An Interview On
Bates College

Background

Interview Date:June 2019

Gender Identity: Male
Race/Ethnicity: South Asian
Sexual Orientation: Heterosexual
Graduation Year: 2020
High School Experience: Private school in Southern California with a graduating class of about 20 students. There was a culture of going to college.
First Generation Student: No
Major: Economics
Minor: None, but has a general education concentration in Theater and Religious Studies
Extracurricular Activities: I play a varsity sport.

What impact did your sport have on your experience?
It’s had a really big impact on my experience in a positive way. There’s a big divide between the athletes and the non-athletes.

Academic Experience

Can you describe the weekly coursework for your major?
For Economics, it’s generally problem sets due once a week, and then we have tests. In the higher level Economic classes, we have readings.

Is there anything you feel your major’s department does especially well or poorly?
I think they have really smart professors and they are generally very helpful. Nothing is glaringly bad about the Economics department, but they do try to weed a lot of students out in the early stages.

How would you describe the learning environment? Do you think it’s particularly competitive or collaborative?
Everyone strives to do really well, but I think it’s collaborative. Everyone is willing to help each other out, and no one wants others to do bad.

Do you think people are open to multiple schools of thought in the classroom?
I would say no. I think people are pretty stuck in their ways, and if you offer an alternative point of view people generally aren’t willing to hear out what you have to say, and they’ll disregard it.

How accessible have the professors in your department been?
Extremely accessible. You can email them and they’ll let you come in the next day. They also have office hours twice a week, and they will explain concepts or help you with problem sets.

What is your favorite class you’ve taken for your major?
My favorite was a class I took on the Great Recession. Also, my statistics class was pretty interesting.

What made you choose your major? Are you happy with your choice?
I chose it based on my sport, and I wanted to do a business or finance major. They didn’t have that, so that’s how I chose Economics. I was between that or Politics, so I took classes in both and just liked Econ a little better.

How was managing both your sport and coursework?
It’s a little challenging, but if you manage your time well you’re fine playing a sport, going to classes, and socializing on the weekends.

On and Around Campus

Where have you lived on campus?
Freshman: Rand Hall with one roommate.

Sophomore: Frye Street Union with two roommates. It’s a house on campus.

Junior: I was abroad for a semester, but second semester I lived in Herrick House in a single.

Senior: The Village in a suite with six guys.

What was your favorite living situation?
Sophomore year when I had two roommates.

Can you describe the level of safety you’ve experienced on and around campus?
I generally feel pretty safe. The area the campus is in is a little sketchy, but I’ve never felt unsafe because I stay on campus except to go eat or something.

How was transitioning from Southern California to Lewiston, Maine?
I think I adapt pretty well, so it wasn’t too hard for me. If I were someone who isn’t good at adapting to new environments, it would’ve been hard. The people and climate are so different. There are lots of students from California, and they all seem to like it.

Pros and cons of being in Lewiston, ME?
Pros:
1) There’s nothing to do, so you have time to study. You’re not enticed to go out.

Cons:
1) You’re not in a city with people. It’s so small and that’s all the people you’re going to see.
2) There are limited options for things to do on the weekend besides studying and partying.

Social Opportunities

What kind of nightlife or weekend activities do you participate in at Bates?
I like to party with my friends, that’s pretty much all I do. Generally, these are off-campus parties, but it’s just a street over so it’s close. Sometimes we’ll stay on campus and do something, but mostly we start on campus and then go to the off-campus parties around 11 or midnight. The parties are always getting shut down because security is annoying about it.

What nights of the week do you regularly do things?
During the regular semester, I’d say I go out Friday and Saturday. Here and there they’ll be a weekend I’ll only go out once, or I’ll go out on a Thursday. During Short Term I go out a lot, probably three to four days a week.

What have been some of your favorite times at Bates?
I really like the people and hanging out with my friends. Another one is being part of my sport. I’ve grown close to a lot of the players.

What’s an alternative to going to a party or a bar that you like for a night out?
I wouldn’t say there’s that much, but I don’t seek it out. A lot of people go hiking, and if you have a car maybe you go to Portland or Boston on the weekends.

How happy are you with the weekend options? Is there anything you would change?
I understand we’re not in a city so we don’t have the ability to meet people you don’t know at a bar, so that’s fine. But, I think if security and the cops were a little more lenient, it would be more fun.

Campus Culture

How did you meet your closest friends?
Through my sports team. I met my other good friends through my freshman year living in a dorm.

How would you describe the overall social scene?
You have your group of friends that you tend to stick with. It’s a little bit cliquey and people don’t tend to branch out of their friend groups. If you watch movies about high schools where there are friend groups, it’s basically like that but a little less intense.

To what extent do people of different races and sexual orientations mix socially?
I think different sexual orientations mix in pretty well. In terms of different races, I think it’s pretty divided. There’s a narrative at this school about being an inclusive community, but honestly, it’s not very inclusive. There are exceptions such as my sports team is, but overall, it’s pretty divided. [22% of students are from underrepresented groups.]

How would you describe the student body?
[A large portion of the students] are athletes. They like to work out, socialize, and go out on the weekends. Then you have the group who likes to go hiking and camping, which makes up about 20%. Then you have another 20% who are into theater and more artsy students. The rest of the people who just hang out with the athletes and blend in.

How would you describe the South Asian community on campus? How strong is it?
I think It’s pretty strong. I don’t hang out with them that much, but they seem to stick together a lot.

How do you like the size of Bates in terms of undergraduate enrollment? [There are about 1,800 students at Bates.]
I went to a really small high school, so it was fine in the beginning. It’s even fine now, it just gets a little small and you get to know everyone, but I don’t mind it. If I had to choose again, the optimal size would be around 5,000, but it’s not like I want to go to a state school.

Careers

What have you used the career office for? How helpful have they been?
I’ve gone to the career development center and they’re not very helpful. All the internships I’ve gotten were through personal connections. I used the career office to look over my resume and talk about potential internships and jobs, but they’re not very helpful and it’s also student-run, so I don’t know how credible it is.

Have you learned any computer programs or languages that will be helpful to you professionally?
We learned Stata in my Statistical Econometrics class. I’d say I kind of know it. It could’ve been better, and it could’ve been worse.

Advice for Prospective Freshmen

What is something you wish you knew about Bates before entering as a freshman?
I wish I knew what they were looking for in the job market in terms of learning different programs. This would be helpful when getting a job.

What is something a prospective athlete may want to know that we haven’t touched on?
If you’re really committed to your sport and want to excel at it, Bates wouldn’t be the best place. It’s a high-level DIII school. I worked hard over the summer to get in shape to be good for the season, and when I got here everyone else took it a little looser than I’d like. With that being said, you can take it seriously, you just can’t expect others to take it seriously too because it’s a culture thing.

What is something a prospective student may miss on a visit that’s worth checking out?
Check out the athletic facilities. They don’t show you that on a tour, they just point them out.

Reasons to attend Bates:
1) You’re going to meet a lot of great people.
2) It’s a good school academically and teaches you to work hard.
3) I think you develop as a person there. Not only academically, but socially and emotionally you really develop, even though it’s a smaller school.

Reasons to not attend Bates:
1) The social life lacks. It’s not the place to be for a party scene.
2) Getting a job afterward. People recognize it’s a good school, but I don’t think you get the marketable skills you would get at a bigger business school.
3) The athletic facilities are subpar.

Notice: Bates College is a trademark. Induck uses it for descriptive purposes, not to imply affiliation with, endorsement from, or sponsorship by Bates College.

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