An Interview On
Dickinson College

Background

Interview Date:Summer 2018

Gender Identity: Male
Race/Ethnicity: White
Graduation Year: 2020
Sexual Orientation: Straight
High School Experience: All boys Episcopalian private school in southeastern Pennsylvania with about 26 students in the graduating class. There was a culture of going to college.
First Generation College Student: No
Majors: Economics and History Double Major
Minor: None
Extracurricular Activities: I am a member of the Dickson Octals, an all-male acapella group. I host a weekly podcast on the school radio station. I am also a member of the student newspaper, The Dickinsonian.

Did any of your extracurricular activities have a particularly big impact on your experience?
I wouldn’t say particularly. Being a member of The Octals has helped me become a better teacher, which existed in tandem with my podcasts, allowing me to express things more cogently.

Academic Experience

Can you describe your weekly coursework for your majors?
My course load for Economics is pretty light, it is mostly reading and few papers. For History, there is a lot of writing, but it is not overwhelming.

Is there anything that you feel either of your departments do especially well or especially poorly?
They both do their jobs well in all fields.

Can you describe the learning environment? Do you think it’s particularly competitive or collaborative?
It’s collaborative. All of my classes are in small groups. I was in a History class last semester that had six people. It is a collaborative workspace.

What have been your favorite classes in your majors?
My favorite class for Economics was Intending Economic Perspectives, which was a seminar-based lecture class about different economic philosophies. For History, my favorite class has been the Cold War in Africa from 1945 to 1990, which is exactly what it sounds like.

What have been your least favorite classes in your majors?
I’ve been lucky enough not to have classes that I did not like.
Do you feel that people are open to multiple schools of thought in the classroom?
In my major, yes. The Economics classrooms are energetic and a center of debates. There is a lot of good exchange happening in the classroom.

What made you choose that combination of majors? Are you happy with your choice?
Initially, I went into college looking for an architecture program, but Dickinson does not have an architecture program. I’ve always been passionate about Economics and History so that was an easy choice for me and I’m very happy with my choice.

Social Opportunities

What kind of nightlife or weekend activities do you participate in?
There is a good nightlife at Dickinson. It depends on who you know. I’m lucky enough to know a great number of different people across various social groups in school, so I can go out on any given night and hang out with friends and do things I like. I like to go to house parties and hang out in a room with friends. I usually go out on Friday and Saturday. If I have a light workload one week, I can also go out on Thursday.

What have been some of your favorite times at Dickinson?
I like the incoming fall season because there are a lot of new faces on campus and everyone’s kind of getting back into the swing of things. It is really nice out and everyone is enjoying being there.

How happy are you with the nightlife at Dickinson? Is there anything you would change if you could?
I’m happy with it. My preferred type of party is a smaller party with seven or eight friends and we have a lot of those. We also have larger house parties with more people. There’s really something for everyone.

On and Around Campus

Where have you lived on campus?
Freshman: My freshman year I lived on the first floor of Drayer Hall and I had one roommate. It was a small room but it’s a nice residence hall.

Sophomore: I lived in Conway, which is in [Fraternity Quad, AKA] The Quads. It wasn’t the nicest dorm but it was in a quiet area where I could do whatever I wanted. I had one roommate.

Junior year: I’m not sure where I will live for junior year.

How was transitioning from your hometown to Carlisle, PA?
I thought it would be the same life that I am used to living outside of Philadelphia, but it is a different atmosphere out in the middle of the state. It’s very convenient because I can be at home from school in an hour and a half to two hours. It’s a lot better than I thought it was going to be.

Can you describe the level of safety you’ve experienced on and around campus?
Carlisle is extremely safe. I’m not hesitant about walking from one side of the campus alone at 3 AM. I know that that’s not true for some people, but for me, that has been the case.

What is your favorite off-campus restaurant?
My favorite place is George’s, a pizza place just off campus. They have dollar slices on Tuesdays and are a great place to just go for lunch and hang out.

What is your favorite place to get away from campus?
The mountains on either side of Carlisle. There are a lot of great hiking trails and some beautiful vistas that you can either drive or climb up to. There’s really so much to see.

Pros and cons of being located in Carlisle, Pennsylvania?
Pros:
1) It is such a small town what makes it really easy to form relationships with people that live in Carlisle with shopkeepers. It’s really easy to branch out and meet new people.

Cons:
1) It is a small town and there a not a lot of things to do. I need to be fine with doing the same things and going to the same stores and restaurants.

Campus Culture

How did you meet your closest friends?
I met them on the first day of classes and lived on my hall. We were all walking up to the dorm. I met others halfway through freshman year when I was helping one of my friends move into a different dorm. It’s a bit [random] meeting new people.

How would you describe the overall social scene at Dickinson?
It’s a good social scene. At times there can be something left to be desired. On a Friday night, there’s not a whole lot going on or there’s a party that’s closed until 11:30, for example. So, it’s good but it’s not perfect.

To what extent do you feel people of different races and sexual orientation mix socially?
In terms of sexual orientations, there’s a good mix of people just hanging out with each other. Some predominantly white liberal arts colleges have compartmentalization between races who hang out with who, which is a problem. Since last year Dickinson has been trying to address and to fix this. [In 2018, about 56% of the undergraduate population was White, about 4% was Asian, about 16% were international students, and about 6% were Black.]

How would you describe the student body?
At Dickinson, the student body is relatively well off. It’s also a very accessible student body. People don’t really stick to one identifier. For example, instead of hanging out with one group of people from one of my extracurriculars, I try to bridge all of the gaps and hang out with people from the newspaper and from the radio station. I can also hang out with people on sports teams because that’s what a lot of people do at Dickinson.

Do you think people are generally happy with their choice of Dickinson? Do you think people love Denison after they graduate?
I think most people do love Dickinson. I know there are people that can be very frustrated with Dickinson, but a lot of people do end up being very happy with their choice.

Advice for Prospective Freshmen

What is something you wish you knew before about Dickinson when you entered as a freshman?
That it wasn’t going to be as intimidating of an experience as I thought.

What is something a prospective student may miss on a visit that’s worth checking out?
The more vibrant aspect of our social life. You’re not going to see any of the things that the school doesn’t want you to see on a tour. You are going to get an impression of an uptight, book-ish school and that’s not really fair impression.

Reasons to attend Dickinson:
1) Very small class sizes, it’s easy to form good relationships with your professors and advisers. [The average class size is 15.]
2) We have strong departments at Dickinson. We have a great presence in Economics, English, and Sciences.
3) Carlisle is a charming town. There is a lot to do and to explore.

Reasons to not attend Dickinson:
1) The small size because it can play into a negative. You’re only going to be able to meet so many people and there’s not that much going on on-campus. [There are about 2,400 students at Dickinson.]
2) You are eventually going to run out of things to do in Carlisle because it is a small town. [The population of Carlisle is about 19,000.]
3) Dickinson doesn’t have the resources to have specialized disciplines like criminology or architecture.

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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