An Interview On
Colby College

Background

Interview Date:December 2018

Gender Identity: Female
Race/Ethnicity: Caucasian
Sexual Orientation: Heterosexual
Graduation Year: 2021
High School Experience: Private school outside of Boston, Massachusetts with a graduating class of about 25 students.
First Generation College Student: No
Major: Economics with a concentration in Financial Markets
Minors: Physics and Art double minor
Extracurricular Activities: I am part of the Colby Student Investment Association, the Club Ski Team, the Pottery Club, and Colby Dancers.

Did any of your extracurricular activities have a particularly big impact on your experience?
Socially, the Club Ski Team has helped me make friends in my community and given me something a little smaller to latch on to. The Investment Association has helped me develop some professional skills, especially with my field being in finance.

Academic Experience

Can you describe the weekly coursework for your major?
I have mostly problem sets. I sometime will have papers and then I’ll always have midterms and final exams.

Is there anything you feel your major’s department does especially well or poorly?
The Economics department does a really good job of making what you’re learning broader than just the theory that you’re learning. Overall, I like that it’s broader than just an Economics major or a business major would be.

How would you describe the learning environment? Do you think it’s particularly competitive or collaborative?
It can be both. It’s pretty collaborative in that I rarely study on my own and people are pretty willing to help you and receive help. At the same time, it can be competitive because everybody is really smart. It’s not cutthroat, but people are competitive, especially with themselves.

How accessible are your professors?
They’re very accessible. I go to office hours every week pretty much. They also respond to emails and phone calls as well.

Do you think people are open to multiple schools of thought in the classroom?
Generally, yes. It’s a pretty liberal school so, depending on the subject you’re talking about, people generally lean towards a more liberal perspective. Especially in the Economics department, I think people’s opinions vary pretty widely and people are open to accepting other’s perspectives.

Why did you pick your major? Are you happy with your choice?
I’ve always been interested in how the economy functions and how I can educate myself to improve the economy in my community and, in a broader sense, the world. I chose the concentration because it gives you more specific course load and more technical skills, like accounting and corporate finance knowledge, which will hopefully make it easier to find a job.

On and Around Campus

Where have you lived on campus?
Freshman: Piper Hall with one roommate.

Sophomore: Heights Hall in a single.

How was transitioning from your hometown in Massachusetts to Waterville, ME?
It was a bit of a culture shock because of how rural it is. I live in a suburb of Boston and it’s significantly more rural and there are some cultural aspects that are different. Culturally, the population is of a different demographic. [The population of Waterville, ME is about 16,300 people, the median household income is $37,000, and 84% of people are White.]

What is your favorite off-campus restaurant?
Pad Thai Too

What is your favorite place to get away from campus?
I like to go skiing at Sugarloaf.

Pros and cons of being located in Waterville, ME:
Pros: 1) Everybody stays on campus so you’re always with your classmates. It creates a nice community because people aren’t leaving.
2) If you like winter sports, there’s a lot of opportunity for that.

Cons: 1) If you’re not an outdoors person and like being in a city, there’s not a lot of access to that especially if you don’t have a car.

Social Opportunities

What kind of weekend activities or nightlife do you like to participate in?
There are mostly on-campus parties on Friday and Saturday and then there is bar night on Thursdays for people who are over 21. The parties are held in on-campus apartments and there will sometimes be smaller parties in bigger dorms. On occasion, there will be parties at off-campus houses too. Generally, the on-campus parties are mixers between teams and then they open up to anyone around 11. Sometimes there will be themed parties for people who are not on sports teams.

Can you describe a typical night going out freshman year when you were less socially established?
We’d hang out with a few friends in someone’s room and then go to the apartments at 11 and try to meet up with other friends there.

What is an alternative to going to a party or a bar that you like for a night out?
They have a bunch of events in The Spa, which is a social center. They’ll have painting or dances as an alternative.

How happy have you been with the weekend options at Colby? Is there anything you would change if you could?
If I wanted to go to a big party school, Colby would not be the place for it, and that is perfect for me so that worked. If I were to want more nightlife activity I would go somewhere different. It’s a nice balance of work life and nightlife for me.

What have been some of your favorite times at Colby?
Especially in the fall when it’s still warm out, it’s really nice to go hiking with my friends and get outdoors. Waterville’s a really pretty place in Maine to explore when it’s nice out. There are also a lot of student-run concerts outside in the fall.

Campus Culture

How did you meet your closest friends?
A bunch of my closest friends I met through Colby Outdoor Orientation Trips (COOT). You go on an orientation trip before you get on campus, I went hiking, and I met a bunch of people through that. I also met people through my classes and also through club skiing.

How would you describe the overall social scene?
It’s a very friendly environment. You always see people saying hi in the dining halls. It’s generally a very social environment and because it’s so small everyone knows everyone. It’s pretty easy to make connections and make friends and now that I’m a sophomore it’s very easy for me to sit down and have a conversation with people.

To what extent do people of different races and sexual orientations mix socially?
I’m not sure if I can speak to that very fairly, but I think there some struggle. They do have different clubs, like there is SOBLU for Black and Latino students to have a support group. I think there is some struggle, but I don’t think I can speak to it very well.

How would you describe the student body?
Generally, very outdoorsy and crunchy and also academically focused.

Do you think people are generally happy with their choice of Colby by senior year? Do you think people leave loving Colby?
Yeah, I think so.

How do you like the size of Colby in terms of undergraduate enrollment? How has that influenced your experience? [Colby has about 2,000 students.]
The size is one of the biggest factors of why I chose to go to Colby. It’s so small and everyone stays on campus so everyone gets to know each other very well very quickly. There’s never a time where I meet someone where I don’t know one of their friends. It makes it really easy to get to know people.

Careers

Has the alumni network helped you find internships or jobs?
I just started to do that. We have Colby Connect which is useful because there is a big alumni base and each alum lists what they can do to help you.

Have you learned any computer programs or languages that will be helpful to you professionally?
I’ve used Excel through the investment association and physics classes.

Advice for Prospective Freshmen

What is something you wish you knew about Colby before entering as a freshman?
To not be afraid to reach out to your professors and your classmates for any help you need because everyone wants you to succeed there. If you’re too shy to ask for help, it’s going to be much more difficult. I was sort of shy my freshman year, but now that I’ve realized what the purpose of having professors and other classmates is for, I think it’s much easier to be successful if you reach out and ask for help when you need it.

What is something a prospective student interested in finance may want to know that we haven’t touched on?
One of the reasons I chose to go to a liberal arts school and study finance is because, if I went to a business school everyone would be studying business, but at Colby it’s a small portion of students studying business and the rest of students are studying something else. Also, you can choose to minor or double major in other things, like I know people who double major in Art and Economics, so it gives you more flexibility in what you can study.

What is something a prospective student may miss on a visit that’s worth checking out?
I would definitely go to the dining hall so you can get a feel for how students interact in a more casual setting than the classroom. It’s a place where you can tell a lot about the social culture of the school.

Reasons to attend Colby:
1) It’s a welcoming social culture.
2) It’s a collaborative but competitive academic environment.
3) The small rural campus.
4) Access to your professors.

Reasons to not attend Colby:
1) The facilities are small and we don’t have every cutting-edge tool that you might want.
2) There is a small number of academic disciplines, so if you’re interested in a specific major Colby might not have.
3) If you want a big sports culture, we don’t have that.
4) If you want a strong party culture, we don’t have that.

Notice: Colby College is a trademark. Induck uses it for descriptive purposes, not to imply affiliation with, endorsement from, or sponsorship by Colby College.

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