I strongly dislike how expensive this college and college education is in general.
Also, once I saw a group of streakers being chased by a dog while chanting “Obama! Obama!”
It made me really, really, inexplicably angry.
Mental health is treated as a completely legitimate concern here, though I… would hope that that’s true at all schools. Many people struggle with their mental health, especially while under the stresses of college and beginning their adult lives away from home. Anxiety and depression in particular are very common, although no less difficult to experience for that. None of the therapists in the office of psych services would bat an eye at such problems, nor will just about anyone else on campus. I see a therapist in psych services once a week, and I’ve never lived anywhere else where it was so normal, so stigma-less, to be open about being in therapy/having a mental illness. And you’ll never lack for kind people here, whether or not you attend therapy. It is, additionally, worthy of note that psych services are available to students regardless of ability to pay — they’ll work something out with you structured around your specific situation vis a vis insurance etc., and their payscale does go all the way down to “free” if that’s what you really need.
In addition to all of the above, psych services recently struck up a campus conversation with a meeting that was open to all students, staff, and faculty. It was well-attended, and one of the things that came out of it was an ongoing conversation about mental wellness at Bennington — that is to say, how we can do more to promote overall health and to propagate the idea that you don’t need to have a diagnosable mental illness in order to take steps to take care of yourself. Situational depression, for instance, is a thing. And some people find that they do better in therapy even though they don’t have a mental illness per se. So there’ll be more going on in the near future to promote wellness in things like study and sleep habits, especially during high-stress times like midterms and finals.
So, let me know if that answered your questions (or, especially, if it didn’t). Hope you’re well, and if you wanted to talk about anything in more detail, please feel free to email me at rays (at) bennington.edu.
PS. Pro tip: one of the strongest indicators of success with therapy I’ve seen here is understanding what you’re looking for when you go in. Most of Bennington psych services’ therapists fall into either the psychodynamic or cognitive-behavioral therapy styles, and chances are you have a preference, even if you don’t know it yet. As a disclaimer, I’m not any kind of qualified mental health professional, I’m just talking out of my own experiences with therapy here on campus. But the people I’ve talked to who have had bad initial experiences with therapy here and haven’t gone back have usually done so because they went in expecting PD and got CBT, or vice versa. You can totally request one or the other when you set up an appointment.
If your thoughts are like cream, SHAKE EM UP! And then let the most important ones rise to the top as delicious butter. Wait…that’s how that works right. Or does the butter sink to the bottom? Or does the entire thing just become butter?
Ok discarding the failure metaphor all I have to say is you don’t have to say it all. I know you must have a thousand opinions/ideas/, but you have lots of time to express them! Allow a few gold nugget to shine through your other precious mind jewels (I’m on a roll).
What book is it that is getting you so in a tizzy? I’d love to talk to you about it — why don’t you send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org?
— Parke ‘15
We may wash your mouth out with soap the moment you arrive on campus, but sometimes one must take great personal risks for the sake of their art.
— Parke ‘15
The Secret Life of Kagan Marks (interviewed by Rory Cullen)
Kagan is an elusive and cryptic presence in all of our lives, and allowed only one portion of his interview to be published here:
Q: What’s your favorite sport, and why?
A: Being a baller is the ultimate goal. Ball is life. You know when you see some baller bros in the park, and you just join in, and you’re just really good?
Nothing more. Now you know as much about Kagan as we do.
Here are some wise words from Libby Hux, our New York & New Jersey counselor who is a little bit more well versed in the world of grad schools:
"In terms of MFA programs most applied (by everyone, not just Bennington students) to for contemporary/conceptual work: CalArts, SAIC in Chicago, Bard, YALE of course!, U of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, UCLA, Cranbrook, the studio art MFA at Claremont, USC, and I think CCA."
"Yellow rain on the road to Shingle & the tree that refuses to let its leaves fall down yet."
(Photo and quote stolen from my dear friend and first roommate Andrea)
The Secret Life of Chernoh Jalloh (interviewed by Doug Campos)
Q: What’s your most vivid/meaningful childhood memory?
A: From 1996 to 2003, Chernoh moved around a lot with his mother between Guinea, Sierra Leone, Liberia, and the Ivory Coast. He recalls a specific memory from when he was about 6 years old, which to this day remains a source of strong motivation for him. As he remembers it he, his mother, and a group of strangers walked in the middle of the night through the bush and forest, from Guinea to Sierra Leone, during the time of the 11-year civil war. He remembers that his mother was the only one leading the way through the night, with a torch in her hand. He highlighted the length of the walk and the darkness of the night as what stayed with him most vividly.
Q: What worries you most about being at Bennington?
A: Given the field that Chernoh plans to enter (biochem and medicine), he’s nervous about the fact that Bennington’s name is widely recognized in certain of the academic circles he’s looking to enter. He finds that he often has to defend his work and place of work, or strive for credibility among other students with highly recognizable scientific “pedigrees” like MIT. Chernoh explained that while Bennington students are very good at talking about our work, and love to do so, that sometimes others don’t leave much room for it when all they care about is the name of the school you went to.
Q: What would be the last meal you’d want to eat before dying?
A: Rice and groundnut (peanut) soup. He says that he can only ever find it at home, or sometimes in Philly.
From our side of things, it doesn’t make a difference — we are going to be getting to know you through the application, not your choice of application. So it is really up to you to decide which method showcases your work (& your, uh, self) the best.
If you do the dimensional app, I’d encourage you to think very intentionally about what you include and make sure we are getting a whole picture of you. With the common app, you have a sort of safety net which is that of tradition.
The choice is still yours…that’s the Bennington way.
last year, 14 out of 1100 applications (1.2%) were from students whose permanent address was somewhere in Colorado.
Hello Ann(i)e and welcome to the bennington students blog tapped IN
Glad to hear that you’re doing some research! If I had to describe Bennington super concisely, I’d say it’s like a really really hard summer camp except we’re here during the fall and spring instead of summer! That may sound kind of weird but it’s actually pretty nice if that’s the sort of thing you’re into. I’m into it. One thing I hate hate absolutely hate is when the dining hall drink machines run out of ice!!!!!
if you want to know more about things I like and hate please email me at email@example.com and i will provide you with a comprehensive excel spreadsheet listing these things as well as where they land on the Josef Mundt Love-Hate scale.
Kagan (pronounced Kaygen) ‘16
Absolutely they’ll understand. Bennington puts weight on your application(/interview?) as a whole - how it reflects you as a person. They care to know what you think about the most (i.e. your “passions”), and if you enrolled in a class that you didn’t do that great in, they’ll probably think it’s cool that you enrolled in a scary class in the first place. Don’t sweat it, we look at the big picture.
While I hope you’re not teaching your students to use Tumblr as a reliable source for checking credentials, according to Michael Pollan’s CV from his website, his biography on wikipedia (which cites an interview posted on his website), AND the Bennington College Website, he did in fact attend here!
Hope this clears things up,