So honesty time, I mostly just answered this post so I could put a thrift shop gif (see below). But we do have several thrift shops nearby. The two that come to mind are Goodwill and Salvation Army.
Students mostly go to Goodwill (I don’t think I have ever gone there without running into at least one Bennington student). Though fairly small, it has its charm and has all the ugly sweaters, surprisingly cute dresses and weird stuff for your dorm that you could ever need.
Here are some thoughts from around the office on winter at Bennington:
"Winter is in your mind." - Michael
"Birkenstocks are not always appropriate footwear. Otherwise the cold is not difficult" - Liam
"I don’t know. It’s just not that bad. You only ever have to walk outside for like a minute." - Alan (Liam: you have clearly never studied music)
"I’m not necessarily a good person to ask because I used to wear flipflops in the snow in Maine. I chose Bennington partly because I wanted four seasons and it is somewhat unpredictable." - Alana
"Foreign policy begins at home." - Eliana
"I’m still appreciating the fact that there is snow and grass instead of dust and dirt like back home in New Mexico." - Kagan
"I’m kind of enjoying the cold weather. For my entire adult life, I’ve lived in a new house every single year. Now I’ve been in my house for going on three years. I’m enjoying winter now more than I ever have because I know what is coming." - Holly Khiel (Admssions Counselor)
In general, the weather fluctuates from steamy September to frigid February, though you’ll be on your winter break and Field Work Term from mid-December to mid-February and so will miss the worst of it. While some students become more sick in the cold than others, it’s not as if winter comes and tragedy ensues. If you dress warm and stay optimistic, winter is more about snowball fights and sliding in the snow than colds and fevers.
FYI this is the music building Liam was referring to when responding to Alan:
FISH ONLY!!! ;-) ;-) ;-) ;-)
There are hella dogs (and a few cats) around campus that belong to different faculty and staff, though, and a few of the faculty members living in the house apartments have pets that tend to hang around.
<3 Kagan ‘13
We very much enjoy answering your lovely questions. Glad that you like our responses.
So basically, I’m a pre-med student and I’ve done numerous FWTs pertaining to health and medicine. My plan is in global health and I’ve worked on two (and soon-to-be three) different aspects of medicine that all help inform my plan and my overall pre-med education here at Bennington. My short story (below) is not atypical to other pre-med students here. There are a number of opportunities to explore any area in the medical field, and we all take advantage of them. So there you go!
I spent my first FWT in Durban, South Africa and worked in a bio-medical research institute for HIV and TB. I was specifically involved in a mutagenesis project seeking to identify essential and nonessential genes in mycobacterium tuberculosis. I knocked-out several genes from the mycobacterium and tried to grow it to see whether or not it could live without that gene. That allowed us to initiate a library/catalog of all essential genes which can be targeted by drug therapy. In a sentence, this was simply basic research.
For my second FWT, I went to Ghana and worked at a community health research center in a small town just along the border with Burkina Faso. I conducted an extensive effectiveness survey on a new anti-malaria drug in several villages, and partook in a diarrhea vaccine trial targeted at children under five. This was quite different from the first one, it was more about health intervention and care delivery. I did many field trips! Great stuff!
And in exactly three weeks time, I will be heading down to Milwaukee for my third FWT. I will be working at the Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin. I expect something different from my previous FWTs.
So yeah! Hope that gives you a sense of the breadth and scope of FWT as far as the medical field is concerned. I love this topic, so feel free to ask any questions you may have. Will do my best to reply.
Be at peace, prospective students (and bow down). The interns are here to help you. In order to shave our queue down a little, we’re going to answer all the analytical paper-related questions we’ve currently got in one master post, to be forever heralded as the Holy Scripture of This One Piece of Your Application.
The reason we ask for an analytical paper—what we’re really looking for, here—is that it’s a way for us to see how you construct and defend an argument. That’s it. That’s what you need to be showing us. However, we understand that the devil can be in the details. So:
Where do I upload the analytical paper? I can’t find it on the Common App.
It’s not on the Common App! There’s a space to submit it on your Applicant Status Page. You should receive a link to this page a day or two after you submit your application.
That didn’t happen. Please help, it’s been weeks.
Email Sheila! smartin (at) bennington (dot) edu.
What if I missed the deadline?
Just get it in to us ASAP and you should still be solid.
What is an analytical paper, anyway?
What is anything, sweet anons? What are you? What am I? What a—sorry, it’s finals week. We’re a little fried here in Bennington. As mentioned earlier, the analytical paper’s purpose is to show us how you construct and defend an argument. This means that it’s not a research paper—you’re not just finding stuff out about something and then telling us about the thing. It should have a thesis; you should be making some sort of case to your readers about your source material, supported by evidence from said material.
What if my only analytical paper is handwritten?
As long as it’s legible, we’ll take it. We prefer a handwritten paper, graded and with comments, to a typed version of that paper without.
What if I don’t have any that are graded/have comments?
Just send us one without, then. We strongly prefer to see how you were being graded because it fills out a picture of your academics for us, but in a pinch we are capable of deciding the merit of your arguments on our own, haha.
I have never written an analytical paper in my life.
Get in touch with your admissions counselor and they’ll help you work something out.
That’s it, lovelies! If there are gaps in the gospel, let me know and I’ll fill them, but otherwise, happy analyzing.
My, what a very specific hypothetical! I feel like I’m in trapped in one of Wittgenstein’s philosophy papers. I would tell this applicant she (I’m being super progressive here…he is grammatically correct according to my 9th grade English teacher. Please don’t assume I assumed the applicant was a woman because of the low GPA or something. I’m being a feminist, not a loser) — that she should still apply. No single part of your high school career tells the whole story, so we look at everything we can to get to see the big picture. Do an interview. Send us a portfolio. Show us you’re passionate about the school, even if your art is kinda bad. We don’t look at our applicants like numbers, we look at them like people. Even if they are only hypothetical.
How many ponchos do you think this office collectively owns?
VAPA, the visual and performing arts building, is (for the most part) open 24 hours a day, and that only excludes areas with unusually expensive or dangerous equipment (i.e. digital arts studios or the wood shop, both of which are locked at night). Because of this open environment, there is definitely room in various studios for those who are just casually interested in experimenting with VA outside of class, as long as they don’t interfere with classes currently in session and provide their own materials.
That being said, you definitely don’t have to have a focus in the visual arts in order to take VA studio classes! Studio classes are made up of everyone from the casually interested to those whose Plans are entirely in the visual arts.
Hope this helps!
- Rachel ‘14
Good lord, no. I’m not going to tell you that Bennington is a perfect paradise where everyone knows all about LGBTQA issues and is completely respectful of them, but as an out lesbian I have not once encountered any violent, or even truly mean, rhetoric here. And I think the campus is pretty universally in favor of equal marriage—except for the people who are overall against marriage as an institution. You’re more likely to face offensive (but benignly-intended) jokes than anything. The vast majority of people will be supportive, whether or not they’re well-versed in the activist side of things.
Hi Angel! No need to apologize for asking a lot of questions. Helping prospective students is what we admissions interns love (and get paid) to do.
When I got to Bennington, I was pretty painfully shy. I hadn’t had any close friends in high school, and it was really daunting to start over on a campus where I didn’t know anyone, and where everyone was coming from different places. The diversity was exciting, of course, but I also wondered how much common ground I’d have with my classmates. This persisted through most of Orientation—a lot of its goal is to expose you to as many of your classmates as possible, so you get chances to know each other, but it’s a lot of faces and names and not a lot of time spent on each one of them. So, I got to know a few people, but we didn’t really have a chance for bond. Then, at the very end of Orientation, the house chairs threw the freshmen a huge dance party. I stood at the back, sort of shifting from side to side and not really dancing at all, as we awkward people are wont to do. There was a guy standing next to me doing the same thing, who was in my house, and he sidled up and said, “I don’t want to be rude, but I just wanted to ask what your pronouns are. I’m Crow, he/him.” I was delighted to be asked, and suddenly we were off and running. Two and a half years later, we’re still best friends. I’ve also found great friends in my roommates, my house community, and not a few classes. Once you get a leg in, it’s almost difficult not to bond with people here, because you’re constantly surrounded with amazing, passionate, intelligent peers. It’s a good stock to choose from. Additionally, there are a lot of us here who were “the awkward one” in middle and high school. Now we’re all pooled together, and we do all right.
This is not to say that you need to fall in best-friend-love at a dance party, or even during Orientation at all. Bennington has a pretty diverse array of social opportunities, and whatever your style is, you can find it here, from all-night parties to quiet nights in your common room with homework and company. I’d advise you to just be yourself and do your thing, and maybe just give yourself an extra push every once in a while to swallow down the nerves and introduce yourself to people. It’s amazing how quickly and often that pays off. Also, join a club or two. The community IS tight-knit here, but everyone’s friendly and more than willing to welcome new people in.
It’s perhaps a little redundant to add this here at the end, but it’s the answer I always give and I think it fits: my favorite thing about Bennington is the people. When you bring eight hundred students together and tell each of them to design a course of study around their passions, you get amazing results. This school really is a place of curiosity, collaboration, and fun, as much as it’s also a place of work and challenge. There’s nowhere I’d rather be.
Anyway, I hope this helps. Sorry for dumping an essay on you, haha. It’s finals week here and I seem to be stuck in the mode. Please feel free to contact me again with whatever worries you’ve got—social-related or otherwise—and good luck in your college admissions process.