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Monday, Feb 26, 2024

Passing the torch: Current first years welcome newly admitted students

As the snow melts and current Middlebury students gather on the quad to enjoy the Vermont spring sunshine, high school seniors around the world are receiving their college acceptance emails. This year was one of Middlebury’s most competitive admissions processes yet, and students have until May 6 to make a final decision. As the end of the semester approaches, the class of 2025 is wrapping up their first year of college and offers their reflections and wisdom for the classes of 2026(.5). 

Addie Morrison ’25 said that she wasn’t quite sure what to expect from her first year of college. When thinking of what a MiddKid is, many different labels came to mind, but Morrison said her image of an outdoorsy and spontaneous student body has held true. 

“I definitely expected people to be super outdoorsy, and I know a lot of people take the initiative and say ‘I’m going here, do you want to come?’ or “I’m going to be doing this,’” Morrison said. 

However, Nikky Sztachelski ’25 has had a different experience. Before coming to Middlebury, she connected with a family friend who assured her that there would be students with a wide variety of interests. 

“I kind of wasn’t expecting as many people to be outdoorsy,” Sztachelski said. “I’m not an outdoorsy person per se, and I remember talking to her [family friend] and she said she wasn’t the same way but there’s also a bunch of people who don’t [participate in outdoor activities].”

Elsa Mowers ’25 also has appreciated meeting a variety of students, and said that it has helped her perspective grow.

“Coming to Middlebury, I expected this type of college in rural Vermont to attract similar people,” Mowers said. “But, I have met people that hold vastly different beliefs and interests.”

Mowers also said that everyone seems to have a passion that gets them genuinely excited. “This unique passion that each student holds drives them to want to succeed here, in whichever way they define success.” 

Although she had some trouble registering for classes in the fall, Morrison said that she ultimately embraced taking a variety of unexpected classes. “Take classes that maybe you’re not expecting to like because some of the classes I’ve taken have been completely random, and I’ve really liked them,” she said. 

Sztachelski and Morrison both noted that they found a sense of community through sports teams but have also enjoyed exploring other community events through flyers and social media. Sztachelski also added that she was surprised by how small the campus community is, which she said was both a pro and a con. 

“You have your interactions with people, and you see them the next day and everywhere else from that point forward,” Sztachelski said. “I knew it was a small school but not that small.” 

Morrison also added that the size meant that she would see friendly faces all around campus. “I feel like if you say hi to someone one time, they’re going to recognize you and say hi again.”

Anna Krouse ’25.5 has only been on campus for a couple months, but has loved being a Feb. 

“I feel like jumping in halfway through the year had much less of an impact than I thought it would. I also feel like people here naturally are just very friendly and I feel like I’ve been able to meet so many great people in just the two months I’ve been here,” Krouse said.

She also suggested the prospective Febs embrace their semester off as an opportunity to explore something new. “It definitely can be daunting not going to school right away, but you can really turn your Febmester into anything you want!” 

Sztachelski cautioned incoming students to prepare themselves for high levels of walking, and to bring a bike or scooter if possible. 

Overall, Morrison said that she has found the student body to be very friendly and approachable. 

“It seems scary to talk to people, especially if you’re more introverted. It can be hard to approach people, but I think most of the time you’ll find that people are super nice and willing to help you out,” Morrison said.

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Mowers suggests that prospective students take time to reflect on what they want to get out of their college experience and consider the characteristics of different institutions.  

“For me, the vibrant but smaller student community, academic rigor and outdoor access initially attracted me to apply to Middlebury,” Mowers said. “Also, many people are willing to answer questions, so ask away.”

Charlie Keohane

Charlie Keohane ’24 (she/her) is an Editor at Large. She previously served as the SGA Correspondent and a Senior Writer.   

She is an environmental writing major and a psychology minor from Northern California. Outside of academics, Charlie is a Senior Admissions Fellow at the Middlebury Admissions Office. She also is involved with the women’s track team and hosts Witching Hour, a radio show on 91.1 WRMC. In Spring 2023, she studied abroad in Copenhagen, Denmark. In her free time, she enjoys hiking, watching Greta Gerwig movies, polar plunging, sending snail mail, and FaceTiming her rescue dog, Poppy.