Shannon Muscatello ’13

Hometown: Andover, MA

High School: Lawrence Academy

Major: Psychology/French Double Major, Education Studies Minor

Activities: Middlebury Mamajamas (coed a cappella), Swing Dance, Salsa Dance, Psych Peer Tutor

Study Abroad: Paris, France, Fall 2011

Why did you choose Middlebury?

This may sound corny, but Middlebury was the first place I visited where I could truly see myself. Logistically thinking things through with pros and cons didn’t really help me that much; the gut feeling was the most important. Actually, I was a wait listed student. When I got the call, I was pretty much set on going to the school where I had placed a deposit. I almost didn’t choose Middlebury, but the gut feeling that I had when I was on campus really pushed it over the edge for me. I decided to take a risk and come to Middlebury, and I do not regret it one minute. As a normally homesick person, I expected the first week to be hard, but when I got here, it immediately felt like home (I know, sounds corny, but it’s true). I slipped into college life and was happy right away.

Why/How did you choose your major?

I am a double major in French and Psychology. I always knew that I wanted to be a Psychology major because I enjoy thinking about how other people work. I decided to do French as well because I’ve always wanted to be fluent in another language. I have studied French for 9 years now and am about to go abroad to France, and I am excited to have proficiency in the language. I also really want to raise my children bilingual. As crazy as it may sound, I also have a minor in Education Studies. I chose this because since I can remember, I have had a desire in the back of my mind to teach, I took a course here at Middlebury and enjoyed it so much that I had to continue.

What was your biggest challenge transitioning into the college atmosphere?

I think the biggest challenge was managing my time. In high school, you have class all day, maybe a sport, and then you go do your homework. In college, I have days where I only have one afternoon class, and I have to make sure that I don’t waste my day and that I use my time, even in the morning wisely. You have a lot more free time, but more homework that you have to make time for as well. It’s not overwhelming, but time management is very important.

What is your fondest memory of Middlebury thus far?

My fondest memory was in the first week of school. I had tried out for 4 a cappella groups and was anxiously waiting in my common room to find out if I had gotten into any of them. It was 12:30, and I was about to go to sleep when the Middlebury Mamajamas rush in and start singing and jumping around me crazily. Obviously, I had gotten in. Looking back makes this memory the fondest because of all the memories that have come from it. The Mamajamas are my family at Middlebury, and the transition would have been much harder without them as a support system for me.

What is your favorite class/Who is your favorite professor?

My Education professors are my favorites, Tara Affolter and Gregg Humphrey. They are teaching you how to teach, so they really do practice what they preach (that rhymed unintentionally). They make the classrooms hands on and discussion based more so than any other professors I’ve had here. They never talk at you; rather they talk with you. Gregg taught me one of my favorite classes this semester, “Elementary Math and Science,” where I got to learn about teaching young children, but then I got to put it into action at a school nearby. It was amazing to be able to teach the children and get to know them throughout the semester.

What do you do in your spare time?

Most of my spare time is spent with the Mamajamas. As I said, they are my family here, and I love to spend as much time as possible singing and hanging out with them. I also have other friends, though, with whom I like to salsa dance, swing dance, relax on Battell Beach, and have fondue nights. I love watching television and movies, and just lying outside at night and stargazing (the stars are beautiful here). Sometimes I even sing with friends as I stargaze.

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