Monthly Archives: December 2017

J-Term: the most wonderful time of the year!

Hello Again!

I’m back and here to talk about my favorite time of the year: January Term! As I head home to Minnesota for winter break, I can’t help but look forward to coming back to Middlebury in a few weeks for January Term. January Term or, as it’s more commonly referred to, J-Term is a one month long term where students take one class and get a semester’s worth of credit for it. This means that although you’re only taking one class, it’s fairly intensive. Many J-Term classes are often taught by visiting professors, so there are all sorts of new and interesting classes offered. For instance, every year, the former Governor of Vermont, Jim Douglas, teaches a class on Vermont Government and Politics. Even cooler, he happens to a Middlebury alum!

J-Term is also fondly referred to as “yay-term” or “play-term” by Middlebury students because it is such a fun time to be on campus. There’s a long list of workshops offered every winter. Students or community members, who want to teach one of their hobbies to students, organize these workshops. The workshops range from learning to salsa dancing to learning to properly taste Vermont’s finest chocolate.

This J-Term, I’ll be writing my senior thesis. While I’m not working away in the library, I plan to take full advantage of the extra free time that J-Term offers. I’m hoping to take a juggling workshop taught by one of my friends (he can juggle fire!!!). I also couldn’t resist taking a cupcake-baking workshop taught by another friend. I plan to try to ski (either Nordic or alpine) almost every day. Last year, I studied abroad and didn’t ski at all so I have a lot of making up to do! Here I am, during my Sophomore J-Term, skiing at Middlebury College’s Snow Bowl:

Most importantly, my friends and I decided to start a new Harry Potter movie watching tradition. Once a week for four weeks, we will watch a double feature and, by the end of J-Term, we’ll have watched all eight movies. Plus, there will definitely be some Wizarding World themed movie snacks involved!

Be back soon,

Margot Graham ‘18

My First Winter at Middlebury

My first winter was both magical and miserable. Being from Southern California, I don’t really get to experience the four seasons. The environment is actually one of the reasons I chose to go to Middlebury; I wanted know what it would be like to shop for winter clothes instead of shorts and tank tops.

This is a picture of my first-year residence hall during my first winter at Middlebury. If you look very closely near the center of the photograph, you can see two friendly snow people.

Little did I know what Middlebury winters would be like. I was convinced—and remain convinced—that my first winter was, by far, the worst winter Vermont has ever experienced. It started out innocently enough; a gradual drop in temperature, some flurries of snow here and there. And then, during finals week in December, I walked into a 7 pm exam and walked out two and a half hours later to find myself almost knee deep in snow. It was magical; I took my time walking back to my dorm, opening my mouth to let the delicate snowflakes fall and melt on my tongue. And then the wind picked up and I was nearly blinded by all the snow. I also did not have enough layers on, as I had made the mistake of not checking the weather for that night.

So, on the run back to my room, I was not very happy with the show. My thoughts went from “Why did I decide to come here?” to thinking I had made a mistake, and that I could not actually handle the weather. When I got back to my dorm, my friends were rushing to put on snow gear. “Toni, let’s go sledding!” they yelled ecstatically. Just having come from outside, I was not sure I wanted to go back out again. But, part of me was curious, since I had never really experienced snow fall. So, I changed into my snow pants, boots, and jacket, and ran outside with my friends.

We walked (with our sleds borrowed from our Commons office) to Mead hill, and started at the top near where our lovely Mead Chapel sits. I remember being scared, because I was not sure if there was a wrong or right way to sled down a mountain. But, once my turn finally came, I went down the hill so fast I felt like I was flying. And I felt like I was 10 years old again. We spent about an hour and a half outside until our fingers were numb and our ski pants soaked. The dining hall was open late, so we decided to go in for some hot chocolate together.

This is a photo of me the night we went sledding! I never realized how much of a workout it could be.

I distinctly remember sitting around the table, laughing and talking with my friends, and then remembering that THIS was the reason I had decided to come to Middlebury. I had wanted a new experience, with new people, and my first time experiencing snow was exactly that. Although winters can be tough, my best memories are about my winters at Middlebury, and I am very excited (and sad) to spend my last winter at Middlebury enjoying it to the fullest.