True change begins with questioning, and I’ve made the most change in my thinking by playing a game of Why? The rules are quite simple; I think of anything and I ask “why?” Then I ask “why?” again…and again. There’s no way to win the game, but it would be devastating to win, anyway. Asking “why?” takes the mind infinitely deeper into itself while simultaneously pulling it to every foreign corner of the universe. This game seems to be one programmed into mankind’s hard drive, for I certainly can’t take credit as the creator.


Socrates is attributed with creating this game, formally known at the Socratic method. He played this game to death due to how important it is to the progression of humans. At a certain point, the Socratic method collects itself into one conclusion; humans are grounded in intuition, not fact. We do not have a morsel of truth, nothing we can prove.

from an essay by Blaine F.

A knowledgeable person learns from the world around them, but primarily learns in an empirically based, systematic gathering of facts. A knowledgeable person is well read and has had academic success; usually memorizing facts well. However, facts can and will change. Facts can change due to politics, funding, or simply being proven wrong by more modern methods of scientific examination.

Wisdom, on the other hand, builds and grows. It is not proven wrong, it is never outdated, and is rarely discarded. Simply memorizing a collection of facts is not knowledge nor wisdom, leaving one unable to utilize either. Mere cold facts about subjects such as human sciences and ethics, will not be effective— there must be reason, morality, and wisdom as well.

from an essay by Lily H. on the question “Is knowledge the same as wisdom?”

Works in acrylic paint and charcoal by Savanna R.

Once I told darkness
You really are such a dick.
I heard no reply
from Heidi K’s poem “To Darkness”

I have sung in a vocal jazz ensemble for three years now. When we are working on our blend, a question we frequently ask ourselves is, “Where does my note fit into the chord?” This question has changed my life immensely. In the literal sense, it has made singing in a group much easier. Understanding the structure of the chord you are a part of helps you understand what your role is. Knowing whether you have the third of a chord or the seventh can help you figure out whether you should sing loudly or back off a bit. The third is important, and will help others tune, while the seventh should be subtler. It adds nuance. While the question of where my note fits has helped me musically, it has also had figurative significance in my life.


It has served as a good way for me to look at ecosystems when I am studying science. By this I mean that I have noticed many similarities between the way notes fill specific roles in chords and the way organisms fill ecological niches. For instance, two notes may be dissonant, yet a single note can resolve the chord. When singing in an ensemble, it can be helpful to know that your note resolves the chord, because you know that in that particular moment, it is your job to bring the entire group together. This situation reminds me of the way keystone species hold together the structure of an ecosystem. If the keystone species in an ecosystem is removed, the whole system is likely to crumble or drastically change, just as a chord is changed when the resolving note is removed.

from an essay by Myka M.
When I was a child of about ten or so, my family took me abroad for a year in Europe and the UK. We stayed in Jericho, Oxford, where I attended a British elementary school with a loose Church of England religious affiliation, and we toured a few countries with a slight emphasis on major cities, museums, and landmarks. Over the course of this, I was exposed to a massive spread of what I will call “agreed-upon” or “condensed” beauty. Meaning, this painting is one of those that must be displayed for the public, that must be rare, that says something poignant and edifying or ratifying. Or this composition of stacked stone, or marble filigree or what have you, has not rotted away and its preservation should be rightly beheld. Sometimes, this book’s literary tone of voice is one that should echo in the heads of each student, man, woman… and I am not protesting that. I have a great appreciation for what my eyes have captured, and these constructions of ancient labor, or typewriter clicks and oils, have an undisputed place in it.  
This ordained sense of beauty is not at all bad, yet as I grew up I began to find it too constraining a space, too compacted a world. That beauty should be a certain shape of flesh upon the skull, a certain arching ceiling, or a pre-approved aesthetic is not what my experience had shown me. These “condensed” sights are not useless: they gave me a framework for my own understanding of beauty to grow—a sort of mental trellis.  
So, while I can be taken with rich carpets and the wrought wonder of lamps, chairs, silverware—I will become equally, if not more, enthralled with the slope of light pooling in the edges of a glass cup, a sudden prismatic scatter across my own skin in a sharper sunbeam, or the bare body of a tree debarked by senescence. 
—from an essay by Anna P.

Ceramics by Naomi I.

Hand-marbled paper, gouache, and ink on paper by Sophie B.

During Field Work Term, I would absolutely love to work with the Pittsburgh Pirates, a Major League Baseball team. In 2011, I fell in love with baseball, specifically Pirates baseball, and haven’t stopped since. I watch, listen to, or follow every game, gathering information about every pitcher, batter, and umpire that I can. The game just fascinates me, and one dream I have is to work in the front office for the Pirates, researching players and drawing up trades. I also enjoy the broadcasting side of baseball, and I shadowed the voice of the Pirates a couple of years ago. Walking around the stadium, I felt so intrigued and connected. Baseball frustrates me sometimes, because I do not play it, and nothing I yell at the TV screen during a rough moment makes any difference. However, if I could work in the organization I love, I would have the potential to make an impact with my ideas, which would validate my passion for the game.
—Phoebe T’s idea for a Field Work Term

During Field Work Term, I would absolutely love to work with the Pittsburgh Pirates, a Major League Baseball team. In 2011, I fell in love with baseball, specifically Pirates baseball, and haven’t stopped since. I watch, listen to, or follow every game, gathering information about every pitcher, batter, and umpire that I can. The game just fascinates me, and one dream I have is to work in the front office for the Pirates, researching players and drawing up trades. I also enjoy the broadcasting side of baseball, and I shadowed the voice of the Pirates a couple of years ago. Walking around the stadium, I felt so intrigued and connected. Baseball frustrates me sometimes, because I do not play it, and nothing I yell at the TV screen during a rough moment makes any difference. However, if I could work in the organization I love, I would have the potential to make an impact with my ideas, which would validate my passion for the game.

—Phoebe T’s idea for a Field Work Term

Ceramics work by Autumn H.

Artifacts from applications to Bennington College

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