Author Archives: Kyle Warner


This post is a bit overdue, but it is time to write about what I consider the most unique part of the Middlebury curriculum – J-term.  J-term, for those who do not know, is a term in our academic year that lasts for only one month, January.  During January students take only one class, which allows them to focus solely on that subject for the entire month.  This means that students can be less fearful about meeting the requirements of the class because they have no other courses to worry about.  Courses offered during J-term are also unique, while some mainstays of the curriculum like Organic Chemistry and other intro classes, or upper level requirements, most students take a course that is something completely new to them, or something that you would not expect to see offered.  The quirkiness of many of these course allows students to explore topics that interest them in a way that makes them nonthreatening   I used my first J-term to explore the arts here at Middlebury, something that I wanted to do, but I was afraid that I lacked the skill and artistic ability to participate in studio art classes at the college level.  Having a less rigorous course schedule, and more time to complete work with, I was easily able to take my first art class at Middlebury.  My experience with the arts here convinced me to take several more classes, all of which have provided me with great experiences, as well as new techniques and skills that I never thought I would know.

I think the one problem with J-term is how few classes you will be able to take before you graduate.  The classes offered during this time of the year take both students and professors out of their comfort zones, and both groups explore entirely new subject matter with each other.  It is easy to see the excitement in both students and their professors as both become immersed in the beauty of learning and exploring, which at the end of the day is what the liberal arts are all about.  A few of my favorite classes offered during J-term range the spectrum of science, literature, languages, and the humanities.  One of my friends here at the college took a class during her sophomore J-term called “Caveman Chemistry” during which she learned about chemistry through science projects that you might see in a 5th grade classroom, such as, how to make soap and paper.  Another group of my friends took a class about the Lord of the Rings, just like everyone else in the world, they are huge Tolkien fans, during their class they read the trilogy, the Hobbit, and the Silmarillion.  The best part about this class was that it was taught by a computer science professor who simply had a passion for the Lord of the Rings.

The other great thing about J-term are the experiences students have outside of the classroom.  Only taking one class, which often meets only a few times a week, and for only part of the day allows students to explore the social, cultural, and community aspects of Middlebury as well.  J-term workshops offer student the ability to take fun, non-academic courses such as iron-working  making your own Adirondack chair, and a cooking class to learn how to make that special someone fall in love with you through their stomach.  J-term also offers you perhaps the best skiing opportunity you may have in your entire life.  Free shuttles to and from the College take students to Middlebury’s own ski slopes at the Snow Bowl.

In my eyes, J-term symbolizes everything that Middlebury is about.  It is a unique way to accomplish our liberal arts mission.  The opportunity to learn in a unique environment provides students academic opportunities, which they would not otherwise have.  J-term is my favorite part of the Middlebury curriculum, and the memories that I have created here during J-term will always be some of my fondest memories from Midd.

The Student-Athlete Experience

What does it mean to be a student-athlete?  I have been asked that question a number of times since coming to Middlebury, and the idea of the “student-athlete” played a large role in my college application process.  I love sports, and I have always loved them, throughout my life I have played on a variety of sports teams and was a 3 sport varsity athlete in high school.  I knew that when I finished high school I did not want to stop being part of a team or stop playing the sports that I love.  That is why I decided to look for a school where I could continue to play football.  However, I didn’t want to go to a school that would define me by my participation in athletics, Middlebury was the only school that recruited me that said as a student-athlete would be a student first and an athlete second.  This concept played a large role in me eventually going to Middlebury, and it has continued to be important to me since I have been here.  That is why I would like to talk to you all about what it means to be a student-athlete at Middlebury.

Probably the greatest thing about Division III sports is the passion, love, and respect for the game that exists at this level.  Every athlete at Middlebury and at other D III programs plays because they love the game and wanted to continue to play.  There are no other motives to play, we do not get scholarships, and most of us (besides possibly Ryan Moores) are not going to play at a professional level.  Because sports are just a passion for the student-athlete and not the full reason why an athlete is at Middlebury, athletes are able to participate in a variety of other things as well.  There is no set definition for what an athlete has to be.  Athletes can be found in every major or minor at the college and on scores of the over 150 non-athletic student organizations that you can find on campus. 

So what does just relying on passion bring you?  The Directors Cup  for one.  For the first time in our history last year Middlebury College won the Director’s Cup.  In short the Director’s Cup is an award given by National Association of Collegiate Directors of Athletics (NACDA), it is given to the D III athletics program that performed best overall in terms of season records and championship performances.   A variety of teams last year from our women’s field hockey, ice hockey and volleyball to our men’s basketball, lacrosse, and soccer teams all put together terrific seasons.  This goes to show that by coming to Middlebury and playing for a team here you will not sacrifice the excellence that all athletes expect of their teammates, their coaches, and their selves.

The Bucket List

            I have taken it upon myself to use this blog not only to inform you – the reader – about what Middlebury has to offer, but also to remind myself of what it has offered me, and will continue to offer me long after I graduate.  However, as I start my senior year it is hard for me to focus on the things that I have accomplished here at Middlebury, instead I find myself focusing on what I have not yet done.  Perhaps this comes from every Midd Kid’s biggest weakness; FOMO, or the Fear Of Missing Out.  It’s a constant problem at a school like this, how do you choose between the dozens of weekly musical acts, speakers, and other performers?  How do I choose between the over 150 student clubs and organizations offered?  Worst of all, how do I choose what to do now, when I have less than 9 months to do it?  Because of these pesky questions that I keep asking myself I decided to create a senior year bucket list style top ten of things that I NEED to do before I graduate. 



10. Apple picking

Yeah I know, what have you done with your life Kyle?  But in all seriousness I have not yet gone apple picking since I started to live in Vermont. 


9. Epic snowball fight on Battell Beach (keyword: EPIC)



8. See the Dalai Lama speak, live, in Nelson Arena, at Middlebury College

I really just wanted to talk about how I’m going to see the Dalai Lama speak in a few weeks, to quote myself from earlier in this post… “EPIC!”


7. Vermont Brewery Passport Tour

            Finally 21, and Vermont is considered one of the best beer making states in the country


6. Learn how to ski (well settle for falling 3 times or less on the bunny slope)

Not only does Middlebury have its very on ski mountain, but also free shuttles that continually go there all day during J-term.  This is the year I finally conquer my fears, or fall trying


5. Make maple syrup

How awesome would it be to put YOUR own maple syrup on pancakes, waffles, or just about anything else.  There must be somewhere in Vermont that I can make this dream a reality.


4. Take a dance class

The liberal arts for me have been about trying new things, and dance is something that would be very new to me.  However, I have true potential, or so I tell myself.  I’m pretty sure my awesome rhythm and plethora of awesome dance moves make me the perfect candidate to be a dance prodigy.  Also this may be the last time I can take a dance class that will be taught at this caliber.


3. Feb myself – this won’t happen, but a man can dream

In my later years at Midd I have realized that perhaps I was born with some Febbish tendencies, it may be too late for me to realize my feb-potential, but I implore you to try it out for yourself.


2.  The Vermonster / Tour of the Ben and Jerry’s Factory

Ice cream, enough said.  But really Ben and Jerry’s factory is in Vermont and I havenot yet visited.  Not only can you tour the facility and receive free samples all day long, but you can even try and conquer the Vermonster – enough ice cream and toppings to feed an army of competitive eaters.


1. Go to Steve’s Diner on President Lebowitz’s tab

It’s one of the last things that seniors do before the graduate, so I figured that it is fitting for the number one thing I need to do before I graduate.