BackgroundInterview Date:December 2018
Gender Identity: Male
Sexual Orientation: Heterosexual
Graduation Year: 2020
High School Experience: Public school outside of Detroit, MI with a graduating class of about 400 students. There was a culture of going to college.
First Generation College Student: No
Major: Economics – In the School of Arts & Sciences
Extracurricular Activities: Varsity athlete, intramural sports, and occasionally do volunteer work.
What impact has being a varsity athlete had on your experiment?
It’s given me my core group of friends. Coming in freshman year you’ll typically room with another varsity athlete and you have a more structured schedule so it helps you adjust to school.
Can you describe your weekly coursework for your major?
A lot of the classes involve problem sets. Usually for the Economics major, you’ll have one sort of math lab type course once a semester that will teach you software and will incorporate that into the material.
Is there anything you feel your major’s department does especially well or poorly?
A lot of the professors are very willing to help their students outside of class time. I wouldn’t say there are any weaknesses. I also think the classes are structured really well. Overall, I think it’s a really strong department.
How would you describe the learning environment? Do you think it’s particularly competitive or collaborative?
I would describe it as pretty competitive. A lot of the classes are curved in a way where you are competing with the other people in the class, so that fosters the competitive environment.
Can you give an example of when you’ve felt that competitive environment?
In a lot of the lower-level classes that are in big lecture halls, a lot of the times people will work together on problem sets and help each other. But, a lot of times in the upper-level classes with 20-25 students aren’t as willing to do that because they know helping their peers with problem sets and things like that will make it harder for them to get good grades because it’s on a curve.
How accessible have your professors been?
They are very accessible, and I don’t think that’s just in my major, that’s pretty common throughout Boston College. One of the first things professors always say on the first day of class is that they have a lot of different slots for office hours and pretty much every professor will say that if you can’t make them shoot them an email and they will meet you individually outside of their office hours.
Why did you pick your major? Are you happy with your choice?
I started out as a Biology major, so I got exposed to the science department and I didn’t really enjoy those classes very much and that’s what made me want to switch into business.
How is managing both your coursework and your sport?
At first, it was pretty tough just because athletics takes up a lot of my time, so it was hard to get everything done. At the beginning of college, I was a Biology major, so I had a lot of work and a couple of really hard classes on top of athletics. There are a lot of people that can help you. Like, your professors are very willing to help you with your schedule and work with you. After a semester you pick it up pretty fast, but it was a pretty tough adjustment.
On and Around Campus
Where have you lived on campus?
Freshman: Fenwick Hall in a quad with three other roommates.
Sophomore: Roncalli Hall in a quad with three roommates and we were blocked with another quad of guys I was friends with, so it was like I lived with seven other people.
Junior: I’ll live in an off-campus house with twelve other people.
How was transitioning from the suburbs of Detroit to Newton, MA?
It’s a little different, but I think the transition was pretty smooth. The suburbs of Detroit are pretty similar to the suburbs of Boston. The one big difference is there is public transportation that people use a lot, but it’s nothing like New York City. It’s been fun here.
Can you describe the level of safety you’ve experienced on and around campus?
Boston College is extremely safe. It’s not an exceptionally huge campus, and we have the Boston College Police Department patrolling around. Even if it’s late at night there will be other people around and the campus is well lit. There also isn’t much crime that happens on campus, so I would describe it as an extremely safe place.
Pros and Cons of being in Newton, MA?
Pros: (1) You’re not necessarily in a big city and have a campus feel. It doesn’t feel like your school is built around the city, it’s more like you have your own thing. At the same time, you’re very close to Boston and it’s easily accessible by public transportation. You have the best of both worlds.
(2) Because you’re close to Boston, you’re close to a lot of job opportunities and things like that.
Cons: The main con is there’s not much parking, so if you want to bring a car it’s a bit difficult. The easiest way to get around is public transportation. [Student parking is only available to junior and senior students who are enrolled in a sponsored field practicum or three credit internship that is not accessible by public transportation.]
What kind of nightlife or weekend activities do you like to participate in?
There’s a pretty strong nightlife at Boston College, but pretty much all juniors live off campus so that has its own nightlife. Plus, Boston’s right nearby so there are a ton of bars and nightclubs in that area. There will be stuff going on pretty much every Thursday, Friday, and Saturday night there will be a lot going on both on campus and off campus. A lot of the seniors live in what we call “The Mods,” which is a senior village. On the weekends, when it’s warm out they have barbecues and they have parties at night.
What have been some of your favorite times at BC?
Some of my favorite times have been club sports formals. They’re so fun. You bring a date or a friend and everyone gets dressed up. Pretty much every group has one and they’re really fun. Besides that, I love Boston. Boston has been one of the best parts of my experience. My friend group loves food, so we all go out to eat in Boston. It’s so fun to be able to go into bars and restaurants.
How did your nightlife differ freshman year when you were less socially established?
Being an athlete, I knew a lot of juniors and seniors so my experience was different. One thing that, because we don’t have fraternities, we don’t have the social pressure for freshmen to go out to parties and prove themselves. Most freshmen don’t struggle with that as much here because it’s not as hard to get into somebody’s off-campus house or Mod. Typically, freshman year I’d stay on campus and go to an upperclassman’s party. Now that I live off campus, I have the ability to host parties, sometimes for my team and sometimes not, a lot of my friends like to go to Boston and explore the bar scene more.
How happy were you with the nightlife? Is there anything you would change if you could?
I like it a lot. There’s always something to do, so that’s a really good part about it.
How did you meet your closest friends?
All of my closest friends I met through my sport. Those are the same people I’ve lived with all three years. I’ve met a lot of my other friends because the lived nearby or through my classes.
How would you describe the social scene?
It’s a medium sized school and the campus is not huge, so during the day there are people all over the place. Everyone is pretty social and outgoing in class. It’s not the type of place where you sit and keep to yourself all the time. Everybody looks to make friends and meet new people, so I think that’s a cool part of the social scene here. [There are about 9,360 undergraduates.]
To what extent do athletes mix with non-athletes?
I think it depends on what team you’re on, but I think there is always a pretty good mix. There are obviously times when a sports team will do stuff just with their sports team, but most people who play sports also have a significant number of friends who aren’t athletes. We’ll also do things with other female sports teams.
To what extent do people of different races and sexual orientations mix socially?
I think BC has a stereotype of being mostly preppy Caucasian people. Although there is some truth to that, I think everyone is very outgoing and willing to be friends with people of all ethnicities. It’s common to see a diverse group of friends, maybe not as common as it is at other places, but it’s not at all uncommon.
How would you describe the student body?
All the students here like to get an early start with internships and things like that. For the most part, people are very social and outgoing. People are pretty well rounded, they like to play intramurals, study, and go out on the weekends. It’s a pretty good mix of people.
To what extent do you feel people of different races and sexual orientations mix socially?
BC is not the most diverse school, and that can be really frustrating at times because I would like to see more of that. [62% of students are White.] It seems that the administration is trying to change that. I have a lot of friends from different languages, and I love hearing my friends speak Spanish. That is something that BC needs to work on.
Has the alumni network helped you find internships or jobs?
Being an athlete, a lot of my teammates who have graduated have really helped me do things like put together a resume, introduce me to people that I could potentially be employed by, and point me in the right direction for internships and stuff like that. I think the alumni network is awesome.
Have you used the career office at all? If so, how helpful have they been?
The career center is used by most students here at some point. They do things like help you prepare your resume, prepare for interviews, and you can just sign up for a time to get help with anything that involves your career. Most students use it and it’s pretty helpful.
Have you learned any computer programs or languages through your coursework that will be helpful to you professionally?
If you’re in the business school, part of their core curriculum is teaching you Excel and other tools that will help you succeed in business. I’m in the school of arts and sciences so, even though it’s not part of my core curriculum, I’ve taken a class called Digital Technologies, where half the class is focused on Excel and the other half is focused on other digital tools that will help you in business.
Advice for Prospective Freshmen
What is something you wish you knew about Boston College before entering as a freshman?
I wish I knew more about the courses so I could schedule classes that would be best for me to take right off the bat and would help me with my major. For example, the Digital Technologies class I just mentioned I didn’t know anything about before I came in. If I knew more about the courses, I could know more about my four-year plan and get a head start on that.
What is something a prospective student may miss on a visit that’s worth checking out?
I think the thing I love most about BC is that all the students are very genuinely nice. You have to stop and talk to people during your visit and you’ll pick up on that.
Reasons to attend Boston College:
1) Boston College is a great place to set you up for your career. There are a lot of opportunities in Boston and the school prepares you well to excel at your career.
2) The athletics are great and all the coaches are really good.
3) The professors are awesome and very willing to help you. You can succeed in all the courses that you take.
4) We have a beautiful campus and awesome facilities.
Reasons to not attend Boston College:
1) It’s a very expensive school.
2) There are not as many programs as there are at big state schools. For example, we don’t have an engineering program.