Still a Mess

Remember me? Last week I was all like:

I’ve been thinking a lot about my Plan and the cold hard truth that it no longer reflects who I am and what I want my role to be during my time at Bennington

I’m Plan in shambles girl. But guess what friends? I re-wrote my entire plan essay and I could not be more pleased. It’s still a working document, still completely able to be changed, but now I have a piece that I’m really proud of, a piece that represents me and can help guide the rest of my time here.

The problem I was having with my original plan was that I was thinking about my education solely in terms of disciplines. Which discipline of the four that I study (theater, radio, literature and photography) deserves most of my attention? How can I hierarchically divide up my time when one subject does not stand out as more essential to my work than any other? I have come to the conclusion that, regardless of what discipline(s) I study, I want to focus on the expression of my lived experiences in order to create something with larger relevance to an audience. It’s what I do in admissions on tours and in emails, what I have been gravitating towards in my coursework, and, really, what I’ve been trying to do for a long time, only without the words to convey it.   

I previously gave you a chunk of Alan’s Plan, but now I’d like to share a bit of mine, from the very last paragraph of the essay: 

In the world’s lamest wrap up, I finished my original plan by writing that, “for the rest of my time at Bennington I want to work on incorporating the personal into my studies here.” I am now proposing that the personal is, in fact, the center of my studies. In plain china the nonfiction committee has been discussing what makes an effective ending. Endings are one of my many weaknesses as a writer. In my playwriting class, I could simply insert a stage direction about the fading lights and call it a day. But in this particular case, I am okay with not being able to concoct the perfect ending. I don’t want to manufacture a false sense of closure, for truly, I am still a mess. The Plan Process has no real ending; when I leave Bennington I will still be pursuing my own lines of inquiry. So I will leave this essay, just like my education, unfinished.  

Sincerely,

Emily ‘16

Hello, is there a maximum number of courses you can take in bennington? what is the usual number of courses you guys have during one period? thanks! — Asked by Anonymous

A usual course load per term is 16 credits. That could be broken up between (A) four 4 credits classes (B) three 4 credit classes and two 2 credit classes (C) 2 four credit classes, two 2 credit classes and a series of four 1 credit modules the combinations continue…

As far as there being a maximum not really… I’m currently taking seven classes and if you were to do that every term you could potentially have as many as fifty four classes on your transcript when you graduate. THAT WOULD BE CRAZY. It’s always exciting to have a diverse course load but important to keep things manageable. 

(This blog post is half answering your question and half reminding myself not to take too many classes.)

Hope this helps and be sure to check out the curriculum and start dreaming about what your class lineup could be!

-Selina ‘15

I ran back home for a second and found this view on the way.Alan ‘15

I ran back home for a second and found this view on the way.

Alan ‘15

how long is the time I get my acceptance letter to the time I have to tell admissions yes or no? — Asked by Anonymous

Hello there! 

So, it depends on when you apply. Here are some dates that might be helpful.

But in terms of when you have to let us know of your decision:

Early Decision 1: Feb 1st

Early Action: May 1st

Early Decision 2: March 1st

Fall Regular Decision: May 1st

+ All transfer and Spring entry decisions should be made within 30 days of the acceptance letter. 

Any more questions? Please be in touch!

Naima ‘15

Can you do about anything for FWT? Or are there restrictions? — Asked by Anonymous

You probably couldn’t do this:

Then again, would you want to? But as long as you work the required hours (190 over 7 weeks) and you’re able to articulate why you want to do it, if your faculty adviser and the Field Work Term office sign off, you have the freedom to find a job or internship opportunity that works for you. Field Work Term is a great time to get experience in something you’re passionate about or, if you haven’t written your plan yet, it’s also an opportunity to explore a new city and what it’s like to live and work there. But not Jupiter. You probably couldn’t follow a mysterious black monolith to Jupiter and go on an epic adventure that transcends time and space. But if you’re deadset on it, talk to the Field Work Term office! They’re always willing to help you out. 

- Matt ‘17

Hello all, I'm already part of the 2018 ganga, and am wondering if there is any kind of AAA like eating disorder related group in place. I've always struggled with my image, as do roughly 80 percent of women on average, and have no problem talking about it. Is Bennington aware of this problem, or more importantly, are they trying to help and talk to those in the student body who have similar disorders? Thankyou lots! — Asked by Anonymous

benningtonstudents:

What a great question — coming from LA, I was raised under the (fairly subconscious) impression that beautiful = skinny….until I got to Bennington and realized I was being force fed (oh ho ho) a bunch of crap.  In fact, my creative thesis at Bennington concerns itself greatly with eating disorders, so I end up talking to a lot of people on campus about body image/self image.  We don’t necessarily have an official “support group” per se, but one of the defining factors of the Bennington social experience is the ability to actually “go there” about anything…truly anything…we *want* to have those conversations.  So please come and talk up a storm…it’s so important that we create a space where these issues can be voiced.  It’s up to us to reclaim our pride in our bodies and feel beautiful :)

— Parke ‘15

I just wanted to add that there are resources and support on campus currently with continued events and programming sponsored by the Bennington Wellness (BeWell) group on campus. 

The Bennington College Wellness Peers (myself and three other students which continues to grow) welcome your questions and suggestions for programming, speakers, and services you’d like to see on campus. The Wellness Peers serve as wellness liaisons, referring and connecting students and administration. Again, just please email bewell@bennington.edu with your input.

Taste of the Townhouse

benningtonstudents:

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Chocolate, avocado, coconut, vegan/gluten free mousse!

Yum!

-Selina ‘15

Alana reads out loud “Chocolate, avacado, coconut, vegan/gluten free mousse???” and then it continues:

"MMMmmm, yum" -Nina

"What? I don’t know about the avocado." -Alana

"No! They are so good. They-" -Nina
 ”…it’s used as a replacement for butter, right” -Naima
"Yeah, and they are so good because you don’t taste the avocado much and you just get the richness of it." -Nina

"Wait! Pause. This is the most enthusiastic conversation this shift has ever had" -Alan

*Laughs*

"Well, if I was to marry anything that wasn’t a human, it would probably be an avocado…" -Nina***

****No, but seriously, Nina made ceramics inspired by avocados last year: http://nbrnstn.tumblr.com/

What kind of support does Bennington provide for undocumented students? — Asked by Anonymous

Helloooo!

First of all, Bennington does admit students regardless of their immigration status. We at the admissions office focus on the individual, their academic interests, achievements and what they can add to our growing community of learners and thinkers. Students are admitted not based on their documentations/citizenship (even though the process can be more complicated for students lacking certain documents), and we encourage any aspiring student to apply and provide them all the necessary support throughout the application process. In fact, there has been a couple of undocumented students who were accepted and attended Bennington over the past few years, so the process is not new to us. 

However, because of the privacy of this matter, I may not know the specific number of undocumented students we currently have on campus or the kind of support available to them. Also, your question is a little ambiguous and depends on individual students needs. One thing I can tell you though is that I have a friend (senior) on campus who is publicly outspoken about his status and the state of undocumented immigration in the country, and is currently working with the undocumented migrant population in the town of Bennington. You can find his recent Kalopsia speech here. I’ve spoken with him and he’ll be more than happy to answer any questions that you may have about the application process and his experiences here at Bennington. If you’re interested, please shoot me an email at chernohj@bennington.edu and I’ll will pass you along.    

And if you have more general questions, feel free to contact the admissions office at admissions@bennington.edu or give us a call at 802-440-4312 and we’ll do our best to address your questions/concerns. 

I hope this was helpful. 

Chernoh ‘15

I've heard that Bennington is where the "weirdos" of high school come together? Fact or fiction? — Asked by Anonymous

Ahhh, come on. Who told you that? Psh.

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People at Bennington are—well, we’re people. Some of us are more or less athletic than others; some of us are always early to class and some aren’t; some of us are Macs and some are PCs… Some of us do (and some of us don’t) choose to identify as “weirdos.”

But I guess the only way you could find out for yourself would be to come visit…

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…and tell us yourself… are we weirdos? Maybe we are, maybe we’re not. Solid?

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Solid.

/\Will

Is the size of Bennington ever, too small? — Asked by Anonymous

Sometimes we ask ourselves this very question,

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The college actually isn’t (quite) small enough for any student to know literally everyone. You’ll meet new people and learn new things about the ones you already know. 

That being said, neither the college nor the town is large by any relative standards. Do we have all of the modern comforts of urban life—grocery stores, Radio Shack, cute diners—even, perhaps, a bowling alley? Good golly, yes!

If, however, you are a regular concertgoer who loves seeing each next big act come through on tour, you’d have to drive somewhere from Bennington to do that. Campus really comes alive on weekends with student events: concerts, open mic nights, movie showings, study groups (the struggle is real)… But we’re by no means urban. Bennington may not be big enough for everybody, but it’s never too small.

/\Will

Fitting In

Many prospective students post on the blog or send us emails along the lines of:

Um what If I’m not cool enough/what if nobody likes me/no seriously I’m REALLY weird/help friends how do I do that/help social pressure/gahhhhh

Well, I’m here to alleviate your fears.  This stuffed uterus had THE MOST reason to worry about not fitting in at Bennington, and she fits in just fine. Not to mention she raises awareness about gender and feminism on campus.  Below are some images of her having a great time being accepted, considered cool, and not judged on campus.

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Gotta do some hw brb

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Gettin’ a lil’ first aid from campo

imageWho knows…you may even meet the president…

Does Bennington take in to consideration an upwards grade trend when considering admission? I did not do that well in 9th and 10th grade- I had health issues so I put less effort in to my school work. I went from a 3.5 GPA in 10th grade to a 4.0 GPA in 11th, and also took a more solid workload that year (and in 10th all of my B's were in core classes!)... I LOVE to learn and I desperately want to go to a school where I will have the opportunity to get a great education,and I think that is... — Asked by Anonymous

Better upwards than downwards, am i right??

but for real, health issues are a perfectly valid excuse for this sort of thing. 3.5->4.0 doesn’t sound too extreme, but if you’re concerned at all, just make sure you’re in communication with your counselor so that they know what the story is. 

This goes for any concerns, grades or otherwise! talk to your counselor! they know that things are literally changing all the time and that some things are just beyond our control! We’re all humans here! 

we must maintain the balance

kagan16

How feasible is it to be granted an assistant animal for stress and depression? A cat would really help... — Asked by Anonymous

I reached out to the Dean’s Office on this one, and the answer I got back was that requests for disability-related companion animals - other than service dogs - are handled on a case-by-case basis.  The required information you must submit to the school in requesting an accommodation can be viewed here. I do know of one student previously who had a cat for an anxiety disorder, but it’s really between you and the Dean’s Office.

-Ray ‘15

I read that Bennington doesn't finance any part of FWT including housing, and that the grants they offer are very small. My mom went here for a year, and she spent her FWT recruiting for the school, so they paid for everything, but I feel that this system would give a steep advantage to well-off students in terms of the opportunities they are able to pursue. Thoughts? — Asked by Anonymous

Field Work Term is designed to be an experiment in self-sufficiency. The Office of the FWT is a resource for you at all times — they can help you design a FWT that works for you (tailored to your specific strengths and needs). That might look like finding a paid internship, or living with a recent alum, or  a volunteer position with meals and board, or even working here on campus.  A lot (not all) of first-year students do their first FWTs at home. 

While being well-off does make certain aspects easier, part of what is important about FWT is the independence of finding and applying for your own job, setting up a 7-week housing situation (apartment, house, couch-surfing, etc.), and working that experience into your education. We often stick together — Bennington students will help each other find housing all over the place, and often live together to off-set costs and explore the area together. 

Sure, money can help you in many situations. But given the skills that the FWT is designed to develop, the most competent graduates are those who have worked through the whole process with a mix of self-reliance and collaboration with friends. It’s how many post-grads live in the years after Bennington as well. So don’t be afraid of finances getting in the way of you having a great FWT! Chances are that you will graduate with some awesome job-finding and apartment-hunting skills, a set of great friends to work and live with, and a whole series of job leads from your four years worth of internships. 

-Alex and Sylvia ‘16