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.
I have a confession to make: I do not have it all together.
Sure, I’ve been coordinating my outfits expertly this term and have been flossing my teeth pretty regularly but my confession stands firm. Because recently, 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.
Basically, I don’t know what I am studying.
While Alan and I discussed how my Plan is in shambles, he read me this excerpt from his:
“The intellectual community, I believe, has been chasing its own tail just as I have, and requires other methods outside of strictly defined academic documents to find satisfying truths within. A good script contains many truths and its malleability is celebrated as different directors reappropriate it. We find solace within a play’s catharsis by experiencing pain so profound it transcends the words it was made of.”
I friggin’ love this quote. It gives me hope. It contains self-reflection and realization and is just plain beautiful.
A Plan in shambles is a fine place to be here at Bennington. I’m not worried (well, maybe I am a little bit…) because my dissatisfaction with my Plan means that I am critically thinking about making the most of my education. I am not following a path that I don’t believe is best for me, even if it’s a path I previously created for myself.
I have learned many things here: how to operate a camera, the art of essay writing, the history of theater, just to name a few. However, these things are taught everywhere. The most important skills that I have learned from Bennington are to think, re-think, reflect, and take action. Not because someone else is requiring that from me, but because I demand it of myself.
I couldn’t have learned that anywhere else.
All the best,
email me if you want to talk about being lost: email@example.com
Here’s the problem:
Bennington doesn’t have a mathematical equation that we can plug your scores into and get your financial aid package. That would be nice. But, it would also mean that all students would be judged solely on their test scores. Which isn’t really how it works here. Students up for aid are looked at holistically because an SAT score really gives us no information on how you’ll fit in here. Your chances of getting a larger financial aid package increase the more excited you are about Bennington and the more passionately you pursue your own interests. If you still need additional info give the Financial Aid office a ring at 802-440-4325.
All the best,
We have a raucous handful of students that work in comedy - incredibly smart people that always leave me in stitches. Bennington offers a couple of outlets, most notably a bimonthly open mic night. Last year, some students started a comedy evening on one of our house porches - very well attended, but I’m not quite sure if it’s still up and running. And while there have been murmurs of interest in a comedy/improv troupe, nothing has really gotten off the ground (in my time here, anyways…). But know that if you have any desire to start a group like this on campus, it is absolutely feasible. Interest varies from term to term, but there’s almost always something in the works that culminates with a wonderful and unusual evening of funny, funny people. There are plenty of student contacts that would love to sit down with you and dream up some new experience for comedy@bennington.
Remember though: there’s always something underneath. I’ll leave you with a radio project by my dear friend and fellow intern Emily Gaynor on what it means to be a funny woman. Enjoy!
- Jeremy ‘16
This is do-able only if you don’t plan on making any friends or ever doing laundry.
Firstly, you can technically only take 18 credits your first term. Unless your goal is saving the world from imminent destruction and the only way to do it is taking 20 credits, it will probably be pretty hard to convince your advisor on that one.
Breadth in your course schedule is great, but depth of study is also required. Taking that many credits (especially in your first term), leaves little time to actually devote yourself to each subject that you are studying.
Additionally I will say that in the past I have packed challenging and time consuming classes into my schedule and looking back, I wish I had waited to take these classes until I had the time and capacity to delve into the classes deeper. Sometimes I simply was not ready to take the classes or handle the course load that I had signed up for.
Wait a little bit. At least until after your first term. You will be busy with plenty of things both in and outside the classroom room. Trust me.
Solid advice from our correspondent in Chicago. I echo her sentiment.
Don’t pack much. Really. Truly. Please for everyone’s sake pack as few clothes as possible. I wouldn’t expect a vast influx of t-shirts, but please don’t overpack! On the sweaters and jackets, it really depends - maybe late September, maybe October, definitely by November. You will feel it when the time comes.
Do, however, bring lots of lamps! Most rooms don’t have an overhead light so lamps are essential. That being said, our local Home Depot, Goodwill, Sears, and Walmart (all located very close to campus) have an amazing selection of lamps that you can buy upon your arrival at Bennington.
Also, a friendly PSA from your local firefighter: Christmas lights are a fire hazard.
-Glennis & Emily
We have a traditional grading system but students must opt into taking their classes for grades. There’s a range of reasons why a student might choose to take their classes for grades. I do because I find that it’s a good motivator for me. Regardless of whether students choose to take grades, their professor will still write a detailed evaluation of their performance in class. So, no matter what you choose, your work will be thoroughly assessed.
Each professor conducts finals for their class a little differently, some require a paper, a project, an exam or maybe even another thing that I can’t even fathom. I guess what I’m really trying to say is that you don’t need to receive grades to complete a culminating assignment for your class.
Here are some examples of what the Monday morning shift is working on:
Alan: I am writing sociolinguistics paper about the reality TV show Polyamory: Married & Dating and what happens when an unconventional relationship structure is brought into the viewer’s home. It’ll probably end up being 60 pages long….
Alana: Coincidentally, I am also studying polyamorous researchers and their bias towards relationship dynamics in my Human Natures class. And for my Rethinking Education class I’m trying to design a course without using a syllabus.
Arden: For my Historical Grievance and Retrospective Redress (4000 level history class), I am doing many case studies about how different organizations and classrooms teach the Holocaust and other state sponsored genocides. Tonight I’m having a dramatic reading of scenes from the plays Information for Foreigners by Griselda Gamboro and An Investigation by Peter Weiss, then I will lead a discussion on the role of the bystander in state sponsored genocide. Basically, my case studies have led to me trying out my own lessons.
Alex: Lucas Marten and I have been writing a comedy variety show since Field Work Term and story boarding it. Now we’re shooting it for our Intro to Video class.
Emily: In Big: Exploring Large Scale Photography I’ve been working on creating photographs and collages that explore personal as well as mass produced ideas of domestic fantasy. For my final I’ve made two inkjet prints (one 22x30” and one 22x40”) and one oldy time analog b&w self portrait at 30x30”.
I am the girl who, in high school, when asked about her test scores, would get crazy eyes and go on a rant about how test scores are a private thing that a person should choose to disclose, not be mandated to. I didn’t want to contribute to the uber-competitive atmosphere of my high school by comparing scores.
Still though, I whispered the number to my best friend and quietly beamed to myself about the score that I was proud of. That’s just a little bit about me.
It’s okay to be proud of your scores, or disappointed, or nervous or any other feelings you might have about them. Because in the end, I hope everyone realizes that, a number truly has no effect on who you are as a person and has even less of an ability to represent the whole of you.
This is why Bennington does not require ACT/SAT scores as a part of the application. Because your score is not an indicator of how well you will do in college and at Bennington specifically. Because I am more than a number and YOU are more than a number.
So… I didn’t really answer your question. #SorryNotSorry
Hello incoming first-year students!
You have a wonderful Facebook community in which to ask questions! Sometimes the blog inbox gets inundated with questions and we have a harder time getting to everything. But on the Facebook group, there’s a way better chance you’ll get a more immediate answer.
It’s scary not to stealthily travel under an anonymous identity! We know! But, at the same time, we’ll be much more able to answer your questions in the Facebook group, especially the more practical/logistical stuff.
P.S. If you have no idea what I’m talking about send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org and he can hook you up with the 2018 admitted students group.