BackgroundInterview Date:November 2018
Gender Identity: Male
Race/Ethnicity: South Asian
Sexual Orientation: Gay
Graduation Year: 2020
High School Experience: I went to a private high school in Pakistan and my graduating class was roughly 350 people. There was a culture of going to college.
First Generation College Student: No
Minors: Entrepreneurship and Economics
Extracurricular Activities: I’m in the Muslim Student Association, as well as the South Asian Student Association.
Can you describe your weekly coursework for Management?
There are problem sets, but it’s mostly essays and presentations.
Is there anything you feel the Management department does especially well or poorly?
They don’t have a lot of tenured professors. They keep experimenting with new professors, and some of them aren’t as good, so sometimes it gets kind of hard. What they do well is they have a fixed way of doing things, so it doesn’t change quickly like with other majors.
How would you describe the learning environment? Do you think it’s particularly competitive or collaborative?
It’s more so that people are there to help you, and it’s not as competitive. Even students in your classes will help. The professors are really understanding as well.
What has been your favorite and least favorite class in your major?
I really like an accounting class I took my sophomore year because I liked the professor. My least favorite class in my major has been Operations Management. It’s a lot of boring work, and nothing is stimulating about it.
How accessible have your professors been?
The professors are pretty accessible. They hold office hours and will reply to your emails within a day. Even after class you can stop and talk to them.
Why did you pick your major? Are you happy with your choice?
I picked my major because I studied similar subjects in high school, like economics and accounting. Now, I’m sort of a mixture of both. I’m happy with it but also wish I would’ve double majored Economics with Management.
How was transitioning from the high school education in your home country to the college education?
Before starting, all students are required to take a writing assignment, and they place you in a writing class if you don’t pass that test. I think that was really helpful for some international students who weren’t ready to write in college, or didn’t know what the American system was. Other than that, I didn’t find it to be a particularly hard transition, it’s just back home I’d have more exams, and here it’s more so weekly essays.
Are there systems in place that help international students feel at home, and do you think they are effective?
There are a lot of systems and clubs where we can discuss our issues. Also, we have the International Students Office, and they’re pretty helpful if we’re struggling.
On and Around Campus
Where have you lived on campus?
Freshman: Johnson Sanford Center with one roommate
Sophomore: Johnson Sanford Center with no roommates
Junior: Johnson Sanford Center with no roommates
Can you describe the level of safety you’ve experienced on and around campus?
I feel pretty safe on campus, and we get emails from the university police about incidences off campus. If I’m going 5-minutes away from campus late at night I’d be a little wary.
Pros and Cons of being located in Worcester, MA?
1) It’s kind of close to Boston.
2) It’s not a big city so it’s not that expensive.
1) There’s not much to do here. It’s a pretty boring city otherwise.
2) You can feel unsafe at times.
What kind of nightlife or weekend activities do you like to participate in?
There are clubs here, and most are 21+, but a few are 18+ so you can go there. Every weekend there will be parties in the off-campus housing.
What nights of the week do you regularly do things?
It depends. I might go out once every two weeks.
Can you describe a typical night going out freshman year?
Freshman year I wouldn’t go out at all. I didn’t have many friends, but with the friends I did have we’d stay in and order food. Now that I have more friends, we usually go out. It’s much different.
What’s an alternative to going to a party or a bar that you like for a night out?
An alternative is going to Boston, and some buses that can take us there. Off-campus parties are boring, so I’d rather go to Boston.
How happy are you with the nightlife? Is there anything you would change if you could?
I think the nightlife is fine. I’m pretty happy with it, and I think it’s pretty similar to other colleges. I don’t think I’d change much.
How has identifying as LGBTQ influenced your nightlife experience?
Not that much. It hasn’t had a big impact, but I think Clark has a really large LGBTQ student body.
What have been your favorite times at Clark?
The huge dinners are pretty fun. I’d say anytime my friends are around and we’re hanging out or going out are the most fun times. We also have this big event called Gala.
How did you meet your closest friends?
I met my closest friend in a student club.
How would you describe the overall social scene at Clark?
I wouldn’t say it’s a big party school compared to others. Everyone socializes very nicely, it’s low-key, and you can always find things to do. You can easily find what you like.
To what extent do you feel people of different races and sexual orientations mix socially?
I think Clark is more diverse than other schools. There are a lot of people that are always hanging out, so you won’t see just White kids hanging out or something like that. I think everyone has a diverse group of friends. [14% of students are international, and 20% are ALANA (Asian-, Latino-, African-, and Native-American).
How would you describe the student body?
When people party it’s not cliquey at all, and everyone is super friendly. There is one club that has the most funding, and they can be kind of cliquey. The athletes just hang out with each other, but it’s pretty easy to befriend people here.
How strong is the LGBTQ community on campus?
I think it’s pretty strong. We have a very large LGBTQ population here at Clark. I think we have a lot of resources as well, including two or three clubs.
Were there parts of Clark, or American college as a whole, that surprised you?
It’s a lot different than how it’s portrayed to be in movies. It’s not all partying, it’s a lot more studying which surprised me.
To what extent do you feel international students mix with domestic students?
A lot of my friends are domestic students. Sometimes I feel like there’s a barrier, but other than that we mix pretty well.
Do people generally seem happy with their college choice by senior year? Do people leave loving your school?
I think most people like Clark. Some people do love it, but a lot just think they are good with financial aid. Everybody likes Clark, but nobody has school spirit. Some people are generally happy to be here, but others are happy when it’s over and they can leave. [85% of Clark students receive financial aid.]
How do you like the size of your school? [Clark has an undergraduate population of 2,204.]
It’s good. Clark is a relatively small school, so we don’t have more than 30 kids in any class. Having that individual attention from professors is good. They’ll start to know your name and your writing style. It’s helpful when the class has fewer people. [The average undergraduate class size is 20.]
Have you learned any computer programs or computer languages that will be helpful professionally?
For Management majors, we have to use Microsoft Office Suite. I think it’s really helpful because a lot of jobs require us to know this.
Advice for Prospective Freshmen
What is something you wish you knew about Clark before entering as a freshman?
I wish I knew more about Worcester and how the city was. The city is very boring without much to do. It can be dull at times.
What is something that a prospective international student should know that we haven’t touched on yet?
If they’re an international student, they should be prepared that Worcester probably isn’t as fun as where they come from. You’ll have to find a good group of friends to have fun.
What is something a prospective student may miss on a visit that’s worth checking out?
Checking out the dorms is really important. They should know where they could potentially be placed so they can make a good decision beforehand.
Reasons to attend Clark:
1) It’s a smaller school so there’s a lot more attention. There are lots of resources on campus to help, and they are very helpful.
2) The professors are really good and are here to help us. They are accessible, and all have open office hours so you can walk in anytime and get help.
Reasons to not attend Clark:
1) The city is very boring. There isn’t much to do.
2) Some people say Clark is pretty liberal, so if you’re more conservative, you might have an issue adjusting.