Neha Sharma '18.5

Neha Sharma

Hometown: Guwahati, India

Major: Political Science and Economics double major 

Year at Middlebury: Junior Feb

How did you spend your Febmester?

Starting my Febmester was both exciting and terrifying, as is usually the case. There are so many possibilities, and for me the Febmester Resources page on the admissions website was a great place to start.

The first part of my gap semester was spent traveling around Europe with my sister and visiting friends. I spent part of August and most of September travelling. In September, I returned to India and started working in an organic farm in Rumtek, Sikkim. Sikkim is a Himalayan state and the only state in India that is nearly 100% certified organic. The organization I worked with was the Sikkim Social Welfare Youth Association.

There were, of course, times when I felt lonely. This was my first time living completely alone but I am glad to say that even the loneliness I sometimes faced came with a sense of independence. I had lived a relatively sheltered life before I left for the high school in the UK so it was really nice to finally take some time and explore my own country and its vast, eclectic culture. 

How has being a Feb influenced your time at Middlebury?

There is no better way to say this- I absolutely love being a Feb at Middlebury. Not only are you actually friends with most people in your class, but there is an unparallled sense of enthusiasm that can only be achieved once you take a handful of 18-ish-year-olds, force them to spend a couple of months figuring out life on their own and then say, “okay, now go do college.” We are welcomed into this wonderful community by a group of amazing feb orientation leaders who see us through an equally amazing orientation program, complete with a day-trip to the Snow Bowl involving free skiing lessons and/or lodge yoga!

What advice do you have for prospective or incoming Febs?

Something I do wish people had warned me about is that as someone who wanted to study Chinese, the beginner’s class wasn’t available to me in the spring and I had to wait a semester to start taking it. This is the case with a number of languages offered here but some languages have accelerated programs (such as French) so if you really don’t want to wait in order to learn a new language, it’s best to check ahead with the school!

Yak at Lake Tsongmo, Sikkim (12,400 ft).

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