mobiusringtone asked: Hello, I'm applying to Bennington, but I'm a little confused about the Field Work Term. At the moment I'm planning on majoring in creative writing, but I can't think of any place I would be interested in field work terming. Would it look bad if I said it straight that I'm not sure? And if so, is the FWT limited to placed in the U.S. or the state?
If you need some inspiration, here are two lit-related FWTs just around the office:
Anushka- Random House, helping decide the initial round of possible publications to be looked at by editors.
Emily- Writopia Lab in NYC, helping to teach kids learn to read and write, and editing their literary magazine.
If you can’t think of anything. my advice would be to not confine yourself to just the field in which you think you want to study; it’s not uncommon for a first FWT to be a bit unrelated while still informative. Last year, I worked with a non-profit art organization in North Bennington, and while it had nothing to do with Chinese or Animation, it was still a cool experience to get to know the off-campus community and learn about the workings of a locally run and funded non-profit.
So if you’re having trouble imagining a FWT in the realm of creative writing, try thinking of another job you’ve always wanted that may not have much to do with your current area of study. And there’s no limit to where you can go— there have been FWTs all over the world. Just thinking within the office, we’ve got Jeremy going to Japan, and Julia to Mexico.
Don’t worry~Happy Holiday~
<3 Kagan ‘16
Anonymous asked: What didn't exist before you made it?
Yesterday, I had my final critique for my architecture class, Twisted Siblings: Relationships Between Painting and Architecture. I designed a pavilion and the landscape it sits on based off specific compositional cues that I took from two paintings that I analyzed during the term (for those interested, they were this Christopher Wool painting and this painting by Sarah Morris). I was interested in the idea of designing a landscape that is informed by specific axial gestures, and that is only understandable through the pavilion that sits above the entire landscape. In a way, the landscape would only be readable because of the pavilion, and the pavilion is only there because of the landscape.
A proud Carlos!
Site plan view of my model!
Model detail with George the 1/4 scale male model!
Plan and section (pencil on bristol)!
Exploded axonometric/sketch/conceptual drawing (pencil, pen, on bristol)!
I don’t know if this is the answer you were looking for, my friend, but this is something that didn’t exist until two days ago, that stems from the things that keep me up at night you know? To most people, these images are just cool-looking drawings and models, that relate to architecture. These are the results of my passions here, the craft that I don’t mind not sleeping a lot (or at all) for. I try to rationalize why I like making meticulous pencil drawings on paper that does not forgive my mistakes, drawings that take hours to make, a process that does not allow for erratic decisions or irrational gestures…but it’s what I love doing. The beauty of slowness, of process, of not sleeping more than 2 hours in 2 days just to talk about an idea for 15 minutes!.
But look at how happy it makes me!
This term we (Kate Davis and Arden Jordan) both took Social Practices in Art with Robert Ransick. This class is about learning and analyzing the field of social practice in art and the current artists and projects involved in this community. The best (which is saying a lot because it was an AMAZING class) thing about the class was designing our own social practice projects and implementing them for our final.
Arden: My partner, Maddy Kostman, and I recorded the thoughts of leaders, residents and students that were interested in examining the relationship between Bennington College and the town of Bennington. We archived these conversations in digital form, allowing people to listen to others’ responses.
Working on this project was one of the hardest and most rewarding experiences I’ve had at Bennington. Maddy and I had to revise our project several times and made several mistakes along the way. In the end, recording the different members of the larger Bennington community was an amazing experience.
I learned so much doing this project and now view the relationship between the college and the town in a completely new way. Maddy and I hope to continue these conversations when we get back to campus in the spring.
You can listen to all the recordings on our Soundcloud.
Kate: My partner, Christina Cary, and I taught a cooking class to kids at Fiddlehead at Four Corners. Our goal was to get parents excited about cooking with local vegetables by making cooking fun for kids. Before the event, we had NO idea if any families would show up, but families kept arriving, and it was awesome. Kids were coloring in images of the four main vegetable/fruit ingredients of the Butternut Squash and Pear soup, then got to take on the responsibility of slicing ingredients (with a plastic knife), scooping out the inside of the squash, and peeling the root veggies. Here are some of the pictures of the event.
Before each child left, he or she asked his/her parent if they were going to make the soup when they got home. The response was better than we could have imagined, and it was a great chance to creatively address a concern we heard expressed in town (not cooking with fresh veggies or not knowing exactly how), using techniques we learned in class, and referencing artists we studied. Overall, it was a phenomenal class and I would strongly suggest reading up on Social Practices in Art (check out Darren O’Donnell’s Social Acupuncture)
Arden J. ‘16 and Kate D. ‘14
Anonymous asked: When is the best time to plan visit on campus?
If you can coming during term (fall or spring) you can visit a class, and you’ll get a much better sense of what Bennington’s community is like because everyone will be on campus.
Other than that, April is a very popular time to visit (because it’s decision making time for seniors and juniors are starting the process), so you might get a more relaxed, individualized experience in a different month.
And I think Bennington’s beautiful in all its seasons, but if you’re not into the cold, May or September might be the time for you.
Anonymous asked: I've heard a bit about the Plan, but I'm still not 100% sure what it is. Is it basically a student designed major, or is it more a thesis for a Bennington student's overall studies and you can have a traditional major? Branching off that question, what does it say they studied on a Bennington graduate's degree?
I’m not sure that it’s a case of either or.
At its basic level, the Plan is a student designed major with faculty guidance and support. But the way this major is designed is through Plan essays that involve a thesis or a question that holds your Bennington education together: what connections to do you make between the disciplines you study? What questions do you think about in all of your classes?
Within your Plan essay, you will usually outline one or two core disciplines in which you will concentrate your time, and then some supporting disciplines. These line up fairly well with majors and minors at other schools.
For instance, I “major” in music, and I’ve supported my studies with classes in literature and drama.
Your diploma can list your core discipline(s) (Music for me), or your Plan Title (Performance and Composition for me).
I hope that makes some sense. Shoot me an email if you want to talk about how it might work for you (email@example.com).
Anonymous asked: Moderately to severely important q: Say i was interested in doing a "gap semester" before starting college at bennington... the "semester" ends on December 6th, which is around when Bennington's first trimester ends. This "gap semester" is also a study abroad program for some people so it offers college classes with a normal amount of credits for half a college school year. If i wanted to delay my admission to Bennington only until field work term could i do that.. and still graduate in 4 years?
This sounds like a really cool and amazing program! That being said I do not know the particular program and would not want to give you misinformation. The best thing would be to call the admissions office at (802) 440-4312.
And that goes for all super-duper personal/specific questions. We love to answer them here on the blog but sometimes it’s just more helpful for you to talk to us on a one-on-one basis on the phone.
I know phone conversations can be super scary but I promise that we don’t bite!
Arden J. ‘16
Anonymous asked: Suppose I'm into music and singing, but I'm not intending to focus on it as my career path. Are there a lot of people like this at Bennington who are serious about music but not coinciding with their studies?
In fact, in my experience, a lot of the campus music culture is driven by non music students. Those of us who do study music have wayy too much music to do for class, and sometimes we need to have a different hobby.
But if you study science (for example), music is a great way to relieve some stress and have fun in your spare time.
And of course there’s a pretty big gray area between the two: people who study literature but take piano lessons, people who study theatre but take voice lessons, people who study biology but perform in Sage City Symphony - you get the idea.
Anonymous asked: Bennington is so lovely. I'm applying now but am disheartened because I don't think I'll be accepted on account of my 2.0 GPA. Do people with low GPA's ever get in? My SAT scores are high and I'm planning on submitting a portfolio of my poetry. I'm really passionate about what I do but I've had personal issues that have caused me to do not so well in high school but I think that Bennington would be perfect for me. Do you guys have any questions/thoughts? Have a lovely december day!
Your GPA (whatever it is) will have an impact on our decision, but so will everything else you send us. Nothing generates an automatic yes or no, but a low GPA will generate questions.
I would recommend getting in touch with your counselor to have a conversation about why your GPA is low and how you think that would be different at a place like Bennington. If you don’t know who your counselor is, give us a call (802-440-4312), and we’ll put you in touch.
Be honest and be yourself. We’ll listen.
Anonymous asked: Are there any thrift shops or large secondhand stores nearby?
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.
And of course, the trick with Goodwill is that the secret gems are the ones you aren’t looking for, like my friend’s pink Jesus-Shaped Magic 8 Ball (We call him Pink Jesus) and my roommate’s long beautiful winter coat.
However, in my personal opinion the best thrift shops are the end of term free piles found in all houses. Really cute nice stuff for FREE (I get really excited about free things). I got three new dresses and a pair of shoes from last year.
So I hope that answers your question, as well as providing completely unnecessary information I felt like talking about.
Arden J. ‘16
Anonymous asked: What effect does the weather at Bennington have on the quality of life on campus? I understand that it is quite cold. Do you find that people often have colds or is it easy to adjust to a Vermont kind of environment? I can't imagine that every new student at Bennington is used to living somewhere that is predominantly cold.
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:
Anonymous asked: Are pets ever allowed on campus and in the houses?
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
Anonymous asked: Hello :)! What a lovely blog you run. Your answers get me so pumped and happy! You guys are seriously so nice. I just wanted to ask, has there been any students doing FWT with some sort of medical field?
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.