Glennis, a pleasant gluten-free (not by choice, mind you) midwesterner sits perched on her chair, sipping from her mug. Turned away from her computer, it is apparent she is not about to finish that blog post she is supposedly working on; still, she asks me for help. “Is this too sassy, Alan?” I only make it sassier, Glennis, whenever you ask me that question. Still, I’m certain I’ll read it over her shoulder in a few minutes just as she will for me.
Glennis is distracted; Eliana — an international student from London — is reading an article about two irresponsible parents who named their children “Aryan Nation” and Adolf Hitler”. They discuss Eliana’s hyphenated last name. What does a name say about you? The choices our parents make seem to follow until death; Eliana’s name is still a struggle for passports and airports. I can only image the difficulties Aryan faces.
Later tonight, Eliana will hang out with her friends in Kilpat house (there’s a concert going on in the common room, but she doesn’t know if she’ll go). Glennis will stop by a Christmas party in Noyes and a goodbye party in Sawtell, but her night will mainly be dominated by design: she has to make a chair by Sunday. I’d like to work too, but I will be hosting the aforementioned Christmas party.
With a question so big, sometimes you have to answer it by being extremely small. We’re just three students, but in a way I think this says what you want to know. The social scene is all over the place in the sense that it is what you make of it (party or work with friends…I favor the later). But we get along (for the most part) and cliques dissipate during the day because there is mutual respect for a diversity of lifestyles, and because everybody here has something to say.
As promised dear readers, here is the second installment of A Day in the Life, told through the lens of mealtimes. Here was my Tuesday:
7:00am: Wake up. They say that waking up is hard to do. They were right.
7:20am: Breakfast (pictured above, that’s me on the right!). Look at those sunshiney faces, ready for a big day at school!
8:10-10:00am: Nuts and Bolts acting class. Our professor, Jenny Rohn casts us in two person scenes that we work on for the entire term. My partner and I are doing a scene from Tony Kushner’s Angels in America (yep, the mentally deranged, sex-starved, pill popping housewife scene. Guess who I play?)
12:00pm: lunch at the student center. Had to eat quickly to finish up some work, so we went to studes for a speedy meal.
2:10-4:00pm: Recent Fiction from Pakistan and India literature class. Right now we’re reading Mohammed Hanif’s A Case of Exploding Mangoes. It’s described as a “darkly comic debut about love, betrayal, tyranny, family, and a conspiracy trying its damnedest to happen” by the book’s back cover. So fun!
4:00-5:30pm: Downtime, homework, Hulu watching, music listening etc.
5:30: Dinner. ‘nuf said.
7:00pm: Go to the darkroom to develop some film I shot over Thanksgiving break for my Photography Foundation class. For my final I’m working on a project that explores the difference between the amount of space that men and women occupy in both public and private settings. Cool beans!
10:00pm- Go home, alternately do homework and distract myself from doing homework. Go to SLEEP.
Good Gloostenfῠrg to you,
All students graduate with a Bachelor of Liberal Arts degree.
But wait, you ask, I’ve heard so much about the Plan process, each student’s individual journey, all the exceptional different departments that Bennington has to offer and every student graduates with….. a Bachelor of Liberal Arts? What?
Fear not, gentle soul. A student can still study discourse and playwriting; the intersection of gender and pop culture; approaches to medical systems; how design affects communities through psychology and anthropology; sustainability in food production; the experience and expression of the mystical sublime or anything in between. Also, your diploma will state the disciplines of your concentration.
I suppose one could be fret that a Bachelor of Liberal Arts would provide too much freedom and by not specifying a major one would achieve breadth but not depth in their work. But the Plan process wouldn’t letcha get away with that. Bennington students answer a central question by examining it through a variety of disciplines. Looking at the question through multiple lenses promotes the creation of serious and meaningful work. As far as the post-Bennington job hunt goes, our degree offers versatility; we’re not constrained by a single category and are therefore are an asset in the workplace.
In short, despite the uniformity of our degrees, your plan will be specific and individualized. Frankly, I think there just isn’t enough space on the diploma to include it all.
Sure! Yes! Anything you’d like to submit, we’d love to receive! Like I always say, we are interested in seeing who you are through the most well rounded perspective possible.
~ Ananda ‘16
As long as you need. I took a class here called “Aphorisms” that was entirely about single sentences that could change how you understand the world (“No snowflake in an avalanche ever feels responsible.” and “Don’t trust your heart, it wants your blood.” are two favorites by Stanislaw Lec). So if you can do it in a sentence, do it. If it takes seven pages, we’ll read it. If you choose to come here, this will be the first in a long line of simultaneously useful and useless responses to questions that use the word “supposed to.” So, you’re welcome and sorry: you do you!
Yes absolutely! That’s actually exactly what I did before I came here. I uploaded my photography to the portfolio section because I thought it would offer a better, more well rounded picture of myself to the admissions team. Adding something creative to your repertoire can be a really great way to compliment an application which could otherwise feel a little removed or two-dimensional. We always love to see what prospective students are into, regardless of their intention to continue those particular interests here at Bennington. Besides, you never know! I came here as a psych and lit student and now I’ve just recently decided to re-integrate photography back into my academics after not having done anything photo related since my senior year in high school. The more information you give us about who you are, the better understanding we’ll have of your potential here at Bennington! So yes! Please send us your beautiful photography, we would love to see it.
Yes absolutely! Send us your snails! Er… snail mail!
Tell him that he can send it in to this address:
Bennington College Office of Admissions
1 College Drive
Bennington VT, 05201 USA
And don’t forget your stamp! (Extra points if it’s snail related)
~ Ananda ‘16
Contemplating all the work we’ve encountered here at Bennington - in and out of the classroom - we decided to compile some of the work that gave us pause.
Alan suggests Craftsmanship by Virginia Woolf
Virginia Woolf articulates an enormous amount about the complexities of language (which is of particular interest to me), but rather than explaining solely through reason, she demonstrates by simply writing beautifully.
Carlos’s pick Slowness by Todd Williams and Billie Tsien
This photo is glorious, infuriating and thoroughly thought-provoking.
Sarah says Sergi Eisenstein’s Methods of Montage is a must read.
Eisenstein explains the effect of visual association on narrative. Its the most intuitive, human, process but hearing it articulated so clearly is earth shattering. Total inception.
Jeremy tells y’all to listen to Copland’s Piano Variations.
Just listen to it.
Jeremy would also suggest you all come visit Bennington, go to our library, and ask for Sarah Matusek’s devised theater piece Nome de Guerre.
She’s a brilliant theater artist that graduated Bennington College last year. Student work is alive and well here! :-)
Ananda suggests Gish Jen’s short story Birthmates
The story really exemplifies the concept of re-structuring short fiction in a way which centers the story on the character within the setting, not the setting surrounding the character. By delving into the human motivation of the main character, Jen conveys a story which is both resonant and compelling.
The Monday Afternoon Crew