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Monday, Apr 22, 2024

It’s spring cleaning time: our ins and outs list

As we trudge through the final week of February and see some glimmers of sunlight, it’s worth considering what intentional decisions we can make about how to spend the rest of the semester. What habits do we wish to leave behind in the winter and fall, and what lessons and goals do we wish to bring forth into the coming weeks? 

In other words, it’s spring cleaning time — what are our ins and outs for this semester?

In: Randomness.

The classic Middlebury routine is hunkering down during the week, seeing the weekend as a horizon, and letting loose and partying hard on Friday and Saturday. But simply living for the weekend is no true way to live. 

We implore you to blur the line between the week and weekend and have fun for yourself any day of the week, whether that be an impromptu karaoke night on a random Tuesday or ditching the Atwater parties to host a science fair on a Saturday. 

On the same line of spontaneity, venture outside your friend group. Ask a class friend to hang out outside of class. Make conversation with the people on the other side of your Atwater table. Dive into new things that interest you just for the sake of trying them. 

In: Gratitude.

Seek out the small moments of glory and joy in life, and try to acknowledge them. We can complain about the college and campaign for change — we often call out issues in our community and administration with our platform here — but there are parts of our lives here that are incredibly privileged. We can appreciate the quiet successes of day to day life here without detracting from the need to acknowledge systemic problems in the institution. Take joy in the occasions that give you life, and acknowledge the opportunities and people surrounding us with well-deserved gratitude.

In: Meaningful political engagement.

It is a historic time with the war in Gaza and the looming U.S. presidential election. Now — and always, for that matter — is an important time to read the news and discuss what is happening in the world and country in class and with your friends. As a member of the Middlebury community, you have access to guest talks on campus by expert voices. Vote in the upcoming election and encourage your peers to do so as well. Also, make your voice heard on campus and take the Middlebury Zeitgeist 6.0 survey, out this April. 

Out: Competitiveness and comparison.

To get to where we are today as Middlebury students we have all had to be driven and successful in our respective fields. This does not mean that we need to feel competitive and jealous of one anothers’ accomplishments. This spring, let us reject unnecessary comparisons and take each others’ successes as exciting momentum to propel us all forward.  

Out: Being late.

We are all on a schedule and have places to be. But if you agree to meet someone at a specific time, make a true effort to arrive punctually. We recognize the difference between running late for a meeting with a professor compared to a casual lunch with a friend, but being on time is an important skill to have, and shows respect for the other person’s time. Arriving 15 minutes late to everything won’t get you far in the real world. 

Before we let you go, here’s a list of some sillier “ins” and “outs” that we hope will resonate with you. 

Our “ins” are celebrating Leap Day (today, Feb. 29!), reading The Campus over a meal, decorating your living space in intentional ways, country music (whether you interpret that as Beyoncé or Zach Bryan), pizza bagels in Wilson Cafe and embracing fluctuations in the weather.

Our “outs” are over-enrollment and limited housing, food waste in the dining halls, astrology (controversial, we know) and sending your friends an excessive number of TikToks and Reels.

Whatever your personal ins and outs list would look like, we hope you find some inspiration and wisdom in our advice for this semester. Most importantly, we urge you to consider being intentional about the choices you make in the coming weeks and months — summer, and for some, graduation, will be here before you know it.

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