Author Archives: Benjamin Weitz



So for all of you prospective students who are not familiar with the expression FOMO, you will understand its meaning soon enough if you decide to attend Middlebury College.  FOMO stands for Fear Of Missing Out and is a problem that every Middlebury student suffers from.  At the student panel during preview day for admitted students, someone asked panelist Abe Katz what the worst part about Middlebury is, and without blinking an eye he answered “FOMO”.  I could not agree with this answer more.  There are just so many things going on here and you will want to participate in them all.  Sadly there are only 24 hours in a day and things like classes and homework exist meaning that you can’t possible participate in all activities, leading to widespread breakouts of FOMO across campus.  For example…

Last Thursday night I suffered from a particularly bad case of FOMO.  I wanted to go a lecture at 7:00 sponsored by the Arabic and Middle Eastern Studies department, but I also had a meeting for the community service club I am president of, two friends birthday parties at the bar in town, and I wanted to go to the Verbal Onslaught performance at 51 Main, a college owned restaurant/bar in town.  On top of that, I had a 40-50 page final senior essay for my English senior work due on Monday.  Yikes.  As you can probably guess, I didn’t make it to everything.  I pushed working on my essay to Friday (procrastination is never a good decision), went to most of  the lecture, left to attend the community service meeting, missed Verbal Onslaught (huge mistake, Verbal Onslaught is great) and chose the friend I liked best and went to his birthday party. 

This is a typical predicament for a Middlebury student to find him/herself in.  So many things going on, so little time.  As I sit here writing this blog write now, I am thinking of all the different things I want to do before Saturday: Work on my essay (my final draft is due in a week), help a friend put some finishing touches on organizing a Relay For Life team (happening this weekend) take a road trip with friends to Canada, organize a community service event for my club, go to the Weybridge house feast, and do laundry/clean my room (my mom would be so proud).  I have about 36 hours to do all this…

Basically what I am trying to say in this rambling post is that there are so many amazing things happening at Middlebury that there will never be a dull moment.  Arts performances, athletic events, lectures, hanging out with friends, (not to mention work), will be sure to keep you busy and engaged.

Funding? Yeah, we have it

So one thing that continues to amaze me about Middlebury College is the amount of funding that is available to students.  Recently, Middlebury has revolutionized the way that we do funding for community service groups and initiatives.  We now have something called the SCB (service cluster board) which takes care of all the budgeting requests for community service organizations.  One of the most exciting aspects of this is that students now have access to something called the flex fund.  The flex fund is open to all students and all they have to do is come up with a proposal for how they will use the money, and they can request a sum from the SCB.  Want to take your community friend to Burlington?  Use the flex fund.  Want to tutor migrant workers in central Vermont, but don’t have a car?  Use the flex fund.  Want to plan some sort of bigger community service trip?  Say to a different state?  Use the flex fund.  You get the idea.  If you can dream it, we will (try our best) to fund it. 

           Another really interesting fund available to students is the student travel fund.  This is pretty self explanatory.  If you want to travel somewhere (for an academic purpose) the student travel fund will do its best to help you get there.  Unfortunately I did not know about this option (do your research if you decide to come here, at lease do more research than I did) until senior year so I did not get the chance to use it.  I know of someone who wanted to go to an experiential education conference in Las Vegas and she was given funding to attend by the student travel fund.  Las Vegas?  On Middlebury’s dime?  I’ll take that.  Additionally, a lot of academic departments have funds that they can give to students to help them get to conferences, do research, write thesis, etc.  Basically what I am trying to say in this post is that if you have a goal that you want to accomplish or a project you want to complete, Middlebury will help you achieve it.

Language Tables

Sorry to bombard you guys with a second email about food at Middlebury (I am currently 2 for 2), but Middlebury College has  so many unique dining options that I could probably write 100 (or more )blog posts just about dining at Middlebury.  As I mentioned in my last post, we have two main dining halls, Ross and Proctor, but we also have a third dining hall, Atwater.  Atwater used to be a full service dining hall like Ross and Proctor, but now hosts language tables.  What are language tables you may ask?  I will attempt to explain…

                Imagine entering a room and hearing 9 languages being spoken at once.  The table in the far left corner is speaking Japanese, the table in the back right is speaking Italian, and right in front of you eight students are speaking Arabic.  No, you are not at the United Nations, you are at language tables at Middlebury College in Middlebury, Vermont.  As part of Middlebury’s extensive language program, students have the opportunity (and will sometimes be required) to attend language tables once or twice a week.  Let’s say that you take Italian.  You will come to language tables and have a sit down meal with seven or eight other Italian students of all different levels.  Chances are an Italian professor will join you as well and if not, a native Italian speaker will join you at the table.  Your waiter or waitress will also be either a native Italian speaker or an upper level Italian student.  You eat with this group for about and hour, speaking only in Italian.

                At first this experience is somewhat difficult.  During the first couple of weeks (especially if you are just beginning a language) it is hard to communicate with your peers.  There are only so many times you can smile at the person next to you and say “Hi.  I am Ben.  I like food.”  Don’t worry though, over time your speaking skills improve and it is really amazing to see and hear the difference at language tables after a month or two.  People who just a few weeks earlier were struggling with the simple task of introducing themselves are now speaking rapidly in complex sentences. 

After two years of studying a language at Middlebury and maybe a summer at our summer Language Schools, students are prepared to study abroad in an immersion environment.  Middlebury Students take classes in a foreign University with local students and they succeed!  Studying a language at Middlebury is hard work, but the hard work definitely pays off.

The Grille

One of the things that often goes over looked when students are looking at colleges is campus dining.  When many students start thinking about college they think about classes, professors, social life, roommates, etc., but lose track of how important food is to a college experience.  Think of it this way; you will take 36 classes while you are at Middlebury.  You will only live in four different dorms and have four different roommates (at most), but you will eat many, many meals.  Let’s do the math.  You will be at Middlebury for 30 weeks for four years.  Seven days in a week makes 210 weeks and three meals in a day makes 630 meals.  If you are like me and you prefer to eat four, five, or even six meals per day, you will be approaching if not exceeding, 1,000 meals during your years at Middlebury College.  Sure, the food at our dining halls, Ross and Proctor, is good, but my favorite eating option on campus is The Grille.

The Grille is located on the second floor of the McCullough Student Center in the middle of campus.  It is a retail dining option (which means that it does cost money, but believe me, it’s worth it.)  At The Grille you can order student favorites such as the Dr. Feel Good (Grilled cheese, fried chicken tenders, and barbeque sauce), the Love Me Tender (Chicken, ranch, tomatoes, and lettuce), or the infamous Heart Attack (I am not even going to attempt to describe the various fats and calories which go into this healthy and nutritious selection.)  If you are looking for more traditional options, you can also order subs (my go-to order is a turkey sub, wheat roll, lettuce, tomato, onion, mayo), burgers, pizza, etc.  The Grille also has vegetarian options and healthier choices if fried meat and cheese is not quite your style.

The Grille is also a hub of campus life.  There is a pool table, T.V.’s which are convenient for watching Monday night football, and student dance, singing, and instrumental performances.  There is Karaoke, Pub night (on Thursday’s for the 21+ crowd), and so much more.  Just last night, two Political Science professors held a special event for the elections.  They had a big screen T.V. and a projector set up and were giving running commentary and predictions on the elections for quite a few hours.  A couple hundred students showed up for this event (although many left disappointed after the GOP took back the House of Reps.)

The 2010-2011 academic year opened with disappointed over reduced Grille hours, but during the month of November hours will once again be returned to their former length and The Grille will be open until 2 AM most nights.  In other exciting Grille related news, the Juice Bar (which is located beneath the Grille and was shut down at the beginning of this year) will be reopening and will be STUDENT RUN.  A contest is currently taking place to determine which group of students can create the best financial plan to run the Juice Bar.

So if you are ever in the mood for a study break, some greasy food, a game of pool, singing some karaoke, watching Monday night football, or just hanging out with some good friends, I recommend The Grille (and maybe afterwards a quick trip to the gym to burn some of those Dr. Feel Good calories.)