BackgroundInterview Date:December 2018
Gender Identity: Female
Sexual Orientation: Heterosexual
Graduation Year: 2021
High School Experience: Attended a boarding school in England, and then a private school in Ghana after a gap year. The boarding school did not have a culture of going to the USA for college, but the school in Ghana did have a culture of transitioning to American colleges.
First Generation College Student: No
Extracurricular Activities: African Diaspora Dance Association (ADDA), Club Lacrosse, Black Student Union, and the Economic Society.
Did any of your extracurricular activities have a particularly big impact on your experience?
The African dance group has because it is very time consuming, especially leading up to shows. You have to assimilate into the community and basically be family because you are really with the group all the time.
Can you describe your weekly coursework for Economics?
During this semester taking macroeconomics, we have 3 midterms which generally determines our grade at the end. For Economic Development, we typically have written memos that make up our grade.
Is there anything you feel the Economics Department does especially well or poorly?
It does a good job of interacting with the students and guiding them in the right direction for taking courses and provides good study abroad opportunities. They also help guide us during the internship process.
How would you describe the learning environment? Do you think it’s particularly competitive or collaborative?
I would say the environment is quite competitive if you want it to be. There are lots of driven people here who are looking for opportunities in the real world, so being at the school makes you want to do the same.
How accessible have your professors been?
They are pretty accessible and always have office hours. You can also go to town hall format discussion sessions.
Why did you pick Economics? Are you happy with your choice?
I choose Economics because my parents wanted me to do my best. I enjoy it because it gives me a different perspective on life. In a way, you get to see things more analytically and better understand consumer trends.
How was transitioning from your schools in Ghana and England to Clark in terms of academics?
The American system is not as intense as it’s brought up to be, and everything is spread out. I find that If you don’t overload your boat, you won’t sink. I think it’s a lot more collaborative here, which is good, and it is easier to talk to professors and get what you need from them. It seems like professors are more of your friends in a way.
On and Around Campus
Where have you lived on campus?
Freshman: Wright Hall with 1 roommate
Sophomore: On campus apartment with 1 roommate
How was transitioning from Ghana and England to Clark, MA?
Massachusetts itself is a lot colder, and I didn’t anticipate the wind or extreme snow. I also didn’t know there were mosquitos here. There were people on campus from my school in Ghana who helped make it a smooth transition overall.
Can you describe the level of safety you’ve experienced on and around campus?
I haven’t experienced and safety issues. We have good campus police, and we can use escorts to go around town within a half-mile radius if needed.
What is your favorite off-campus restaurant?
Anokyekrom – The closest Ghanaian food around.
What is your favorite place to get away from campus?
Acoustic Java Café. It has light music in the background and is a really nice place to study.
Pros and Cons of being in Worcester, MA?
1) It’s close to Boston, about 1 hour away. [Clark to Boston is 47 miles.]
2) It has a nice community, making a bad area better.
1) You need to be precautious because there isn’t much to do [in my opinion], even though they say it’s the second biggest town in MA. [Falling second to Boston.]
2) It’s very windy.
What kind of nightlife or weekend activities do you like to participate in?
Personally, I like to go to parties. There are lots of house parties and hubs around. We have some student-run activities, such as date nights. There are also dance shows, plays, and films put on by the Film Society. I tend to go to parties at off-campus houses on Friday and Saturday nights.
Describe a typical going out night freshman year. How did it differ from when you are now more established socially on campus?
I would get dressed, go to a [smaller party], and then the party starts around 11 or 11:30 PM. If it doesn’t get busted, it usually goes until about 2 AM. My freshman year a lot of parties got busted, but now they seem not to get shut down as much.
How happy are you with the nightlife? Is there anything you would change if you could?
I think it’s good, but there needs to be more variety. The house parties get very repetitive and feel like the same thing every time.
What have been your favorite times at Clark?
Being able to live in my own room, and the relationships I’ve been able to have with my roommates. Free-day is one of my favorite days when someone comes to campus to perform, and you just hang out with friends.
How did you meet your closest friends?
Some were friends of my previous roommates, and one girl I met the first week of school by playing an icebreaker game.
How would you describe the overall social scene at Clark?
You can find your niche. If you want to go out every weekend you can, or if you want to stay in you can. The social scene is what you make of it.
To what extent do you feel people of different races and sexual orientations mix socially?
It’s a very liberal university, so when you get introduced in class, it’s usually “Hi what’s your name, what are your pronouns.” I think we mix very well.
How strong is the Black community on campus?
It’s very strong. Being in America, I have this sense of always feeling Black. There is a family [at Clark] and among different student associations that support you.
Were there any parts of Clark or American University overall that surprised you overall?
How small Worcester is, it’s almost a village, not a town. I also didn’t realize how easy the academics were. You get graded for going to class and participating. [Worcester has a population of 101,328 people.]
To what extent do you feel international students mix with domestic students?
Honestly not very much, but it also depends. I mostly hang out with international students and the groups you hang out with just happen. At the same time, there are opportunities to have domestic friends, and I do.
Has the alumni network helped you find internships or jobs?
Not personally, but we do have Clark Connect where students can find internship opportunities. It’s been beneficial for people I know.
What have you used the career office for? How helpful have they been?
I’ve been using the career office pretty regularly since my sophomore year because I feel driven here and want to push myself. They were somewhat helpful, and give you a general direction to go in. You have to do the work yourself but they will guide you along.
Advice for Prospective Freshmen
What is something you wish you knew about Clark before entering as a freshman?
How far away it is from Boston, and I didn’t realize how small the school actually is. You see the same people all the time. If anything, I would get more involved from the get-go to take away more from the whole experience. [Clark has an undergraduate population of 2,204.]
What is something that a prospective international student should know that we haven’t touched on yet?
International scholarships aren’t that high. [85% of students receive aid.] Also, the party scene is not like the movies, and it is a very different experience. We have no fraternities.
What is something that a prospective Black student should know that we haven’t touched on yet?
Don’t just hang out with the Black people, integrate into society and spend time with all the different groups.
What is something a prospective student may miss on a visit that’s worth checking out?
The art center.
Reasons to attend Clark:
1) They have a really good Psychology Department.
2) The teachers are very accommodating and helpful.
3) There are lots of opportunities to do research or get a good internship. [67% of undergraduates participate in research.]
4) The campus is small, but it’s very much a community.
Reasons to not attend Clark:
1) Don’t come if you want a big school.
2) If you need to be doing something all the time maybe it’s not for you.