than prospective students, is how Middlebury prepares its seniors to go out into the world. As someone with only months standing between me and the workforce, I can identify with this worry, but also promise that the Career Services Office is incredibly helpful. Just yesterday I dropped in to have my resumé polished, and have already worked with them to apply for several Fellowships. They have several online job search programs like MOJO and MiddNet that I peruse in my spare time, so I can honestly say that, with a little time and energy, Middkids will have no problem finding their post-college path.

Finally, one tricky question that I have gotten is regarding our setting in rural Vermont. As a student that applied to Middlebury from Tokyo, Japan, I know that there are lots of things that I miss about urban life. That being said, I know that I will have a lifetime of working in cities or suburbs ahead of me, and I chose to take a break from the rushed, impersonal city life for a rural setting where I know the name of the majority of the people that I pass in Proctor while grabbing breakfast. There is something so special about being able to head out spontaneously on hiking trips, about having a community network, that can’t be found in more developed places. Besides the hominess, Middlebury brings so many speakers, bands, and events to campus that you feel as though you are in the middle of a bustling academic metropolis—which you are.


Hello! Welcome to our Senior Blog. Abigail, Charlie, Christopher, Dan, Emma, Joanna, Kyle, and I (Jimin) are so excited to be your Senior Fellows for this year. The Admissions Office started the Senior Fellows program so that prospective students and parents could get a peek of Middlebury life from real, living and breathing Middlebury students. We come from across the globe (Korea to Portugal to Kansas) and have dabbled a wide spectrum of academic disciplines as well as student organizations. Despite the differences in our own experiences, we share one thing in common: our love for all Middlebury has to offer! We are here to help you as you navigate through the college process (which can be very daunting!). Hopefully, the upcoming posts and the posts that our predecessors have left, will be helpful in figuring out whether Middlebury is a good fit for you.  If you ever have any questions, please comment on our posts or email us!

Looking forward to seeing and hearing from you.