Paige Guarino '18.5

Hometown: Hopkinton, Massachusetts

Year at Middlebury: Junior Feb

Major: Psychology Major, Theater Minor

How has being a Feb impacted your time at Middlebury?

I think entering Middlebury as a Feb is the best possible way to start your college experience. The Feb community is like an instant family network. You quickly realize that though you’re all coming from a wide variety of gap semester experiences, you’re going through the same nerve-wracking and exciting transition upon entering Middlebury together. The small size of the incoming class creates a bond and support system that is invaluable, especially during that first semester. The bond extends to Febs from other years too! I still get excited when I meet someone interesting from another year and find out that they’re also a Feb.

How did you spend your Febmester?

I lived and studied abroad at an international university in Switzerland! It gave me the opportunity to learn purely for the sake of learning, which was refreshing after several years defined by the core curriculum at my high school. I took lot of interesting subjects I never would have been exposed to otherwise (e.g. one of my classes was about Viennese opera, and at the end of the course we got to travel to Vienna and actually see one!).

The experience helped me get in touch again with why I love learning. It enriched my inner curiosity and allowed me to enter Middlebury with a revitalized perspective on what I want to get out of my education and how I can make the most of it. Living with people from many different backgrounds was also an adventure; it opened my mind, taught me how to improvise and take things as they come, and gave me a sense of self confidence in my ability to problem solve.  

What advice do you have for incoming or prospective Febs?

If you’re thinking of applying to be a Feb, or if you’ve been accepted as a Feb and aren’t sure whether or not to go for it, take the plunge. A Febmester presents an amazing, unusual opportunity to deeply explore things that matter to you, regardless of what you chose to do. Once you get to campus, you will become  part of a family and support system that will carry on throughout your college experience.

If you’re already an incoming Feb, congratulations! You are about to have an incredible experience, which includes both your Febmester and the thrilling moment when you first enter campus in February. I encourage you to get excited and informed about Midd, but don’t worry about figuring out everything in advance, or even during your first semester on campus. You don’t have to play ‘catch-up’ as a Feb; you’re beginning a 4 year experience right on time. Give yourself the time and space to explore and figure things out.

"All new students jumped into a glacial river to celebrate the end of orientation." 

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