Anonymous asked: Hi! I'm an accepted Southern California Student and I'll be visiting Bennington at the end of the month. I just checked the weather and it was 11 degrees, don't get me wrong I can't wait for the cold weather but how on earth do you all survive the cold? In SoCal it's summer all year round. Besides the weather, what are some of your favorite classes that I can check out while visiting. Thanks! :D
Hey west coaster!
Congrats on your acceptance! As someone from the humid tropics of Africa, I can’t help but sympathize with your concern. To be honest, I am not into the cold. At all. I love the outdoors, and the fact that temperatures get down pretty low limits the possibilities of being outside. However, as much as I can, I try to focus on the positives of cold weather; namely, SNOW. To me, snow is beautiful and refreshing. It’s sui generis nature brings me so much joy and I think it was a piece missing in my life prior to coming to Bennington. Like most Benningtonites, I wear loads of clothes for insulation, drink lots of tea/coffee and try to remain active (indoors, that is) as much as I can. It’s pretty easy to cope with the cold here because you have so many “cold weather experts” around you. People here really know how to deal with the cold. Also, if you’re up for it, I would also suggest trying some outdoor winter sports. The Green Mountains are beautiful in the winter and the Outdoor Club frequently offers weekend ski/winter backpacking trips. Ultimately, people interact with the cold differently and I’m sure you’ll find a strategy that works for you. Whatever you do, bring some warm layers with you!
As far as favorites classes go, hmmm… It’s difficult really to compare my classes here, each one has its own dimension and there’s something particular about each of my classes that I like. I wake up every morning thinking about global geopolitics and I follow the news pretty closely. So I would say my US-Africa Relations class is up there as one of my favorites. I really enjoyed the heated debates, and the depth in perspectives each reading offered. I use concepts from that class all the time to rationalize current issues. Unfortunately, it’s not being offered this term but I will always recommend it.
P.S: I asked other students/admissions interns about their favorite classes. Here’s what they have to say:
This term I would have to say my favorite class is a tie between my advanced Neuroscience class, Neurons, Networks, Behavior, and Chemistry. The Neuro class is four hours a week of discussions about current scientific literature (including a really badass paper about a wasp basically turning cockroaches into zombies), and my Chem class involves independent research studying turnip enzymes!
I never thought I would say this, but one of my favorite classes this term is Intro to Mathematics, which lets students revisit high school math concepts like trig and calculus. While my high school math experience wasn’t traumatic, per se, it was pretty rough. Intro to Math is definitely out of my comfort zone (I study mostly Anthropology, History, and Biology), but I love that about it. The professor, Josef Mundt, is a Bennington alumn and a very open and patient person. His goal is to demystify math, to take the “fear” element out of it. He’s definitely doing that for me!
- Julia ‘15
I think my favorite class this term would have to be Reading the Body. It’s listed as an Anthropology class, but it’s also half held in a dance studio. We’re looking at the human body through a wide array of lenses, and in a variety of contexts - these include the individual/lived body, the social body, and the political body. The class is really about different ways of knowing information, which is why half of our classes are reading-and-discussion-based, and half are experientially based.
My favorite class this term is definitely The Magical Object, a playwriting class with Sherry Kramer (who is also my advisor). She is teaching us to analyse stories in a new, very unique way. Really what we’re doing is analyzing our stories as poetry and studying some of Sherry’s favorite poetic plays,. She does a great job of analyzing things based solely on what has been introduced and though some of the connections we find I consider to be stretches, the way she logically and thoughtfully analyzes both the metaphors used in the plays and an audience’s experience with these metaphors throughout the play. In the end we are simply trying to figure out what makes these physically represented metaphors magical objects. A truly magical class indeed.
Anonymous asked: Can students do their own cooking and opt out of the meal plan altogether? From freshman year? I have health and economic reasons for this. Then, is grocery shopping difficult/costly?
From my experience and what I’ve heard, it’s difficult to opt out of the meal plan, though it’s not impossible, especially if you have a medical reason. There are full kitchens in every house so you’ll definitely have the opportunity to cook your own meals regardless. If you want to discuss your dining options and food constraints, contact John Tompkins - the director of dining services. His number is (802)-440-4443 and his e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org.
In terms of grocery shopping, there are a few options in Bennington-the-town - there’s a big Hannafords grocery store with most things you’d need (organics are sprinkled throughout the store and they usually have cheap-ish avocados), and then there’s Spice n’ Nice, a very cute small health food store with all yr sPeCiALtY iTeMs - goat yogurt, organic frozen mango slices, MAD VITAMINS. Those are approx. a 4 minute drive and an 8 minute drive away respectively, and there’s a shuttle that runs from the college. Also a lot of people go get snacks there often, and it’s usually pretty easy to find a ride or borrow a car if you are VERY nice.
I actually live in a somewhat off-campus house (really it’s just on the far side of campus i.e. a 5-minute walk from the center of everything), which is entirely off the meal plan (though I chose to be on the lunch plan). Besides that house, there’s also the Townhouse, which is for-real off campus and which has a co-op food system. They’re off the school’s meal plan, and each contribute a certain amount of money each term to the house, and then do all their food shopping and dinner-cooking together. But I believe those are both generally open only to sophomore-and-above students.
One of the biggest hurdles that the Friday Morning shift encountered today was changing the batteries of a watch that Marta (our wonderful overlord and boss) owns.
Since we all failed in opening the contraption, Marta took matters into her own hands.
Anonymous asked: how do i go through the process of asking to take a gap year? (I have been accepted and said I would be attending bennington but part of me really wants to possibly take a gap year...)
The process is super easy; you just have to check a box off on your Intent to Enroll form, and gap years are accepted unequivocally.
Even if you’re not 100% sure you want to take a gap year, I would definitely recommend contacting Holly, the counselor in charge of gap year stuff, at email@example.com and just let her know what’s going on. She’ll help you figure it all out.
See you next/nextnext year!
<3 Kagan ‘16
Anonymous asked: The town of Bennington recently made the NYTimes for the heroine epidemic sweeping through all walks of life, especially during the infamous Ne England winter. Just wondering if you can speak to the effects this does or doesn't have on college life and students' interaction with the town? Thanks!
As a junior here at Bennington who has lived in and been involved with the town for a few years now. I feel that I can say that this article was not new news to me. It only highlighted an existing reality whose scope and scale is way beyond heroin. It has been an issue that the town, New England, and rural areas in general have been dealing with for a long time.
That being said, I think this article forces a good conversation for everyone in the area and in the nation about how we address the issue. The efforts of Governor Shumlin and others are bringing much needed attention to this problem and I applaud what he is doing.
To actually answer your well-worded, diplomatic question (thank you), the problem doesn’t really have any affect on life for us on campus. We still go into town to get our groceries, to get coffee at South Street, and to go to trivia night at Ramuntos.
Bennington, VT is, like any other town in America, an incredibly nuanced and complex place. The NYT article does shed light on the lives of an unfortunately under-served portion of the Bennington community, and it’s something that is now being discussed in a much larger dialogue - something positive that the article does for our town. To your question, though, as a student it is something that we are aware of, but it doesn’t affect our day to day life, our education, or the tight-knit community we belong to on-campus.
Anonymous asked: Should I submit a creative wrtting sample even if it is in another language, say, Spanish? (can I still add stuff to my portafolio? I am RD)
Submission is so stigmatized by our ultra-progressive culture. Submit! Submit! Um, anyway, when it comes to your portfolio the answer is always yes — it shows us you’re enthused. We aren’t going to look down on the little something extra you give us. I can’t guarantee we’ll be able to read it, but why not throw it in there! Having said that, please don’t write the main stuff in a language we won’t be able to read. Do whatever you want with your extra stuff.
Wherever you go, you bring you with you. You are the constant. — the very wise dad of a possible future Benningtonian, on life’s big transitions.
Anonymous asked: hello lovely people of bennington. i was wondering if maybe you could show a pictures of everyone who interns in the admission office so we can get a sense of who you guys are? (if you're too shy, i understand), but it might be nice to put faces to your names
We attempt to answer this difficult question (who are we?) here
Anonymous asked: How is the musical theater program (Broadway @ Bennington)?
Ezra posted about musical theater at Bennington in 2012! That seems like so long ago! He didn’t even know how good those productions would be (and they were really good).
Despite the post’s age, I think it’s still totally valid today in that musical theater at Bennington is mostly student driven. Bennington is not a conservatory, there is no strictly defined musical theater program. This creates opportunities for completely original content that a wide variety of people can participate in. Students here find myriads of different ways to combine music, theater and dance resulting in really unique productions. Each student is allowed to find their own voice and aesthetic within these disciplines, instead of mimicking already established forms.
Anonymous asked: All right, this isn't actually about getting into Bennington College. I'm a sophomore in high school and I'd LOVE to go to Bennington. But I want to "test the waters" first. I've read a bit about their July program for students in high school, but can't find anything about it on the official website. Is that still a thing? If not, how do you suggest I prepare myself for going to college far away from home? thanks so much!
Unfortunately, the July Program ended a number of years ago. Bennington no longer has any sort of Pre-College programs—the closest thing being the Young Writers Competition.
So, sorry about that.
As for leaving home, I wouldn’t worry too much about that. Coming to Vermont from New Mexico, I think I speak for most people when I say that by the time you graduate high school, you’re just ready. You’re probably gonna want to leave. Maybe (hopefully) it’s not an “Oh man I hate this place get me outta here!” kind of thing, but in more of a Next Chapter Of Your Life (hehehehehe) way.
~you’ll be fine~
<3 Kagan ‘16