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Wednesday, Apr 24, 2024

Zeitgeist 3.0

The pandemic introduced a new variable to our data this year, one that fundamentally shifted the rhythm of Middlebury students’ existence. While previous Zeitgeist surveys asked students about belonging and how identities coalesce, this year we pondered what tethers Middlebury students together — even when we’ve been asked to keep our distance. 

Separated by masks and unable to congregate in the ways we know, it can be difficult to get a read on the pulse of the Middlebury community. Did the policies enacted to protect our physical health affect our interpersonal relationships? How many hours per day do students spend looking at a screen? Has the pandemic changed sexual behavior? Does Middlebury feel like home? 

In the third annual Zeitgeist survey, a project that interweaves data and the written word to paint a picture of life at Middlebury, our theme is “connection.” With a 43% response rate, the results represent a cross-section of the student experience, though some student voices namely students of color are underrepresented in these results. 

Though the struggles of this year have been collective, every individual has learned, languished, and lost differently. As a world beyond the pandemic seems more possible than ever, we hope these Zeitgeist results provide insight about what we should carry into a post-pandemic Middlebury and the things we should leave behind.