What do you hate/dislike about bennington? please, be sincere! — Asked by Anonymous

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.

kagan16

Schools opinion on mental illness? Like anxiety/depression and how do they address it in students — Asked by Anonymous

also, these: 

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Hey anon(s),

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.

-Ray ‘15

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.

I'm having trouble cutting down my response to the common app supplement question of a book to recommend. Thoughts? Ideas? Hip songs to listen to that (hopefully) might keep me from (frustration-induced) crying? — Asked by Anonymous

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 parkeh@bennington.edu?

— Parke ‘15

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HJ8nPYSNobg

Is profanity allowed in portfolio pieces? For example, if it contributes to character development in a play. — Asked by Anonymous

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

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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.

Can anyone/maybe admissions counselors might know of some suggestions but - mfa programs that are similar to Bennington ?? Or where have Bennington grads done grad school for art stuff ? Xoxox — Asked by Anonymous

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."

but I’m all about the Brown playwriting MFA…two favorite quotes from their little manifesto:

"Queer can mean: A personal and demonstrated identity in contravention of logic or domination. Art must queer the system."
and
"Just as we’re post national – we’re also post disciplinary. This was once understood to be post dramatic, in the sense of post authorship/post-text. But the total loss of disciplines, like the total loss of self, is disastrous. The world we are trying to describe now is so richly detailed and complex that it must be viewed from all angles at once."

Happy hunting,
Alan
#us in high school

#us in high school

Long Weekend Scenery

"Yellow rain on the road to Shingle & the tree that refuses to let its leaves fall down yet."

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(Photo and quote stolen from my dear friend and first roommate Andrea)

-Selina ‘15

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.

What are the benefits of applying with the dimensional application vs the common app? I would like to submit my portfolio, and I don't know which format would better suit it. — Asked by Anonymous

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.

Alan ‘15

Do you usually have a large number of applications from colorado? — Asked by Anonymous

good morning

last year, 14 out of 1100 applications (1.2%) were from students whose permanent address was somewhere in Colorado. 

thank you

kagan16

Hi hi! My name is Anne (pronounced Annie - it's complicated). I'm kind of maybe sort of interested in Bennington as a prospective college maybe sort of? I've been exploring Bennington's website along with tons of other college websites but I just wanted to hear about the school from actual students. So... what's it like? Do you like it? What do you hate about it? I wanna know everything! Damn, did that sound needy? — Asked by Anonymous

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 kaganm@bennington.edu 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

I am a writer, and if i get accepted to Bennington my plan will focus on writing, languages and dance. I graduated early from High school and enrolled in my local Junior College at 16 so i could focus on my writing, so I'd be transferring. The thing I wanted to ask was, I've gotten really good grades up to the point I took Chemistry for general ed., I had a 3.7 and it lowered it to a 3.3. I want the admissions to know me as a person expands beyond that chemistry grade. Will they understand? — Asked by Anonymous

Hyullo!

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.

Best,

Chloe ‘16

For all of you prospective students out there, march to your own beat! I know we say that casually, but Ringo Starr is so right. We are all little drummers just trying to find our own way. Bennington is a place designed to help you figure out what beat work for you. Not to be the sentimental Senior and all, but I am going to miss this place and I think my biggest take away is realizing that this community gave me the space and resources and challenges to develop my own beat. Soon Bennington will launch me into the world outside of college to continue to play that beat with Pride, after 4 trial launches of FWT of course :)

p.s. I also named my cat Ringo after this drummer!

-Alana ‘15

Hi, I am a teacher at Princeton Day School (Princeton, NJ) teaching a high-school class about checking credentials of writers/journalists/bloggers etc. They are currently reading Michael Pollan, and we see that he claims that he is a graduate of your college (B.A. English, 1977(. Can you confirm this please? Thank you, Reuben Loewy — Asked by Anonymous

Hey there!

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,

-Alex ‘16