An Interview On
Bowdoin College

Background

Interview Date:May 2018

Gender Identity: Female
Race/Ethnicity: Caucasian
Sexual Orientation: Heterosexual
Graduation Year: 2021
High School Experience: Private Quaker school in Baltimore with about 100 students in my class
First Generation College Student: No
Major: Math
Minor: Spanish
Extracurricular Activities: I’m a student-athlete and next year I will be in Residential Life.

Academic Experience

Can you describe your weekly coursework for your major?
Most courses meet two times a week for an hour and a half or three times for an hour. Most of my classes have problem sets. This past year I had a class that had two problem sets a week due Wednesday and Sunday and then another class that had just once a week, but she would assign it in two pieces so it was easier to manage. For both of them, there are T.A. sessions that are optional but helpful that usually meet like once a week. I think they’re usually held for three hours but you can come in and out.

Is there anything you feel your major’s department does especially well or especially poorly?
I think the T.A. sessions are really helpful. There are a number of resources for every level of math, so it’s not just your professor, although in my experience they’re very accessible. Then you can schedule tutoring appointments through the tutoring center or you can they have walk-in hours for any quantitative reasoning class, like math or economics.

Can you describe the learning environment? Do you think it’s competitive or collaborative?
I’d say it’s definitely much more collaborative. I wouldn’t describe it as a cutthroat environment. I’d say everyone is competitive with themselves and everyone wants to do really well, but not at the expense of someone else. I’d say for pretty much all of my classes I do a lot of my problem sets with other people. So, I think it leans towards the more collaborative environment.

How is managing your coursework along with your sport?
It’s definitely challenging in some ways. It does force you to schedule your time better. I think the transition to college from high school can be difficult if you have a regimented schedule and then you have all this free time. You think you’ll get everything done then you realize that the time does slip away. Having a forced schedule makes you think about how to utilize the free time you have. At the same time, during the season it was hard because there’s really no room to get behind schedule, so if you do fall behind a little you have very little time to make that up. It forces you to get ahead of your work as much as possible, which is what you want to do.

On and Around Campus

Where have you lived on campus?
Freshman: Appleton Hall, which is one of the freshman dorms on the main quad. I was in a room that was meant to be a quad but only had three people. I had a double and one of our roommates had a single.

Sophomore: I will be an RA Brunswick Apartments, which is college housing a block off the main campus. I’m living there with one other girl. We have our own kitchen and bathroom

Can you describe the level of safety you’ve experienced on and around campus?
It’s a pretty safe place. Brunswick is a pretty safe town. Our security is also very, very accessible and devoted to our safety more than disciplining us. I’ve never personally felt unsafe. All the building doors lock, and everybody keeps their doors unlocked so their friends can come in and out.

What is your favorite place to get away from campus?
There are a lot of cool places in town. We have a lot of restaurants and cafes and restaurants and stuff in the area around campus. I personally really like this café-bakery called Wild Oats. There’s also this café called Little Dog Café where I would sometimes go do work. There’s a gelato place people go to a lot called Gelato Fiasco. There are all these really nice small businesses that have really good food to go to in town. And I was definitely one of those people who want to go into town to get away from campus just to have a change of scenery.

Pros and Cons of being in Brunswick, ME?
Pros: (1) It’s beautiful. You’re surrounded by nature. Maine is one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever been, so I really love that aspect of it.
(2) It’s not far from Portland, which is an up and coming, hip place.
(3) It’s an easy trip to Boston. Instead of going home I go to Boston sometimes to visit friends. You can even go for a weekend trip.

Cons: It’s sort of in the middle of nowhere. It’s a very small town and can feel isolated. It’s not urban at all. I don’t really have a lot of cons though.

Social Opportunities

What kind of weekend activities or nightlife do you like to participate in?
Most of my social scene is with other athletes. A lot of my team’s nightlife would start out as a mixer with another guy’s team or another girls’ team and another guys’ team. That would be a mixer and either it opens up wherever it was and more people from campus would come – both athletes and non-athletes – or we would all relocate to whatever was happening.

The bar scene isn’t that big until you’re an upperclassman, and even then, I’d say most of the people I knew who went to bars were seniors.

What is the impact of athletes on the nightlife?
I’d say being an athlete is helpful because it’s one of the more social groups. If you like to go to parties, that’s where knowing a lot of other athletes can help. I have a lot of friends of good friends who are non-athletes and I often saw them out at the same parties and there was some intermingling.

What nights of the week do you regularly go out?
In the off-season, I usually just went out Friday and Saturday. Some people went out Thursdays, but two nights a week was usually enough for me. I went out on the occasional Thursday, but I knew some people that went out every week. In season, we would go out Sunday sometimes, but that was more because there were some weeks we couldn’t go out at all. So if we had a long dry spell we would go out on a Sunday with other spring sports teams.

What have been your favorite days or nights at Bowdoin?
I think being an athlete that participates in the spring, [my opinion might be different]. I think the spring is really fun because that’s when it starts getting warmer out. People start partying during the day.

There’s Ivies, which is the really big concert weekend. We had DRAM and AJR come this year. That’s when people are happiest for the most part. For me, I really love Christmas weekend. There are a lot of themed parties. We did a big secret Santa thing with our male counterpart team. I think everyone gets really into the holiday spirit and has a really good time that weekend because it’s right before reading period. People have finals, but they have less other work to be doing, so there’s a lot more free time.

How happy are you with the weekend options? Is there anything you would change if you could?
I personally really like it, mostly because I didn’t want to go to a huge party school. I like that when I go to parties I know most of the people there. That’s more my social scene. At the same time, I’m still meeting new people every weekend. Even if you recognize a lot of faces, I was talking to someone new last weekend too. I really like that it’s a little bit smaller and more familiar, but if you want to go to a crazy party school, Bowdoin’s probably not for you. Talking with some of my friends, we think that Bowdoin is one of the more fun schools. I think I have more fun than my friends at other schools, but that’s coming from an athlete’s perspective. I really don’t know what the social scene is like for non-athletes.

Campus Culture

How did you meet your closest friends?
All of them were on my team for the most part, but that’s not always the case for each class. My absolute best friend lived on the floor above me and was on my team in my class. I also met some close friends on the pre-orientation trip. Mine was a backpacking trip and I met one of my really, really good friends through that.

Do you think people of different races and sexual orientations mix socially?
That’s probably one of the things Bowdon needs to work on. I think there are some divisions in regards to that, but definitely not as much as other places. They make efforts to make mixing happen, and I think there is some natural division, but I think that happens everywhere.

How would you describe the overall social scene at Bowdoin?
There is a lot of campus-wide stuff that’s open to everyone. But, at the same time, I think it depends a lot on what your extracurricular activities are. I have a lot of friends on club or intramural sports and they have their own little social scene. There is definitely separation in the social scene between extracurricular activities.

Advice for Prospective Freshmen

What is something you wish you knew about Bowdoin before entering as a freshman?
For me, I think I had the impression that it was one of those crunchy liberal arts schools and I’d say it isn’t really like that. There is that vibe, but I’d say it’s more preppy than I realized. I don’t see that as a bad thing, but it’s a misconception about the school maybe. Another thing I’d say is there are a lot of people from New England and a lot of people who went to New England boarding schools and have a lot of money, which I’d say is part of why it least more to being preppy. I’m not from around there so it’s a different demographic than what I’m used to. I don’t see it as a bad thing, but it is apparent. [Socioeconomically, 20% of students come from the top 1%. About 34% of students come from New England.]

I also think that a lot of these liberal arts schools have a bad reputation of being very politically polarized and I didn’t find that dictated my experience as much as some people make it out to be. That being said, I didn’t try to get involved in that. If you’re worried about it, it’s not a major dominating aspect.

What is something that a student may miss on a visit that’s worth checking out?
One thing about Bowdoin is that I think is really special is the people there. I went there because of the people I met who were looking there. That gut instinct was right. The people at Bowdoin are different and special in a way different than people I’ve met anywhere else. If you have an opportunity to talk to people while you’re visiting beyond the tours, interviews and information sessions, definitely do. Also, go out and explore the surrounding area. I don’t see the campus as being super beautiful, but the nature and the surrounding area is super beautiful.

Reasons to attend Bowdoin:
1) Very compassionate, intelligent, and fun-loving people.
2) The faculty. I’ve had very personal interactions with them. If you want smaller classes and more one on one time it’s accessible.
3) The location can feel remote, but it’s actually very easy to go to and from there.
4) The liberal arts experience I value a lot. It’s easy to get involved and do a lot of different things. You can get into whatever you want to do.

Reasons to not attend Bowdoin:
1) It’s small. It does feel small. I don’t personally feel it be so tiny and suffocating, but I’ve only been there for one year. I still see people I know everywhere I go.
2) The Bowdoin Bubble is very real. A lot of people aren’t’ that aware of what’s going on in the outside world.
3) There are a lot of people that come from similar backgrounds.
4) It’s a really hard school. I don’t think people necessarily realize how much work it is. I do a lot more work than a lot of my other friends.

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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