An Interview On
Dickinson College

Background

Interview Date:Summer 2018

Gender Identity: Female
Race/Ethnicity: White
Graduation Year: 2018
Sexual Orientation: Heterosexual
High School Experience: Public school in Pittsburgh, PA. It was a very underfunded school without a strong culture of going to college.
First Generation College Student: No
Majors: Economics and Environmental Studies Double Major
Minor: None
Extracurricular Activities: I’m in an acapella group, and I’m part of Greek life.

Academic Experience

Can you describe your weekly coursework for your majors?
For Econ, it depended on the semester. There were lots of problem sets and homework. There are stressful math situations but I focused on the theories of economics along with a nonmainstream path, so once I passed the math portion it was fine. Environmental studies included a lot of outside lab work, which was also based on humanities, so I looked at the human impact on climate change.

Is there anything that you feel your major’s department does especially well or especially poorly?
Economics did well in offering other options aside from being math oriented which I appreciated because I was not as interested. Environmental Studies has an active sustainability program and interest in the community. They made sure sustainability education was provided to others outside of the major as well.

How would you describe the learning environment? Is it particularly competitive or collaborative?
I think for me it was collaborative because that’s how I like to learn. It’s not necessarily competitive, but that may be because I am a person who doesn’t compare my GPA to others, so I didn’t feel pressure to compete.

What is your favorite class in each of your majors?
Environmental Studies – I took an environmental leadership and social change class that was open-ended for what we were studying. We studied theories of social change. On one project, we could pursue anything we wanted that would fulfill service not already occurring locally.

Economics – Gender and development were my favorite. My professor was good. She is a feminist and an economist who was so progressive and active in fighting for women’s rights. She was a feisty woman, and this showed me economics is not just about the stock market, you can make real systematic changes. She helped show me the avenue to take with my studies.

Why did you choose your combination of majors? And are you happy with your choice?
I am very happy with my choice. I came in as an international business major and switched to econ. Going to Dickinson and being exposed helped show me the cross section between economic and social environment impact, so I tacked this major on. I was only two classes away from majoring in it while pursuing my minor, so I decided to finish the remaining classes.

Social Opportunities

What kind of nightlife or weekend activities do you participate in?
I would go to happy hours at the cider house or the two bars. They got rid of the off-campus housing so the parties we used to go to may not exist. Through Greek life, I went to a lot of collaborative parties between organizations [Typically referred to as mixers.]

What have been some of your favorite times at Dickinson?
Karaoke night was always the most fun, with a group of people who knew they shouldn’t go out. We would always get drunker than intended. I loved living in the sorority house after coming back from being abroad because I had a lot of family stuff happening so transitioning was hard. Being in the house was constantly fun and comforting being around the people. I lived with my best friends on my floor which made it the best semester at Dickinson.

How happy were you with the nightlife at Dickinson? Is there anything you would change if you could?
More bars for sure. I’m not sure what they are going to do now. Gingerbread Man is old school with a seated section and a smoking section. There are townhouses so I think nightlife may happen here. There are lots of regulars who live in the community who are not always the most welcoming faces. There is a weird mix when the “Townies” hit on you or follow you out of the bar and it’s creepy. Dickinson could do a better job at offering a safe ride driving system where you could call them to pick you up. Now they have a set route where you have to memorize the timing of the car.

On and Around Campus

Where did you live during your Four years?
Freshman year: Drayer hall with 1 roommate. Morgan Field is an ideal spot freshman year
Sophomore year: Malcolm with 3 roommates
Junior year: Sorority house with 12 other women
Senior year: On-campus apartment with 1 roommate

What was your favorite living situation?
Sorority house or senior year apartment. The apartment was super convenient for groceries, and you weren’t limited to the dining halls.

Pros and cons of being located in Carlisle, PA?
Pros:
1) Super cute and quaint town so you can get to know families or anybody.
2) It’s close to DC and Philly if you want to make a trip.

Cons:
1) There is a divide between the Dickinson and Carlisle community.
2) There are so many truckers.
3) The allergies are pretty bad living in the valley.

Campus Culture

How did you meet your closest friends?
Greek Life.

How would you describe the overall social scene?
You don’t really need Greek life to make friends because the campus is so small. If you aren’t in Greek life then a lot of your friends are in it, so it makes them close during recruitment and with the shared traditions. Not being part of this could make you feel weird. The sports teams are almost like other fraternities, and they have a clique. Who you spend your time with is really based on where you live and the convenience.

To what extent do you feel people of different races and sexual orientation mix socially?
I think Dickinson does a poor job of mixing students of color. Many kids probably come through the Posse Program. These students are pretty isolated already when they come into Dickinson. All the students of color go and meet in one area, so it’s very segregated. As far as intermingling, I had a harder time dealing with the kids who came from the same prep schools because of how close they already were. [In 2018, about 56% of the undergraduate population was White, about 4% was Asian, about 16% were international students, and about 6% were Black.]

Careers

Has the alumni network helped you find internships or jobs?
For sure. Dickinson has a lot of services such as LinkedIn or Alumnifire. I could use this to find people of similar majors or interests when networking. It’s not as broad as our LinkedIn page.

What have you used the career office for? How helpful have they been?
They were as useful as you wanted them to be. I think it’s a good office and I had a couple of counselors I was close to. They helped me a lot with my resume.

Have you learned any computer programs that have been or will be helpful professionally?
My Stats class taught me a lot of Excel, and we do lots of PowerPoints for presentations but I have no programming experience.

Advice for Prospective Freshmen

What is something you wish you knew about Dickinson before entering as a freshman?
It’s not as diverse as they market it to be, but it is also pretty diverse at the same time. The students come from different backgrounds, but it’s a majority white school. It is a lot of very privileged people but being a small school is not as bad as people make it out to be.

What is something a prospective student may miss on a visit that’s worth checking out?
The College Farm. It’s 10 minutes away from campus. It’s a self-sustaining farm and is extremely beautiful.

Reasons to attend Dickinson College:
1) You can test out what you want to major in and study, and chances are you’ll have the opportunity to find this major.
2) It’s a beautiful campus all year round.
3) People are really friendly in passing or when you need help.
4) Small community helps make mutual connections.
5) Strong abroad programs.

Reasons to not attend Dickinson College:
1) Most people want to do business which can be annoying if this is not what you want.

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

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