- Class: Freshman
- Major: English
- Gender: M
- High School: Hong Kong International School
- Transfer Student: N
Middlebury does not exaggerate about its academic rigor or its dedicated professors. The incredible learning that occurs is certainly one of the school's most impressive aspects. However, the environment is absolutely a double-edged sword. What may appear to be a gorgeous, vibrant refuge from the hustle and bustle of civilization in the fall and spring can also become vicious, bone-chilling loneliness during the five-month-long winter. Similarly, a small campus of approximately 2350 means faces are familiar and the community is intimate, but also means one has no chance from escaping from undesired company, or from the questions of a professor in class. Students from cities will not at all understand the feeling of sheer isolation until they visit. The College can easily become a bubble, even from the town five to ten minutes away, if one does not make the effort to walk there.
With the exception of some large introductory lecture classes, professors almost always know your name. I call some of my professors by their first names. Most are very willing to meet outside of class to discuss your work and perhaps even chat - for example, I recently met with my creative writing teacher at the Grille, the school cafe, to have coffee and talk about my short stories. Studying is most definitely a common theme at Middlebury. The workload is, for the most part, very demanding - point in case, I was assigned a 15- to 20-page analytical paper my first semester at Middlebury. Late-night sessions are not uncommon, especially for procrastinators. Of course, one can skim or even disregard assigned reading, but the ***ulative load of all classwork still serves to create a sizable amount. The academic requirements are not especially bothersome. For the most part, they're easy to fulfill - many, if not most, can be completed by the end of one's sophomore year without trying.
The campus leans mostly to the left, though there is also a strong presence of Northeasterners (many recruits) that come from old money and conservative values. For the most part however, the largely liberal population, though usually white and privileged, is tolerant and even worldly. As an Asian attending Middlebury, I don't ever feel particularly singled out. Moreover, the international population is strong and tightly-knit, which provides what may normally be a "marginalized" population a community to bond around. However, the matter of the fact is, you will find ***s and bigots wherever you go, and Middlebury is no exception. I have heard the occasional juvenile racist or gay joke, but that is not to say that students are actually racist or homophobic. Truthfully, I find the majority of students very accepting and likable. Though not without its cliques, Middlebury seems to have a degree of social fluidity I have not seen at my high school. For example, I would call my hall floor - the Dungeon - a prime example of such diversity. We are the most ragtag, unlikely group of friends, including an obsessively-clean perfectionist, a juvenile delinquent, a Jewish New Yorker, a Chinese international, a Texan, an outdoorsy skier, a country-club-type lacrosse recruit, a worldly diplomatÕs child, and a Vermont local. Middlebury's student body, though boasting a small politically active and dedicated population, on a whole can be characterized as politically apathetic. That is not to say, however, that the students are ignorant - on the contrary, most are well-informed, but as they are stuck in the idyllic Vermont bubble, they are simply unaffected by any of these issues.
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