An Interview On
Bowdoin College

Background

Interview Date:June 2017

Gender Identity: Male
Race/Ethnicity: Caucasian
Sexual Orientation: Heterosexual
Graduation Year: 2017
High School Experience: Private school in Baltimore, MD with a graduating class of about 100 students. There was a culture of going to college.
First Generation College Student: No
Major: Computer Science
Minor: Math – The math requirements for the Computer Science major are very minimal, and in order to go on to do work in it a strong math background is pretty essential. So, I didn’t consciously choose to be a math minor, but I took classes that were helpful and ended up with enough credits for the minor.
Extracurricular Activities: I was part of the RoboCup Team, which is a robotics team that programs small humanoid robots to play soccer. I was part of the Quaker meeting group, which was an interesting aspect of my time because it attracted students, faculty, and people from the Brunswick community. I tutored at the Center for Learning and Teaching, which is an academic resource center where students tutor other students.

Academic Experience

Can you describe your weekly coursework for Computer Science?
For the earlier classes, you have coding assignments that you’re given a week or two to complete individually. Earlier on you have exams but the major grades are coding projects. As you progress through the major the assignments are larger, more long-term projects that you do in groups of 2 or 3.

Is there anything you feel the Computer Science department does especially well or poorly?
Computer Science had the most judicial cases than any other department in recent years. It’s one of the most collaborative departments. I also don’t think that Computer Science students are especially academically dishonest. It’s easier to catch in Computer Science because they use software to check students’ code against another student’s code and code on the internet. So, the judicial cases came from students sharing code and using code from the internet in the lower level classes.

Why did you pick Computer Science?
I came into college not having any idea of what I wanted to do. I took a Computer Science class spring of freshman year and it was a nice mix of things that I like. I like that the approach to solving problems was mathematical but in an accessible way.

On and Around Campus

Where have you lived on campus?
[90% of] students at Bowdoin live on campus. I lived on campus all four years.

Freshman: Winthrop Hall in a forced triple. We had a single bedroom and a common room. It’s nice that the freshman dorms are centrally located

Sophomore: Howard Hall in a quint. I lived with 2 other guys and 2 girls.

Junior: I was abroad in the fall, and then had a single in Chamberlain second semester. It was very nice.

Senior: I lived in the Harpswell apartments, which are townhouse style with a kitchen, den, etc. It was nice but a little far from campus.

What was your favorite living situation?
Harpswell was my favorite.

What is your favorite off-campus restaurant?
Sher Punjab, an Indian place on Main Street.

What is your favorite place to get away from campus?
Town Commons, a series of trails through the woods in Brunswick. I also like getting away to Portland.

Pros and cons of being in Brunswick?
Pros: 1) Very easy access to beautiful nature and landscapes.
2) There are a lot of excellent restaurants for the size of the town.
3) All of the amenities you may need are in town and close to campus.

Cons: 1) It’s small, not a city. Brunswick can feel claustrophobic if you don’t get off campus very often.
2) Winter is remarkably long. It will snow well into April which can be a drag.

Social Opportunities

What kind of weekend activities or nightlife do you like to participate in?
My social life consists of hanging out with small groups of friends. I did go to some parties during my freshman and sophomore years at the college houses. I like to go to Super Snacks – when Thorne Dining Halle opens from 10-1 and serves nachos, grilled cheese, etc. – and hang out. Broadly, at Bowdoin social events tend to start earlier than they do at other schools. The actual parties start around 10.

How happy are you with the weekend options at Bowdoin? Is there anything you would change about it if you could?
I’m very happy with it. It fits what I need.

Campus Culture

How did you make your closest friends?
Many of my closest friends I met freshman year in dorms and we stayed friends throughout all four years. I also made friends working in the stacks on the 6th floor of the library. There are desks students can reserve at the beginning of the year if you are doing an independent study or an honors project, so I got to know lots of people through having one up there.

How would you describe the social scene? Do you think it’s cliquey?
I don’t think it’s cliquey. With some exceptions, the most cliquey behavior one sees is with the sports teams. I had a rather diverse set of friends and never got the sense that people looked down on others.

Do people of different races and sexual orientations mix socially?
Yes, but not as much as they could.

Careers

Has the alumni network helped you with internships or jobs?
Yeah, the software engineering job I will be starting soon in San Francisco is at a company I had not heard of before this year and has lots of Bowdoin employees. A few of them were recent grads and presented about the company on campus. I gave them my resume and it ended up leading to a job.

Advice for Prospective Freshmen

What is something you wish you knew about Bowdoin before entering as a freshman?
Generally, I wish I knew how to study more effectively. I study more intelligently now that I used to. In terms of Bowdoin specifically, I didn’t find as many people similar to myself as I thought I would. It’s not a big deal but it was somewhat of a disappointment.

What is something a prospective student may miss on a visit that’s worth checking out?
Bowdoin has a great art museum that they just how you in passing. Going inside is actually really fun. I’m not a big art person but they have some cool stuff like Syrian tablets with cuneiform writing.

Reasons to attend Bowdoin:
1) The relationships you can develop with professors. There are many, many opportunities to get to know professors, maybe better than you want to get to know them.
2) The learning environment is incredibly supportive. Academic competition between students is not very prevalent, people are more competitive with themselves than other people. Also, professors and people at the Academic Resource Center are very helpful and willing to give you assistance when you’re having a hard time
3) The food is really excellent as far as college food goes.

Reasons to not attend Bowdoin:
1) It’s very cold and there is lots of snow. If you think you would have a hard time putting up with that from October to April it’s not the place for you.
2) If you’re someone who cares a lot about having a vibrant social scene with lots of different parties to go to and gatherings to attend it’s not the place for you. There are parties but it’s not the most vibrant social scene.

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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