Jimmy Wong ‘09.5 wins Price is Right

Watch the full episode video here. And yes, his Midd friends Adam Levine and Dan Neslusan rush the stage.

Jimmy won $30,000 in prizes including a car. But hey, he might do something other than keep his winnings and give some to the government in taxes…

Only thing better would be if Bob Barker were there singing “There’s only one Middlebury, hey hey!”

What happens when Middlebury student goes on Jeopardy

She responds:

Hey, what happened to MiddBlog?

I got an email from a friend titled: “Confused.” It read: “Why did MiddBlog die? Hipsters?”

Ha. Not at all. There comes a time when things naturally end. Quite simply, there weren’t students to continue the blog this fall. A fade-to-black it is then.

Or maybe not. I’m wondering if there might be room for this space to be something else for Middlebury. I like thinking about the idea of how Middlebury’s largest contingent is not on campus. If there’s anything I’ve learned since graduation, it’s that alumni span the globe and do amazing things. And it’s quite a family of relatives you knew you had, but have never met.

These lost Midd relatives are not just for career advice or to find a social circle when you move to a new city. Some of the young-ish alumni recently lost a Middlebury great – Donovan Dickson ’11. And alumni spanning seven years or more came out of the woodwork to grieve and support one another. The tragedy aside, there was a moment where you could feel a living and breathing community come together in text messages, emails, calls, FB posts. Powerful stuff.

It makes me think I should open this space to alumni to share, convene, and sometimes even grieve. But I don’t want to force it. I won’t write frequently, but if you have something to say, you should drop me a line. I’d love to hear from you.

A letter to young alumni and reframing giving

As Middlebury counts down the hours to the end of fiscal year, the rush is on to get Middlebury alumni to give money (deadline is midnight tonight). I’ve long seen a tension between young alumni and the school on this issue. Middlebury needs high alumni participation in giving. Some young alumni feel put off by calls to give when they are paying off debt from their time at Middlebury and are maybe struggling as young professionals. Then there’s a whole set up of the senior class gift and how early participation means long-term giving. It goes on.

Just yesterday, I saw my classmate Sam Libby ‘09.5 post a letter to Facebook (see below). In it he addresses specifically the “bitterness” of young alumni and makes an argument for why we should give. Continue reading

Middlebury Class of 2016: Accepted, rejected, waitlisted

Middlebury’s acceptance, rejection, and waitlist letters have gone out and the class of 2016 is coming together. Below is a look at how high schools seniors react to the news. First, acceptances:

https://twitter.com/#!/berylcoulter/status/186075604926464000

https://twitter.com/#!/alejandra_gil/status/186105469113339905

https://twitter.com/#!/Adriana_Caba/status/186093984341430274

Continue reading

Life Skills: Renting an Apartment

Life Skills is a series of posts by former MiddBlog lead editors. J-term is ending, so we’re drawing this series to a close. Clearly, not many students are going to go out and put our advice into action immediately (except maybe you graduating febs!), but know that these posts remain here as a resource to come back to or as a place to start thinking about all these post-grad variables. As I said in my first post, this is a good time to “wean yourself off the good life.” Hope you’ve enjoyed the series and love to hear about what else you’d like from grads on MiddBlog. -Ryan Kellett ‘09.5

So, you’re FINALLY moving out of your childhood room, huh? Nah, just teasing. For some, ma and pa’s house is a great place to live (not kidding) regardless if you have a job or not. But I’m assuming you’ve made the call that you want to move into a place of your own (and not a dorm room) and that you’re most likely in a city some kind. First, congrats! Renting your own place is one of the quintessential “growing up” milestones. Only one small thing — no one ever told you how to go through this process.

Oh, your apartment has a communal swimming pool, right?

Under Pressure

My own experience is one of always having to find a place to stay under pressure. My advice: don’t put yourself in a situation in which you have to find a place in mere days or even weeks. The best search is one where you can go at your pace, do your research, and feel comfortable committing to a lease. As such, you should try to buy yourself some time to go through the apartment search you want to go through. Ways to do that: stay with friends (but don’t overstay), stay at a short-term group house, stay with friends of family or family (for rent or not), airbnb, or house sit for a bit. All those tricks you pulled out for intern housing over the summer? Use ’em again here. It’s not glamourous but this you might have to rely on the kindness of others until you can find your way apartment-hunting. Some say it’s a right of passage to live somewhere really bad before getting what you want, but I’d attempt to avoid it.

Getting started

Reality check: that dream apartment is not a mere click away on craigslist (or padmapper). Like most things, looking online is a natural way to solve your problem. But I’d caution that it’s not the only way. Just like getting a job, strategies abound: Facebook, workplace, network, etc.  Continue reading

Life Skills: Get on the Road to Financial Security

Read Brian Fung’s post last week on digital productivity, and check out all the “Life Skills” posts (an ongoing J-term series from previous MiddBlog editors).

by Brian Fung

You don’t have to be an economics major to know that achieving financial independence takes hard work and discipline, particularly if you find yourself living in a city with few support networks after graduation. In these situations, even a little advance prep can help. Here’s how to get on the road to financial security when you’re just starting out.

via flickr / alles-schlumpf

Get everything on the table

Before making any big decisions, it’s helpful to assemble the bits and pieces of your financial life into a single picture. Last week, I mentioned Mint.com — a free online tool that tastefully displays, among other things, how much you have in your checking and savings accounts, the balance on your credit card, and any other debts you hold. Once you sign up with Mint and populate the app with your financial information, new transactions get added and categorized automatically. Mint helps you track where your money is coming from, where it goes and, most importantly, how your spending patterns change over time — all with snazzy charts and graphs to help you understand.

If giving up your personal data makes you skittish, Mint is owned and operated by Intuit, the tax-prep company behind programs like Quicken. Mint can’t make transactions on your behalf, and only reads back to you what you’d find on your various bank websites if you were to log in there separately. Still, whether you should sign up depends on how highly you trust companies like these in the first place, and that’s something for you to decide.

Take willpower out of the equation

The biggest obstacle to saving is often our own selves. Putting cash under the mattress is a struggle — it’s inconvenient, there are bills to be paid now, there are things I want now, and so on. But saving doesn’t have to be an uphill battle.

Instead, consider automating your personal finances. That means setting up a system of rules with your bank(s) to manage your money — like a computer program for your income that you can set and forget. Not only does this system help you save cash by setting aside some of your paycheck before you have a chance to spend it all, but it also saves you valuable time and stress. If you’re feeling ambitious, you can even use this system to automatically pay your bills, which vendors appreciate and sometimes results in a little discount for you. And the best part? Automating your savings means you can spend whatever’s left with minimal guilt.

To see how such a system works, watch this explainer by Ramit Sethi, one of a growing number of smart personal finance bloggers.

Help! What’s a 401(k)/403(b)/IRA?

Retirement seems like a long way off when you’re in college. But people are living longer these days even as the future of Social Security grows less certain, which makes it important to plan ahead so that you have enough to live on after you stop drawing a salary. You probably don’t need to start saving until after you leave Middlebury, but the longer you wait, the steeper your climb will be. Someone who starts investing at age 25 will need to put away much less each month and will still end up having more in the long run than someone who didn’t start saving until 35 or 45. Continue reading