BackgroundInterview Date:May 2018
Gender Identity: Female
Sexual Orientation: Heterosexual
Graduation Year: 2019
High School Experience: Public school in Westchester, NY with just over 300 students in my class. It was a pretty wealthy area and the school is one of the best public schools in the area and possibly the state.
First Generation College Student: No.
Majors: Double major in Psychology and Political Science
Minor: Women’s and Gender Studies
Extracurricular Activities: I’m on the school’s newspaper, The Bucknellian. I do photography as a hobby so I’m so I work with a couple of art and fashion magazines on-campus. I’m part of Greek life. I’m part of Spoon University where we look at food in the area. I’m also a writing tutor on-campus.
Did any of your extracurricular activities have a particularly big impact on your college experience?
Being a writing tutor was really rewarding and I think that’s something I’ll look back on as being a highlight of Bucknell because I am able to meet so many more students than I used to be able to. I actually get to help them with their writing, which in turn helps me with my writing because checking over someone else’s grammar and that gets imprinted in my mind and has helped my writing grow. It’s been really cool to use my skills to help other people, especially first year students and international students.
Can you describe your weekly coursework for your majors?
I have a lot of reading assignments, especially for Political Science. Because I’m in the higher-level classes, Psychology is now very academic study based, so we’re reading studies and also writing them. Psychology also gets very statistical, so I’ve been working with SPSS, which is the statistics of Psychology. It’s a lot of reading, and that’s something I didn’t really expect during college. Like every night I have a reading assignment for each class.
What are your major graded assignments?
I would say each semester it’s like 25% for the midterm, 25% for the final, and then maybe 15% for quizzes and then an essay or two depending on the subject.
Is there anything you feel either of your majors’ departments do especially well or especially poorly?
I’ve always enjoyed writing and I think I’m a pretty good writer, like, I would rather write an essay than take a test. I do think my study skills have improved a lot since high school because the tests all have a similar structure and the professors are very helpful in telling you exactly what to study and what to read.
How would you describe the learning environment? Do you think it’s competitive or collaborative?
I think it’s a good balance. I think it’s probably more on the collaborative side because you get really close with your class. The professor to student ratio is very strong, [it is 9:1]. I’ve been in Women’s and Gender Studies classes with like six people, so we were really able to collaborate and share ideas in a very positive and supportive environment. Even in then bigger lecture classes you feel very comfortable with everyone around you and the professor.
What has been your favorite class in your majors?
I’ve loved all of my Women’s and Gender studies classes. I’ve kind of picked up the minor because I just kept taking those classes because I enjoyed them so much. I loved all the readings and I loved all the discussions we had in class because everyone’s very like-minded.
My actual favorite class was called Learning in Psychology. The teacher was so great and straightforward and we learned so much about positive reinforcement and habits and things that are in your daily life and now they have a psychological background for me
What has been your least favorite class in your majors?
I took a political theory course that was very philosophy based, which I realized I wasn’t very good at. We read a lot of old philosophers, so I found that difficult because you were assigned a whole philosophy book for a week and I wasn’t able to keep up with that. I also wasn’t that interested in it, it was one of my prerequisites.
Why did you choose your majors?
I came into school knowing that I was going to be a Psychology major because I took AP Psychology in high school and loved it. I took a Political Science class to fulfill a core requirement and really loved it and then I kept building on and if I had space in my schedule I’d add one on and it kind of turned into a major. I really love all the faculty in the Political Science department too.
On and Around Campus
Where have you lived on campus?
Freshman: Swartz Hall with one random roommate. I was specifically in Malcolm.
Sophomore: Kress Hall in a single but I was blocked with 3 friends in a cluster on a big long hallway.
Junior: Hunt Hall, which is the sorority house. Each sorority has half of a floor. I went abroad for the spring.
Senior: I will live in the senior campus apartments with three of my other friends.
What was your favorite living situation?
I loved living in Hunt Hall with my sorority because most of us had singles so you had your own space, but you also have a big meeting room that you can hang out in. I thought it was really great for my pledge class in particular. You get to bond, and you get to know people you might not have had the chance o in sophomore year when you’re living all over campus.
Can you describe the level of safety you experienced on and around campus?
I think it’s very, very safe. Public Safety is so helpful. They’re really, really nice people and they’ve gone out of their way to introduce themselves. We’re very comfortable with them because they actually have meetings with the sororities and meetings with different classes so you get to know them pretty well.
What is your favorite off-campus restaurant?
For breakfast and brunch, I love Amami Café and that’s where everyone goes Saturday and Sunday morning. For dinner I love Siam, it’s a really good Thai place.
What is your favorite place to get away from campus?
There’s a lot of farm area around Bucknell, it’s very rural. Sometimes my friends would go for a drive to this place called Ard’s Farm. It’s also a restaurant, and they have a really nice farm location so in the fall they have pumpkin patches and things like that. And then right across there is an ice cream place.
Pros and Cons of being in Lewisburg, PA?
Pros: (1) I always feel safe, and I always feel welcome to the community. I feel comfortable there.
(2) I love all the restaurants and the amenities that have popped around Bucknell. The town is so cute, we have really cute shops and coffee stores and things like that.
(3) Being in the middle of nowhere brings the campus closer together because everyone stays on campus and figures out things to do there.
Cons: (1) It can be a bit isolating. Freshman year you can’t have a car, so if you’re having a bad week you’re so far away from home and basically stranded in the middle of nowhere.
(2) If you really needed something that could be difficult. Like if your iPhone or laptop breaks the nearest Apple store could be an hour away.
What kind of weekend activities or nightlife do you like to participate in?
I’m part of Greek life and I would say that’s pretty much the dominating nightlife scene there because we are in a very small rural town so there are only like three bars but you can’t really get in underage. There are some nights of the week that are more popular than others and then we have a big party every Saturday during the day, which are called Super Saturdays.
What nights of the week do you regularly go out?
We usually go out Wednesday, Friday, and sometimes Saturday after the Super.
Can you describe a typical night going out freshman year?
My dorm was uphill, and there is one downhill dorm which most freshmen are in. I just happened to be uphill. We would probably hang out with friends, grab dinner, then you’d have [a small party] with your friends uphill and then walk downtown to all the party houses. You kind of do the same things you do as a sophomore and junior, just jump around all the different houses.
What impact does Greek life have on nightlife?
I’ve had a completely positive experience. I am a Women’s and Gender Studies major, so I have some issues with the whole structure and some of the patriarchal things about how only guys can have houses. Girls can’t have houses, we have one dorm.
How happy were you with the nightlife at Bucknell? Is there anything you would change if you could?
I don’t think I would change anything necessarily. The only thing I’m coming across now is I have a very late birthday, so I won’t be 21 until like halfway through my first semester of senior year. That has an impact on me just because I can’t get into a bar with all my friends and I’ll be hanging out with the juniors next year until I turn 21.
There should be changes, I think as there should be on any campus. I’m not saying Bucknell in particular. There’s always the issue of on campus sexual assault that happens in these crowded, dark frat parties. I have never had issues, and none of the friends I have had either. You just have to be very smart and careful and always aware of your surroundings.
We have this program called Speak Up Bucknell, which focuses on on-campus sexual assault. Each freshman that comes in has a huge orientation program about it and everyone’s very aware of it, but it still happens and that is something that I think all campuses need to be working on.
How did you meet your closest friends?
I met them through my sorority sophomore year.
Do you think that people of races and sexual orientations mix socially?
I think that’s definitely something Bucknell could work on because I think a lot of people have noticed that it’s one type of girl who’s rushing mostly. There are really good programs for international students and other diverse groups, but [mostly just people in those groups participate in them]. I think having a more inclusive campus is something that students are trying to work on and I think it is very important.
How would you describe the social scene?
I think it’s definitely work hard, play hard. School is always first for everyone, then when school is over and you talk about hanging out on a Wednesday night or on the weekend. But school comes first and social life makes that better.
What is the impact of Greek life on social life?
I think it has really transformed my experience because everything is centered around Greek life. Like, where you live and who you hang out with. My friend group freshman year was completely different than sophomore and up. I think the friends that I will be graduating with next year are all in my sorority and I didn’t know them at all before.
How would you describe the student body?
I think it’s very homogenous as a group. I think there’s one type of student who is in the majority, who is seeking frat parties or being in a sorority, but is also very conscious. I would say people are very into social justice and if there is an important speaker on campus everyone comes out to support them. Also, if there’s a football game everyone’s supporting them. So, it’s a very close-knit campus.
Do you think people are happy with their choice of Bucknell by senior year? Do you think people love Bucknell?
Definitely. I think that’s really evident when you talk to alumni, especially two or three years out. They talk about how their friends from high school are having a tough time or something in the job world, but how alumni are just always willing to help and they always are willing to share their experiences with how helpful the Bucknell education is for finding jobs.
Has the alumni network helped you find internships or jobs?
Yeah, definitely. The internship I have this summer actually came through an alum. I got connected to an alum through my aunt. I wanted to talk to him about his career path and the job I have coming up because I was a little wary about it at first. He talked to me for at least an hour about how great it sounded and how you can frame it to make it perfect for what I’m trying to do in the future. He actually helped me make a list of goals I had for the summer, and I had just met him over the phone. It was very nice and helpful.
How helpful has the career office been?
Very helpful. As I mentioned, I was abroad this past semester and I was panicking the whole time about internships because phone calls were a six-hour different. There were a lot of complications with my internship search for this summer. I had meetings with them in the past so there was one person I was very comfortable with. I would email her frantically like, “Hi. Please help.” I had great experiences with all of them, whether it’s getting a resume checked or going over a cover letter. I have even asked them about how to apply to things or where do I find certain things. They are just so helpful.
Advice for Prospective Freshmen
What is something you wish you knew about Bucknell before entering as a freshman?
I was originally kind of disappointed with my housing situation freshman year just because there is one downhill dorm called Vedder which houses [over 350] freshmen. I felt very isolated from that whole group because if you’re not living down there, there is no other way to meet people other than if you just happen to meet them in one of your classes or something like that. Uphill is a very small percentage of the freshman group.
The other thing I wish I knew more about was course selection. Luckily, I’m going to be finishing with all my requirements. But I think that’s something that they should warn incoming students about a little bit to get them done ahead of time. Like, do not wait to do a lab science until your senior year. You might not get in or be able to make it fit with your schedule. I think course selection is so stressful each time it comes around because you could be last and have very few classes left. Just know it’s all going to work out as long as you don’t take a million classes that don’t fit your requirements.
What is something that a student may miss on a visit that’s worth checking out?
I would definitely spend time downtown in Lewisburg. I miss it so much because I’ve been away since December. When my mom and I visited we ate at a little pizza place that I’ve been to like a billion times with my friends. It was a nice day and we ate our pizza in the park and it’s just nice to know that it’s a beautiful school but you also have a great town.
Reasons to attend Bucknell:
1) It has amazing academics. What I’ve heard from the majority of people is that they love their classes and they love their teachers. People are so sad to leave at the end of the year because you’ve had such a great experience. People also love to learn at Bucknell.
2) I genuinely think you are in such a good position graduating from Bucknell because you have so many connections in many different cities. You get to graduate feeling very comfortable I think.
3) Being on such a small, close-knit campus, you will find life-long friends. They all say that, it’s so cheesy, but I really think you’re going to graduate with your bridesmaids. All that cheesy nonsense.
Reasons to not attend Bucknell:
1) If you are deciding between a city school and Bucknell, I think that’s a sign to not go to Bucknell because it’s so rural. You are in central Pennsylvania. If you want to be near stores and malls, rural Pennsylvania’s not for you.
2) Because it is a small school, there isn’t [as many pre-professional majors]. Like, there isn’t a marketing major. There are opportunities to make your own major, but you have to think about that freshman year. If there is something you are really interested in studying, don’t pick Bucknell if it’s not on there.