Monthly Archives: May 2014

The Finale

For us seniors, May is a month of lasts. The last time you’ll hike snake mountain, the last time you’ll have chicken parm in proctor, the last Vermont sunrise you’ll watch over the football field before graduation. For many of our class, it’s also the end 16+ years of continuous schooling – the last time to be in a college classroom, the last paper you’ll ever write for a professor, the last exam you’ll sit in, that last powerpoint presentation.

As an environmental studies major, my last assignment at Middlebury College was a culmination of all these academic milestones. The capstone environmental studies course, called ‘401’ for short after the course, always consists of a group project with a community partner focusing intensely on one particular environmentally related issue. This semester, all our projects focused on environmental innovations occurring in Rutland County, about an hour south of Midd.

Therefore, for the past semester I have been working with a group of three other students from different foci and the Rutland Area Farm and Food Link (RAFFL), an organization that is devoted to fostering the farm-to-plate movement in Rutland County. We ambitiously aimed to make a video for our project based on interviews we conducted with farmers, restaurant owners, chefs, hunters, anglers, even insurance agents, about their connections to food and eating local. As a result, we took upwards of 10 trips to Rutland as a group during the semester, interviewed 12 people, conducted 5 short surveys, and attended several food-related events, like the farmer’s market.

Last night, we finally had the chance to present everything we’ve worked so hard on to our community parnters at RAFFL, our professors, and the rest of the Rutland Community. We did our presentations actually in Rutland, as opposed to here at the college per usual, at the Rutland Public Library. To max out on academic potential, we presented a PowerPoint presentation, turned in a 22 page written report, made a website, and finalized and aired our video (which was so nerve-wracking it certainly felt like taking an exam!).

All in all, the feedback we received and the positive reception from our professors and community partners made the entire semester worthwhile. All the long drives and long days spent editing video footage paid off in a capstone presentation of which I am truly proud. It was an appropriately ambitious way to finish out my final semester here. I can’t believe last night I turned in my last paper, presentation, and test. All good and satisfying lasts.

Make It Happen May

It is here. This “May” that I purposefully never flipped to in my planner for fear of my eyes wandering to that highlighted box – May 25th. May means that a count down is unnecessary; the date you write down on all assignments is a constant reminder of the ticking time clock.

Here is my bucket list:

1. Dunmore Day

2. Ben and Jerry’s Factory

3. Shelburne Farms

4. Climb Camel’s Hump…and Mt. Abe….and Mt. Mansfield (sorry calves)

5. Make a pilgrimage back to old dorms with my roommate (yes, I have had the same roommate every year and am already feeling the separation anxiety)

6. Sunrise from organic garden

7. Enjoy it all (this one is easy)

The funny thing is that Middlebury has felt like one giant check off the bucket list. While here, I have done so many things I never thought I would, things I had never imagined, and things I had no idea to put on my bucket list. However, it has all fallen into place because this four year experience has been so amazing. You literally get smacked in the face with the water pouring out of the buckets you are turning over nearly every day. Is that where the phrase comes from? I should look into that.

Anywho, it is Make It Happen May. Best to-do list ever. You all best hold me to this. Yes, you, reading this.

The Light Though

Something I’ll never quite get used to at Midd is the evening light. The “golden hour” which happens right after the sun goes up in the morning and before it sets in the evening is universally a wonderful thing, but I’ve never seen it quite as beautiful as it is in Middlebury. The best thing about it is that it doesn’t even necessarily require a beautiful day. Sometimes the best evening light comes from days with funky clouds or a little rain. Maybe it has something to do with the hills and dales the light seeps through, or maybe it’s because it catches you by surprise as you’re walking to dinner or to a meeting.

Tonight was a beautiful one. So we made some sandwiches and wrapped some pie up in paper napkins and walked out to the garden. Still a little chilly, especially as the sun went down, we snuggled together on the hill, ate walnut bread and avocado, watched the sun set, and talked and laughed.

We have three weeks until graduation and three more weeks of being bathed in these beautiful evenings. I hope these next few weeks are filled with lots of dinners outside in the grass.