An Interview On
Bowdoin College

Background

Interview Date:February 2019

Gender Identity: Female
Race/Ethnicity: Biracial: Half-White and Half-Hispanic
Sexual Orientation: Bisexual
Graduation Year: 2020
High School Experience: Public school in a suburban area in New York with a graduating class of about 60 students. There was a culture of going to college
First Generation College Student: No
Major: Anthropology
Minor: Gender, Sexuality & Women’s Studies
Extracurricular Activities: I write for the college’s satire magazine, The Harpoon. I volunteer for Cash Coalition, which helps low-income people in the community file taxes. I mentor local kids through Falcon Friends. I tutor local kids through American Reads and Counts. I also used to be a varsity athlete, but I stopped and am now a club athlete.

Did any of your extracurricular activities have a particularly big impact on your experience?
All do because I really like being connected to the community and getting outside Bowdoin to see where I’m living these four years. It’s very important for me to help outside my direct circle on campus.

Academic Experience

Can you describe your weekly coursework for Anthropology?
It’s mostly readings, and the amount of reading will vary by class. Every class has about 2-3 readings per class which is manageable but also can be challenging if you want it to be. If you take your readings very seriously and try to understand everything in it, the reading gets harder. The major grades are essays.

Is there anything you feel your major’s department does especially well or poorly?
They do nothing exceptionally poorly. What they do well is the professors really give the space for students to explore on an equal platform with the professors. Most classes I’ve taken in the Anthropology department are discussion based and the professors don’t really say if you’re right or wrong, they let you form your own opinions about readings and subjects and engage in discussion instead of telling you what to do or think.

How would you describe the learning environment? Do you think it’s particularly competitive or collaborative?
Bowdoin has not been competitive for me, which is great. Bowdoin people don’t mention what grades you get on an assignment. My friends are more than willing to read over essays and will offer before you ask to read over my essays. Even classmates who I’m not friends with will offer to read essays and work together.

Do you feel that people are open to multiple schools of thought in the classroom?
Definitely. Professors do a good job of playing devil’s advocate. They also bring in multiple sources from different time periods and are careful to acknowledge where sources are coming from and who is writing it. They dig into why certain authors develop their theories and what their background is. I like that they do a really good job of bringing in diverse sources.

How accessible have your professors been?
100% accessible.

Why did you pick to your major? Are you happy with your choice?
It fit me as a person. When I was looking at what classes I wanted to register for all the Anthropology classes screamed my name because they were about exploring questions and peoples with sentiments that I assumed were correct or true, but the classes inverted hat I thought was normal.

On and Around Campus

Where have you lived on campus?
Freshman: West Hall with one roommate. There are eight first-year “bricks” and two of them have double rooms.

Sophomore: Baxter House with two roommates, one is my roommate from freshman year. Baxter is an old frat house, so it has 30 people living in single, double, and triple rooms. It’s great because it makes a small community. We plan events and do meals together.

How was transitioning from a suburb of New York City to Brunswick, Maine?
One of my favorite things about going to Bowdoin is living in Maine. It’s an incredible spot in terms of nature, and being able to go to intimate concerts and great restaurants in Portland. I like that you’re still connected to the world but you can also escape to nature very easily. It’s similar to my hometown that is close to New York City but you can also escape to nature.

Can you describe the level of safety you’ve experienced on and around campus?
I’ve never felt unsafe walking late at night or during the day on campus. I think most of my peers share that sentiment.

Pros and Cons of being in Brunswick, Maine?
Pros:
1) The main street and the town itself are very quaint and has a small-town feel.
2) The campus is very close to shops and restaurants. It’s really nice that you don’t have to drive anywhere if you don’t want to.
3) Brunswick has a lot of opportunities to help or integrate into the community through Bowdoin. It’s a very welcoming community.

Cons:
I don’t have any.

Social Opportunities

What kind of nightlife or weekend activities do you like to participate in at Bowdoin?
I really like going to sketch comedy shows and the performances the student groups put on through either the theater, comedy troupes or dance groups. They’re fun because you get to see other students that you know. I also like going to different college house parties, which

What nights of the week do you regularly do things?
Friday and Saturday. Occasionally there will be something on Thursday, but those are more lowkey events.

What is the impact of the College House system on nightlife?
It definitely gives a space for first-years and sophomores to party in safe and regulated environments. A lot of people really love them. It’s more for people who are not in the athletic scene, but that’s not to say that athletes don’t go to those parties. Athletes tend to go to off-campus parties at team houses.

What’s an alternative to going to a party or a bar that you like for a night out?
People will go into town to go out to eat at the various restaurants in town. People also really like staying in and having movie nights. A lot of other students go on weekend trips with the Outing Club.

Has being a person who identifies as LGBT influenced your nightlife?
It depends on what space you occupy. Last year I was a varsity athlete, so I went to a lot of the athlete parties and I didn’t really feel that was a place I could explore my identity. This year I’m not an athlete and I am going to more non-athlete parties, and that’s somewhere I feel totally comfortable. People are very open and welcoming to different identities and I feel very safe in those spaces.

How happy are you with the nightlife? Is there anything you would change if you could?
I’m pretty happy with it. There are definitely quieter weekends and crazier weekends with multiple things going on. I’m thankful for the quieter weekends because it allows me to catch up on work and rest. I like that things aren’t constantly going on here.

Campus Culture

How did you meet your closest friends?
Two of my closest friends were on my pre-orientation trip. Another I met through my first-year seminar. First-year seminars are limited to sixteen first-years, so you meet people, and helps you work on your writing. Another I met through a club, and others I met through the college house system.

How would you describe the overall social scene at Bowdoin?
If you want to do something, whether that be on a weekend or weeknight, there will always be something that you can find. It’s pretty divided at times between athletes and non-athletes, but personally, I like that divide [laughs]. I am not rushing to merge the two.

To what extent do you feel people of different races and sexual orientations mix socially?
There is definitely integration, but it depends on which social events you go to. The campus events where there are performances are very diverse and integrated. There are also spaces that are very White. Like, there are some sports teams that are very White, but there are also more diverse teams. I know some of my friends who are of color sometimes feel uncomfortable that the majority of spaces are White-majority spaces. [About 67% of students are White.]

How would you describe the student body?
People are pretty dedicated to whatever their passion is. I’ve never been somewhere where people are all so invested in something personally, like personal projects and personal interests. They’re so excited to learn about what they’re doing too. People are mutually supportive and driven, which is really energizing.

How do you like the size of Bowdoin? How has that influenced your social experience?
I love how small it is. I like that it’s a small community and I see similar faces all the time. At the same time, I can also go somewhere where I don’t know a lot of people and people don’t know me. I also came from a very small high school, so Bowdoin seems big to me.

How strong is the LGBTQ community on campus?
I’d say it’s pretty strong. We have OUTPeers and OUTAllies who you can reach out to for support or get meals with. The Office of Sexual Misconduct and Gender-Based Violence hosts events and wellness things that are space spaces for the LGBTQ community. I haven’t utilized them much, but I know people who have and those spaces have made a difference for them.

Careers

What have you used the career office for? How helpful have they been?
I went into the career office to talk about internships and updated my resume. They were super helpful. They looked over my resume in a non-abrasive way and helped me reshape it and reword it. She seemed very available for me to ask questions and told me to reach out at any time. The whole experience felt very welcoming.

Have you learned any computer programs or computer languages that have been or will be especially helpful professionally?
I learned Python and Excel through Digital and Computational Studies and Environmental Studies.

Financial Aid

Have you used financial aid? If so, how accommodating was the office to your needs?
I’m on financial aid, and the college gave me a grant that I was very happy with. Whenever I email them they respond right away. They are very easy to talk to and forgiving when you don’t know how the process works throughout my time. They were a very good support system when applying too.

Advice for Prospective Freshmen

What is something you wish you knew about Bowdoin before you entered as a freshman?
I wish I knew that I should have streamlined what I thought my major was going to be. You don’t have to declare until the end of your sophomore year, so I thought I had more time to screw around and take other classes. I really enjoyed them, but they weren’t helpful in completing my other major requirements. I wish I focused on getting certain requirements out of the way earlier so I could focus on more interesting things now.

What is something a prospective student may miss on a visit that’s worth checking out?
Drive down to Bailey’s or Orr’s Island, or go to the Coastal Studies Center to see the coast of Maine. Go down at any time of the year. The Coastal Studies Center highlights the college’s connection to Brunswick and Maine.

Reasons to attend Bowdoin:
1) The professors are extremely personable inside and outside of the classroom. I’ve also been blown away by their accomplishments as professors.
2) The people here are amazing. You’ll make amazing friends and they make whatever academic and life goals more accessible and worthwhile.
3) The food is great and there are always a lot of healthy and unhealthy options. Dining areas are so great for hanging out with people and are social spaces.
4) The dorms and housing situation are great and make your experience so comfortable. It adds to the overall experience.

Reasons to not attend Bowdoin:
1) If you’re someone who doesn’t like the cold weather or your mood varies with the weather, don’t come here because it can be pretty cold for long periods of time.
2) If you want to be close to a major city.
3) If you want a big party school vibe, that’s not here.

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

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