About this time in the semester, I start getting really, really excited about dogs. More specifically, about the Therapy Dogs of Vermont who will be visiting Coltrane Lounge this next Wednesday December 12. Why are is there a herd of animals making rounds at Middlebury College? The answer is: it is a gift to the students from Counseling Services, in order to lessen our stress during finals week. After all, what better way to lower your level of anxiety than to stroke a Labrador puppy, or to cuddle with a Golden Retriever?
These are just a few ways in which the college helps us poor, besieged students out during the last push. Others ways are by opening the library for 24 hours, bringing in yoga and meditation instructors, and setting up massage sessions. And boy, do we need all of those things.
This last week has been a blur of final classes, research papers, self-scheduled exams, and hours spent with friends bent over books in Wilson Café. But it’s not all bad—the more flexible work schedule means that you generally have a few of your last classes canceled and can arrange your own time, and get sunk into final papers about topics of your own choosing (I am currently in the middle of one on Brazil’s newest welfare system, which is fascinating). And the best thing of all—around you Christmas songs are beginning to be played on the radio, commons are hosting cookie decorating sessions, and there is (usually) a solid half-foot of snow to frolic in.
As a senior, this is a time that I am starting to count my ‘lasts’. Today at 12:05 I walked out of my last Fall semester course ever. Two days ago I turned in my last paper for 400-level course. Today I will be packing my last suitcase before leaving for Winter Break. This all sounds melodramatic, but it is exciting as well, knowing that this time next year I will be out in the world on my own preparing to head home after my first few months of being in the workforce. That goal, as well as the puppies I plan to spend an hour with next Wednesday, are what is getting me though this year’s finals period.