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Saturday, Feb 4, 2023

The most important things we learned this semester

The close of the semester can be a hectic time. Faced with a whirlwind of exams, papers and projects, it is easy to get caught up in the mayhem of trying to finish out the semester strong. The allure of the “A” is mighty, and it can make it easy to forget why we’re all actually here: to learn. So, as a student body, what did we actually learn this semester?

 “I learned how important religious literacy is,” said Josh Glucksman ’24, in reference to his experience in a comparative religion class. 

Despite the amount of time we spend in the classroom, there are many opportunities to learn on campus outside of the academic buildings. For example, Glucksman noted that he has made use of this experience extensively throughout the semester in a setting other than his class. 

“One way that I was able to live this learning, in the truest sense, was by moving into the interfaith house,” Glucksman said. “I regularly had conversations about faith, god and metaphysics, and heard different answers to some of life's most profound questions: Where do we come from? Where are we going? Who are we?” 

Similarly, Elizabeth Rightsmire ’24.5 and Lauren Clarke ’24.5 experienced their most valuable learning through their living situations on campus and in their social lives.

“[I’m] living in a single dorm for the first time, and deciding to go abroad in the spring,” Rightsmire said. 

She discovered a newfound sense of independence that she says is the most important thing she’s learned this semester. 

“This lesson has changed how I view myself,” she explained.

“The most important thing that I learned this semester was how to balance taking personal time with seeing others,” Clarke said. “I learned this mostly from being sink-mates with someone who enjoys interacting with others for more time than I do, as well as having multiple structured times to interact with people weekly.” 

Mei Dwyer-Frattalone ’24 also learned something about balance. “This semester, I learned more about the importance of choosing battles to fight,” she said. 

Dwyer-Frattalone explained why this was an important lesson for her to learn. “As an activist, I can't fight for every cause, and to prevent activist burnout, I had to choose which projects I had enough energy for,” she concluded. 

For Sylvie Shure ’24.5, rediscovering all that Middlebury has to offer its students opened her up to a whole new world.

“The most important thing I learned this semester was how to take advantage of the resources available to Middlebury students, like Midd2Midd and New England Review to name a couple,” Shure said.

“My Midd experience has been much richer since I’ve started getting involved with the community more deeply. I’ve met new people and learned so much about the industries I’m interested in. Middlebury students have such good access to resources,” Shure added.

Although this time of year is busy at Middlebury, it can be extremely rewarding to consider what you actually learned, where you learned it and how you learned it. Doing so may contribute to even more meaningful experiences in the future and ultimately enrich the learning you do at Middlebury. So what was the most important thing you learned this semester?

Editor’s Note: Sylvie Shure is an opinions editor for The Campus.


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