BackgroundInterview Date:April 2018
Gender Identity: Female
Graduation Year: 2020
High School Experience: Private all-girls school in London with a graduating class of about 87
Minors: Government and Philosophy. I’m also in the Holleran Center for Community Action and Public Policy.
Extracurricular Activities: I’m a student-athlete, I occasionally write for The College Voice, and I volunteer at the New London Homeless Hospitality Center
Have any of your extracurricular activities had a particularly big impact on your experience?
Definitely my [sports] team. As an international student, coming here and having a team and having a set of friends already made for me was pretty important for my transition.
Can you describe your weekly coursework for your major?
It’s mostly reading. I have like three papers that are usually like 5 to 7 pages equally spread throughout the semester, so most of my weekly work is reading books. I read like 200 pages a week.
Is there anything that you feel your major’s department does especially well or especially poorly?
They’re really good at getting speakers in and having different events. The courses are also really good, you have courses on just about anything. I think the department could do a better job of promoting strong writing skills. I think English majors are generally strong writers, but I think they could do a better job in building those skills.
How would you describe the learning environment? Do you think it’s particularly competitive or collaborative?
In my English classes, it’s really collaborative and we have really small classes. I think the biggest class I have this semester is 8 or 12 students. It makes it so it has a real community feel. My Government classes are bigger and there is more of a tension in the room because there are more people and people feel less likely to voice their own opinions because the subject of government is more controversial.
What has been your favorite class in your major?
War & Peace in the Modern Middle East and it focuses on poetry about the conflicts in the 20th and 21st century. It’s just so different and interesting.
What has been your least favorite class in your major?
Probably the course I had to take this year to become a Writing Center Tutor. It was just like a very theory-based teaching kind of course. I definitely didn’t hate it but it wasn’t my favorite.
What is a fun class you’ve taken outside of your major?
I took a history course which was about Europe from the Middle Ages to the modern day and it was quite art based, we would examine pieces of art from different times. It was fun because it was outside of what I normally take.
Why did you pick English?
I have always known I wanted to be an English major, I love writing and I love reading. I want to write when I’m older so it was just kind of a natural thing.
How is it managing your sport and your coursework?
It was pretty difficult sometimes especially at the beginning of the season when we have two practices a day and stuff like that. I honestly find it helps me structure my time and really single out times during a day where I would be able to do my work and do it, rather than be like “Oh, I have all day, I’ll just wait for another 10 minutes.” It gives me structure. It’s definitely difficult but very doable.
On and Around Campus
Where have you lived on campus?
Freshman: Triple in Plant. It was a pretty big room actually. It’s one of the older dorms on campus. Like the radiator was really loud, and the room would be really, really warm or really cold. I really enjoyed it, it was very central on campus so I could go anywhere really quickly.
Sophomore: Single in KB [Katherine Blunt]. I was originally in Johnson but I changed over the summer. It’s more of a community in KB and it’s still pretty central. Going from having roommates to being in a single was pretty difficult because you’re used to coming back and having people there and I don’t really have that anymore really. But I do have friends that live on the second and third floor of KB so we usually hang out until I go to bed.
What is your favorite place to get away from campus?
I really like the beach, so Ocean Beach Park or Harkness Memorial State Park Beach. I also love [the town of] Mystic. I love going to eat there and walking along the water.
What kind of weekend activities nightlife do you like to participate in?
Usually, I go to a party at a Ridge or a team apartment on Thursday and Saturday. This year my team has Freeman Tower so we go there sometimes. If I were to go out on a Saturday, I’d go to a party at my team’s Ridge and pop between Ridges. Freshman year I went out with my team exclusively, while this year I’ve gone out with different people.
What have been your favorite times at Conn College?
Floralia is a big one obviously. That was really, really fun last year.
How happy are you with the nightlife at Conn? Is there anything you would change?
Sometimes I wish it was slightly bigger. For the most part, I really do love it here. And I really like having the team, as I said it makes the experience much more secure. I came here and knew who I was going to be hanging out with. It wasn’t really that intimidating to have to make new friends because they were already set up for me while I was away from home. It’s a really good community here.
To what extent do you feel the international students mix with domestic students at Connecticut College?
Personally, I’m mainly friends with domestic students because of my team. I personally mix with Americans, but I also see a lot of international students who don’t do that. I definitely see groups of international students who don’t really extend beyond themselves. For the most part, people definitely integrate pretty well. If their friend group is mostly international they will have friends outside of that.
How effective were the other methods in place with helping international students transition?
We had our own day of orientation, which I think helped us all meet each other. The orientation could be very awkward and people don’t always love those ice breaker activities so I didn’t find that super helpful. But it did mean you would see students who were internationals and you could approach them. A lot of mixers happen and are organized by the International Student [Association], but I haven’t had that much experience with them. I do think there are lots of options for international students to meet people.
How would you describe the social scene at Connecticut College?
Definitely not wild. It’s a good mix. Sometimes you do have Saturday nights with loads of people at the Ridges that are really, really fun. But, it depends a lot on who’s there, who you know. You’ll usually be going out with the same people as well. Even if you’re going to a new Ridge, you’ll still probably see a bunch of people you know. So, I would say it’s mainly in specific groups and you’ll be with the same kind of people. It’s not huge in terms of going out in the day, although that happens in the spring sometimes.
Advice for Prospective Freshmen
What is something you wish you knew before entering Conn as a freshman?
I would say what the college’s financial situation was, but I don’t think that would’ve majorly impacted my decision. [The Connecticut College endowment is about $300 million, the second lowest in the NESCAC.]
What is something a prospective student may miss on a visit that’s worth checking out?
The Arboretum. I think it’s a really nice place to see and I don’t always think that people who come for a day visit get to see.
What is something a prospective international student should know that we haven’t touched on?
Be prepared to feel like slightly less mobile. Especially in London you have the public transport network and you can so easily get around. It’s not really that easy here, you have to have a car or use the Camel Van. I’ve never used the Camel Van. Then for somebody who’s never been to America before, just understanding out big it is. If you want to go to the nearest city, like Boston, it’s still 2 hours. Then also meeting people who grew up in tiny, tiny towns was so unfamiliar for me. Like so people are from town of 2,000 people where everyone knows everyone.
Reasons to attend Connecticut College:
1) They have really good academic programs and centers.
2) Lots of opportunities to get involved in extracurricular activities
3) The size, the community is nice. If you want to see friendly faces wherever you go and recognize people come here.
4) If you’re a sports person it’s pretty good in terms of team spirit and being part of a team here is something people really enjoy and want to do. Even if you’re not on varsity there’s club and intramural.
Reasons to not attend Connecticut College:
1) If you want the big school experience don’t come here.
2) If you like cooking your own food don’t come because most people stay on the meal plan all four years.
3) If you want a metropolitan city environment don’t come. It’s quieter and quaint in a way.