An Interview On
Connecticut College

Background

Interview Date:June 2017

Gender Identity: Male
Race/Ethnicity: Caucasian
Sexual Orientation: Heterosexual
Graduation Year: 2017 – Transferred in sophomore fall in 2014.
High School Experience: Private school in Baltimore, MD with a graduating class of about 100 students. There was a culture of going to college.
First Generation College Student: No
Major: Economics
Minor: English
Extracurricular Activities: I was a varsity athlete but stopped, I played Club Lacrosse, I was on the Economics Student Advisory Board, part of Ski Club, and played intramural soccer.

Did any of your extracurricular activities have a particularly big impact on your experience?
Yeah, I loved being part of Ski Club and playing intramural soccer because I met a lot of new people. Intramural sports only happen in the late spring at Conn, so because they happen so rarely people get really into them. I made a lot of friends playing intramural soccer my senior year and wish I did it earlier.

Academic Experience

What was your major coursework like?
For Economics it depended on the professor and the class. It was mostly problem sets and exams, though my seminar had weekly 1-page papers.

Did you especially like or dislike anything about your major’s department? Did they do anything especially well or poorly?
I didn’t like how much classes differed by which professor taught it. There was one Econometrics professor that people hated so much a lot of people put off taking it to avoid her. It sometimes felt like you were trying to game the system by taking a class with a certain professor rather than taking the class you wanted to take. Like, I took a super easy 300 level class with a professor who had retired but was still teaching this one course while my friend took a different 300 level class with a hard professor and he was miserable and got a bad grade.

How accessible were your professors?
The professors were very, very accessible. There were a few in-demand professors where you’d have to wait in line at their office hours but you could still email them and try to schedule a time outside of that to meet. I met with my professor every time I wrote a paper because they’d give great feedback.

What was your favorite class in your major?
My seminar: Economics of Discrimination. The studies we read tried to find numeric evidence for different types of discrimination and it was interesting to see how they did and didn’t find it. I also really liked Corporate Finance because it was very relevant to real life.

What was your least favorite class in your major?
Econometrics. I took it with the professor that everybody tried to avoid. You had to basically teach yourself how to use Statista, which is a statistics computer program.

What was a fun class you took outside of your major?
I took both Creative Writing and Narrative Nonfiction with the same professor, Blanche Boyd. Definitely take her if you can. Those were really fun, and sometimes difficult classes.

Why did you pick your major? Are you happy with your choice?
I was originally going to be an English major, but I realized that a lot of the jobs I was interested in required having a business-focused major so I switched to Economics. I’m happy with my choice because I feel like I got some quality real-life information, but I wish we had more Excel work because we didn’t have much of that.

On and Around Campus

Where have you lived on campus?
Sophomore: Double in Branford.

Junior: Was abroad fall semester then had a single in Branford. I like Branford because of how central it is. I really chose Branford that semester because I didn’t want to be in the Plex.

Senior: Double in a Winchester Apartment.

What was your favorite living situation?
Winchester Apartment was my favorite by far. I hated being in the dorms because I didn’t feel like I was free to do whatever I wanted having RA’s and Campo there.

How walkable is the area surrounding campus?
You need to have a car to do anything off campus. People also drive from the athletic center to campus because it’s across Mohegan Ave.

What is your favorite off-campus restaurant?
Kampdog for breakfast. Chester’s BBQ in Waterford for dinner.

What is your favorite place to get away from campus?
I liked going to get dinner in Mystic or drive to New Haven or Providence to see concerts. I didn’t do a whole lot off-campus during the day. One day I went to Newport to see the mansions which was fun.

Pros and cons of being in New London?
Pros: (1) You are close to a lot of cool cities on the east coast. Providence and New Haven are both 45 minutes away. New York is 2 hours away and Boston is about 1.5 hours away. I went to concerts all up and down the coast, which was fun.
(2) You’re on the water and there are beaches nearby.
(3) There are two big casinos nearby, Mohegan Sun and Foxwoods, which can be fun and a nice change of pace. They also have concerts.
(4) There are cute New England beach towns around it, like Mystic.

Cons: (1) It’s a poor town that can be sketchy at times. Conn’s pretty close to a public housing development. [There are about 7.30 violent crimes per 1,000 residents. The poverty rate is about 28%.]
(2) There’s not much going on in New London other than the bar scene. Though, I wouldn’t want to go to a New London bar if I didn’t know Conn people would be there.

Social Opportunities

What kind of weekend activities or nightlife do you like to participate in?
I usually go out at night on Thursday, Friday if there’s stuff going on, Saturday, and senior year I went out Tuesday a lot to campus bar. Thursday night is the biggest night at Conn and is the only regular night you can really guarantee will be fun. Whenever I had friends visit I always said they had to come on a Thursday. Everybody from Conn goes to a bar on Bank Street downtown. It’s fun because everybody who wants to go out goes to that bar so you see all your friends. Fridays and Saturdays are spent on campus, though they have been becoming bar nights. During the days I will do homework sometimes or hang out on the Green and throw a football when the weather’s nice.

What have been your favorite times at Conn?
I like when people watch soccer games on Tempel Green. My favorite nights are either when they have events at the casinos or the first nights back after a break. People are always so excited to be back so there’s great energy.

How happy are you with the weekend options at Conn? Is there anything you would change if you could?
I’m fine with it. I would like to see Fridays become more popular and also more events during the day. I know at some schools they have day things even when it’s not that warm and that doesn’t really happen here. At Conn, it’s all about who you’re with not what you’re doing, so as I got older and more ingrained in the social scene I had more and more fun.

Campus Culture

How did you meet your closest friends?
I met one through playing a sport with him. I met another through transferring in sophomore fall. I then met others through mutual friends and just generally being friendly and outgoing. Junior year my friend group and another group of guys merged friend groups and it was a lot more fun having a big group of guys.

How would you describe the social scene?
I definitely would say Conn is cliquey. Everybody has a distinct group of friends, but within that group of friends, you get people that bounce around more. Whole groups will mix with other groups of friends for smaller parties and friend groups will sometimes merge and create bigger friend groups, but you don’t often see people two people from different groups go hang out with another group. Sometimes I would want to go do something other than what my friends wanted to do and I’d feel like I was leaving them out to dry. I think it’s cliquey because of the housing situation. When you’re younger it’s difficult to have big groups of people hang out because most people live in a single. This makes it so you’re always with your closest friends, so you have to branch out more to meet new people. There is a major divide between the people that like the New London bar scene on Thursday nights and people that don’t. There are people who I never saw just because we did such different things on the weekends.

To what extent do people of different races and sexual orientations mix socially?
I think they mix, but the issue is there really aren’t a lot of people of color at Conn. I see people of different races and sexual orientations mixing all the time, but there just isn’t that many of them. If there is separation it’s not because of race or sexual orientation it’s because of the friend group. I’ve been at parties where there was almost an equal amount of LGBT people to heterosexual people. [About 6% of the student body is Black, 5% is Hispanic, and 8% are Asian.]

Do people seem happy with Conn by senior year?
I would say generally, yes. There is a collection of people that don’t like it because they feel suffocated by the rules of campus or the housing situation. Some people are a little resentful because they got in trouble with the school and it was not easy for them to walk across the stage and graduate. For the most part though, yes, people are happy. Most of the people I know are going to really miss Conn.

Careers

Has the alumni network helped you find internships or jobs?
In my job search, I contacted alums but never ended up getting a job from them. I think they are pretty receptive to people contacting them, especially the younger ones.

What have you used the career office for? How helpful were they?
The career office at Conn is really strong if you utilize them to their fullest extent. Every time I went in to edit my resume I did it with my career advisor. Looking back on it, I wish I used her more because I’m sure I could have gotten much more help.

Have you learned any computer programs or computer languages through your coursework that will be helpful to you professionally?
I learned some Stata and a little bit of Excel. I think that’s one of the major shortcomings of the Economics department. It seemed like they expected students to have a background in Excel in Corporate Finance and Econometrics but most students didn’t because the earlier classes didn’t teach it.

Advice for Prospective Freshmen

What is something you wish you knew about Connecticut College before you entered as a freshman?
I wish I knew that it was a bar school and how friend group-based the social scene can be. Because there most people live in single dorms, there are not many good places to have big groups of people hang out, so people tend to have their little group of friends and then stick with them. I also wish I had branched out more as a younger student. Doing ski club, even though I had to learn to ski to do it, and playing intramural soccer was a lot of fun and I met a bunch more people through those activities.

What is something a prospective student may miss on a visit that’s worth checking out?
I’d say go check out the Ridges and Winchesters because you’ll be down there a lot. Check out the Plex because lots of people live there and the school doesn’t like showing it because it looks like a hospital. Go to Bank Street in New London and see Mystic because you’ll spend time there too.

Reasons to attend Connecticut College:
1) Good academics
2) It’s in the NESCAC, so more people have heard of it. Also, other people from other the NESCAC schools will have a slightly stronger connection to you, at least in my experience.
3) It has a pretty vibrant nightlife for its size. [There are about 1,800 students.]
4) It’s a gorgeous campus.
5) There is a great community on campus.

Reasons to not attend Connecticut College:
1) It’s small. You can’t go anywhere without running into people you know.
2) Housing. Lots of people are in dorms with a shared bathroom all four years and it’s hard to get out of a single until senior year. There’s also no off-campus housing so we have to go to bars or stay on campus for social life.
3) New London is a pretty lackluster town. [The poverty rate in New London is about 28%.]

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

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