Author Archives: Benjamin Wessel

2011 So Far…

Well, it looks like we’ve slacked off a little bit on updating this blog. I hope all you eager MiddKids to be didn’t miss us too much. Since no one has updated you since way back in the year 2010, I thought I’d chip in my two cents on what life at Middlebury has been like during the year 2011.

As Becky explained earlier, January is time for J-Term (alternately known as play-term or yay-term), a month-long semesters in which students can take one class, an internship, or take some time off for a little time to themselves. This past January, I chose the third option and decided not to enroll in a J-Term class. I’ve gotta say, this isn’t a typical decision, as most folks choose to take a cool and interesting class over January like “Vermont Government and Politics” taught by Midd alum and former Vermont Governor Jim Douglas or “Photographing Frost” which brought kids up to Robert Frost’s favorite mountain hideouts to take photos. Some of my friends even designed their own independent study and produced a haunting short movie. But back to me — I didn’t do any of that.

Instead, with all my free time, I had excess opportunities to go on crazy adventures. First, I was in charge of The Hunt, Middlebury’s very intense, campus-wide scavenger hunt. Seriously, click on that link and see some of the clues we sent kids on fulfilling…and see how creative they were in fulfilling the tasks. Super creative, super fun, and super ridiculous. At the end of J-Term, sadly it was time to see the super senior febs graduate. You’ve got to watch the graduation speech given by Will Bellaimey ‘10.5. It is truly a gem.

Most importantly, however, I spent a ton of time at the Snow Bowl. Seriously, there is nothing better than showing up at the Bowl on a sunny winter day and hitting the powder on the backside of the mountain. Seriously, it is the best thing ever.

So, there you have it. Middlebury January in a nutshell. I can only hope spring semester is half as good.

Finals Week…grumble grubmle grumble

Well, we’re in the home stretch here at the end of 1st semester, which means finals finals finals! Campus feels a little bit stressed, a little bit high strung, but for the most part we’re staying mellow and looking forward to snow. While most people are hunkering down in their favorite study spot to crank out that last paper or cram for their exam, some teachers are giving their students more creative and fun final projects. Sociology Prof. Laurie Essig asked her students to make a video about the sociological masterminds they studied in her theory course. Here’s my favorite, featuring fellow senior fellow JJ Janikis, my housemate Sean Maye, former hallmate Rachel Wold, and strawberry aficionado Cathy Ahearn. Enjoy!

“Brooms Up!”

While men’s soccer is advancing in the Sweet 16 and the cross country teams are on their way to Iowa for nationals, Middlebury’s top team has already been crowned international champions. I’m talking, of course, about Quidditch.

For most muggles (that is, non-magical folk), Quidditch is merely a fictional game from the Harry Potter books and movies, a creation of JK Rowling’s imagination and nothing more. But for one fall weekend, forty-six high school and collegiate teams from across the country and Canada made magic come to life. The International Quidditch Association was born at Middlebury College in 2005, when a group of friends set down real-life rules to a most unreal sport. Since then, there have been four International Quidditch World Cups, with the Middlebury squad reigning supreme in each and every one.

It’s been my honor to be a part of two of those championship teams, and our victory at last weekend’s World Cup at DeWitt Clinton Park in New York City was the most sweet. For most of the sport’s history, the competition has been relatively easy to overcome. Other schools put together ragtag bands of students who were more interested in Harry Potter than in the athletic competition, while Middlebury actively recruited the best high school Quidditch players in the country (just kidding…or am I?). In New York, however, the sport totally came into its own. New and improved teams from D1 sports powerhouses like Texas A&M, University of Minnesota, and Louisiana State were scary opponents — not because of any dark magic, but because of their sheer size and athleticism. Smaller schools with a long history of Quidditch prowess like Emerson, Tufts, and Vassar were able to bring bigger squads since the Cup was in New York instead of far away Middlebury.

But, at the end of the weekend, we kept our title as champs, extending our dynasty for another year. Maybe next year, you’ll be in the huddle with us!