Tess Weitzner '18.5

Hometown: Sleepy Hollow, New York

Major: English and American Literatures, Spanish Minor

How did you spend your Febmester?

I spent the summer and fall after my high school graduation working four jobs in my hometown, and the freedom was glorious. Most mornings I worked as a barista for a mom-and-pop coffee shop, Lighthouse Coffee, that served energetic New York commuters. I also devoted some of my week to covering stories for a local newspaper, The Hudson Independent, and assisting a grant writer. At night, I exchanged my apron and pen for a leotard and a red clown nose. I instructed aerial silks, trapeze, acrobatics, unicycling, and tightwire at Westchester Circus Arts, a local circus school. I also had the pleasure of performing several shows as a solo artist and with the company’s youth troupe.

Given that writing and circus training were both disciplines I’d enjoyed high school, the luxury of having time to fully immerse myself in these areas was a rewarding gift. The takeaway that I hope others can remember from my story is not that Febs must run away with a circus or work four jobs, but that you can make this strange time your own. When else will you be presented with a canvas so blank?

How has being a Feb influenced your time at Middlebury?

I have found such joy in being a Feb! I began my time Middlebury feeling refreshed and excited to learn, and was immediately welcomed into a warm, vibrant, and incredibly close-knit community. The camaraderie holds true today, and if anything, it is even stronger. I feel supported by my classmates and the leaders who celebrated our arrival and guided us through orientation and our first semester. I’ve made close friends with both other Febs and September admits through classes, clubs, teams, and housing arrangements.

What advice do you have for prospective or incoming Febs?

Do not feel pressure to “figure out” your Febmester immediately, or at all. This is your time to begin a new project, think about what makes you happy, or just rest! I began my time with one simple job (barista-ing), and just kept building from there. Once at Midd, I recommend taking a class in a field you’ve never explored (or heard of!) before. Also, do not think that all of the September admits have perfectly settled into their niches, and that you must choose the right friends and extracurricular immediately. You can always meet new people and join new clubs or groups down the road.

“Tremendous things are in store for you! Wonderful surprises await you!” -Roald Dahl

Tess performing at a street festival in Tarrytown, New York 

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