BackgroundInterview Date:December 2018
Gender Identity: Female
Sexual Orientation: Bisexual
Graduation Year: 2021
High School Experience: I went to a private boarding school in Connecticut with a graduating class of about 250 students.
First Generation College Student: No
Majors: Psychology and Neuroscience double major on the pre-dental track
Extracurricular Activities: African Student Organization, Avid Listeners, FACES, and I volunteer at the Women’s Center.
Did any of your extracurricular activities have a particularly big impact on your experience?
Not really if I’m being honest.
Can you describe your weekly coursework for your majors?
Right now, I’m taking Chemistry, so I have lab once a week for about 3.5 hours, discussion once a week for 50 minutes and then the actual class. I’m taking a couple of Psychology classes for my major, which includes Intro to Behavioral Stats and Research which is like a math class.
Is there anything you feel your majors’ departments do especially well or poorly?
What I think they do poorly is advising. There have been issues with class registration. A lot of the Psychology classes will fill up very fast. As a Psychology major, you have to take them to do the major, so there are issues with getting into those classes and I don’t think the advisers do much to help with that.
How would you describe the learning environment? Do you think it’s particularly competitive or collaborative?
It’s definitely competitive. A lot of people don’t like to work with others. It’s only collaborative with your friends. You won’t find people going out of their way to work together or help each other.
What has been your favorite class you’ve taken for your majors?
Emotion, it was a lot like social psychology. It was about how we express emotions, how it’s evolved, and its effects on psychology.
What has been your least favorite class you’ve taken for your majors?
Psychology as a Natural Science. It wasn’t a bad class, but it was one of the entry level classes so it was very big and the professor didn’t teach very well and was not very personable.
How accessible have your professors been?
I think they’re very accessible. I’m not that great at asking for help, but when I do try to meet with them they are available to meet.
Why did you pick your major? Are you happy with your choice?
I started off as a Biology major on the pre-dental track, but I realized that I didn’t care about Biology and that I was just interested in human beings. When I took an introductory Psychology class I didn’t like the class itself but I was interested in the ideas, so I took more and decided to switch because I liked it a lot better than Biology. I’m pretty happy with my choice.
On and Around Campus
Where have you lived on campus?
Freshman: Claver/Loyola/Xavier/Fenwick (CLXF), which is four dorm rooms combined in one building. I had a forced triple, which is a double room but with three people in it.
Sophomore: Welch Hall with seven other roommates. It’s an all sophomore building.
What was your favorite living situation?
Definitely this one. Last year was very cramped and it just wasn’t the best. Also, this year I got to choose my roommates so that’s definitely better.
How was transitioning from your boarding school in Connecticut to Newton, MA?
It wasn’t that different. The East Coast is very much the same around those areas. The only thing that was different was that it’s colder here. The kinds of people and the things you see are pretty much the same.
Can you describe the level of safety you’ve experienced on and around campus?
It’s pretty safe here. I haven’t really had issues with concerns about my safety. There are always police cars around and safety measures that they try to carry out. I’ve never felt unsafe.
What is your favorite place to get away from campus?
The stop on the MBTA called Harvard Ave. There are cute little restaurants and thrift stores that my friends and I will go to. It’s not too far away, which is nice.
Pros and Cons of being in Newton, MA?
Pros: (1) It’s a pretty campus.
(2) It’s secluded from the chaos of the city so it’s peaceful.
Cons: (1) It’s far from a lot of things. Anytime you want to go out in Boston it’s such a journey because you have to think about paying for Uber and how to get back and stuff like that. You can’t leave without it being a big thing.
(2) It’ very suburban. There aren’t that many things around here to do. It gets old pretty quickly.
What kind of nightlife or weekend activities do you like to participate in?
Because of our location, we have a lot of on-campus parties. There will be parties in peoples’ rooms. Sometimes there will be [sports] games, so we’ll go to those, or we take trips to Boston. It’s mostly parties on campus and off campus hosted by seniors and juniors because they are the ones who can register parties.
Who else hosts parties?
If you’re in a group or a club, they will host their own little things and those are just for people affiliated with those groups. There are also groups of people who always host things and you know where and when they are going to do that because they always do. There are no formal invites, but if you know about a party that means somebody’s told you so then you’re probably invited.
How happy are you with the nightlife? Is there anything you would change if you could?
I personally skip out on it a lot of times because it gets tiring because it’s always the same people and the same music and I get sick of that. I think if we had venues or had more different themes or things it would be a lot more fun. It gets old because it’s always the same.
What have been some of your favorite times at BC?
Mostly just time I’ve spent with my friends doing things when it’s warm out. When it’s warm out there is more energy everywhere. Now that it’s cold and it gets dark fast everybody is low energy. When it’s nicer out we do more stuff outside and are more adventurous.
How did you meet your closest friends?
Last year they were my roommates, and also through classes and the dorm. I’d meet someone in class and then hang out with them in the dorm and that’s how we got closer.
How would you describe the social scene?
It’s very divided. It’s clearly separated into little groups. It’s cliquey. There will be people between groups and everyone is nice to each other, but people have their own individual friend groups.
To what extent do you feel people of different races and sexual orientations mix socially?
I think people of different races or sexual orientations tend to gravitate towards each other because it’s a predominantly White school. [62% of students are White.] Because of that, the minority groups form friendships and gravitate towards each other.
How strong is the Black community on campus?
It’s very, very strong. There are a lot of people who are very passionate about a lot of issues and stuff like that. They do a lot of events and try to spread positive information. I think it’s strong.
How would you describe the student body?
It’s a very preppy, East Coast, White population. There are also lots of athletic people who run and do stuff like that. It’s very preppy and athletic. [About 5,900 students come from the Northeast and 62% of students are White.]
How has the size of B.C. influenced your social experience? Do you like the size of the school?
[There are about 9,400 undergraduate students.] I think it’s a pretty good size. I didn’t want a place that was too big or too small and I think BC is good with that. You recognize people every day that you see going to class or at lunch, but it’s still big enough that you can have your own life and business.
Has being a person who identifies as LGBT influenced your social life?
It hasn’t really been any different. It has not impacted it.
How strong is the LGBT community on campus?
I don’t hear that much about it. They can’t do very much because we’re a Jesuit school. The [student government council] had to change their letters to GLBTQ I think because of affiliation with the Catholic church.
How strong is the Catholic presence on campus?
Day to day you don’t really think about it. It’s not shoved down anyone’s throat are anything, but there are little things that remind you, like mass or the Resident Ministers. Overall, it’s not something that’s forced on people.
Have you used financial aid? If so, how accommodating was the office to your needs?
I use financial aid and they give me quite a bit of money, but the people who run the offices are not very accommodating. I think it’s fair that they [take deadlines seriously and need checks on time], but they don’t do it in a way that is accommodating and understanding. It feels more like they are just saying, “give me your money.” They aren’t very helpful in helping you figure out how to pay for things. There are other organizations that will help you pay for trips and internships and stuff, but that’s not directly through the Boston College financial aid office.
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 curriculum because after I came here I realized how rigid it is. There aren’t as many interdisciplinary courses as I thought and there are so many core requirements that it’s difficult to expand into different subjects and there’s less time to figure out what you want to study.
What is something a prospective Black student may want to know that we haven’t touched on?
You just have to find your group of people. Especially with all the Jesuit stuff that goes on here, if you find the people you are comfortable with and relate with you’ll be fine because it’s an institution that feels rich White-oriented. [Socioeconomically, 44% of students come from the top 5% and Boston College has the second highest median parent income among colleges in Massachusetts.]
Reasons to attend Boston College:
1) It’s a very good school in terms of education. I’ve learned a lot of things here.
2) The professors are really helpful.
3) You’ll meet a lot of great people and socially it’s pretty fun. There is a good work and social life balance. People are serious but also like to do fun things.
Reasons to not attend Boston College:
1) There are a lot of core requirement classes and not that many cool interdisciplinary entry-level classes, so it’s not the best school if you don’t know what you want to major or in or what you want to do.
2) If you don’t like the cold.
3) If you’re more of a city person because it is more so located in suburbia.