BackgroundInterview Date:July 2018
Gender Identity: Male
Sexual Orientation: Heterosexual
Graduation Year: 2020
High School Experience: Private school in the suburbs of Pittsburgh with a graduating class of 66 students. There was a pretty high college acceptance rate.
Major: Political Science
Extracurricular Activities: I am a member of the Club Basketball team, the Club Soccer team, and Spanish club. I also used to be in a fraternity, but we recently [ceased operations]. [Between Fall 2017 and Fall 2018, 75% of male Greek students either graduated or became inactive.]
Did any of your extracurricular activities have a particularly big impact on your experience?
I met a lot of my friends through club basketball and club soccer. The Greek organization helped me make connections and bond with some people.
Can you describe your weekly coursework for your major?
It was mostly a lot of reading and then your response to it in the form of a paper or maybe a presentation.
Is there anything you feel your major’s department does especially well or especially poorly?
They do a good job of offering a bunch of different courses. But, most of my Political Science professors have been pretty liberal leaning, so I think that it lacks a diversity of opinion on the political spectrum.
How would you describe the learning environment? Do you think it’s particularly competitive or collaborative?
I don’t think it’s competitive. I’d say it’s more collaborative because people work together. I was assigned group projects in a lot of my classes.
How accessible are your professors?
I’ve never had any of them not be able to meet with me. If I don’t have time to meet during office hours, they will always schedule a time outside of their office hours. Whenever I have an issue, a question, a point of discussion I can definitely meet with my professor.
What has been your favorite class in your major?
Political Philosophy. I took it with a professor who is a self-proclaimed anarchist and overall a very interesting guy to talk to. He offered a lot of interesting perspectives, which I thought was really cool.
What has been your least favorite class in your major?
American National Security Policy, which focused on how the U.S. came up with its strategies for dealing with security threats and other issues like that. That class was, to put it bluntly, pretty boring.
Why did you pick your major? Are you happy with your choice?
I’m very happy with. I chose it mostly because I want to pursue a career in politics or law. Also, because I find the subject of government and how it works very interesting.
On and Around Campus
Where have you lived on campus?
Freshman: Davidson-Wilson Hall with one roommate. The rooms are shaped as offset squares so it makes it feel like it has more space.
Sophomore: In my fraternity’s chapter house with six other housemates.
Junior: McKenney Suite, and there are eight of us in it. It’s four doubles and one common room.
Can you describe the level of safety you’ve experienced on and around campus?
Within the Dickinson campus you’re going to feel pretty safe, and it is pretty safe. There’s public safety always driving around. Once you go maybe a block or two away from campus it can get to be pretty bad. This past year a person was shot right near my house and the suspect ran behind my house. Around the Carlisle area there are some rough patches. [The poverty rate in Carlisle is about 19%.]
What is your favorite off-campus restaurant?
Brick, it’s on High Street.
What is your favorite place to get away from campus?
Opossum Lake. It’s a 15-minute drive from campus. People go there with blankets and homework and you can lay out next to the water. If you have a car it’s pretty accessible.
Pros and Cons of being in Carlisle, PA?
Pros: (1) It’s away from the hustle and bustle of a city.
(2) It’s only two hours away from Philadelphia.
Cons: (1) I tend to feel isolated and like I’m in the middle of nowhere.
(2) Even though it’s a small town, I don’t know anyone in the Carlisle community itself.
(3) Early in the year, the smell of manure washes over campus because of all the farms around us. The campus smells like cow poop for a couple of weeks.
What kind of weekend activities or nightlife do you like to participate in?
I like to go to parties, like the very few that we do have. I mostly go to house parties because this past year I wasn’t old enough to go to the bars, but there’s definitely a bar scene. I at least go out Friday and Saturday, and, depending on the week, maybe go out one or two days during the week. Parties are usually at one of the houses that used to belong to a member of my fraternity or somebody on the club basketball team or club soccer team. It’s important to be a member of something because then you will have friends in another group of people.
What have been some of your favorite times at Dickinson?
There’s a house on campus that has a barbecue in the springtime. A lot of my friends have lived in that house and everybody would stay out on the front lawn playing lawn games, listening to music, and eating good food.
How happy are you with the nightlife? Is there anything you would change if you could?
I would definitely change how strict public safety and police are in the area. In Carlisle and at Dickinson they are cracking down on parties. They have been getting shut down before 12. Then I would also like to have a better bar scene. I think there are only two bars as of now. It’s kind of small and the town is small, which can be difficult sometimes.
How did you meet your closest friends?
I first met them through club soccer.
How would you describe the overall social scene at Dickinson College?
The first high school I went to was almost as big as Dickinson. The similarities that I notice are that there are cliques that are formed. Everyone knows everyone, but you make these little groups. It’s a bunch of small groups within a small number of people.
To what extent do you think people of different races and sexual orientations mix socially?
On paper Dickinson likes to boast about being very diverse and welcoming, and, in reality, I think Dickinson offers that for the majority of its students. A big part of our community does welcome people of all races and all sexual orientations, but I do think there is an underlying feeling of animosity toward some groups. I’m not sure what it really comes from, but there is this exclusivity that Dickinson has where people will turn their nose up at other people.
How would you describe the student body?
I would say the majority of the student body is White, preppy people from New England. [Socioeconomically, 40% of students come from the top 5%. 21% of students are domestic students of color.]
Do you think people are happy with their choice of Dickinson by senior year?
Yeah, by the time they graduate they end up loving it. Although you might not like it halfway through, these are the people that you’re going to end up knowing for the rest of your life and are going to be your friends.
Have you used financial aid? If so, how accommodating has the office been to your needs?
Yes, we do use financial aid. They’ve been pretty accommodating. The one complaint that I have is that they’re pretty hard to interact with, get information from, or try to communicate with. I’ve had issues with them this past summer, and it’s mostly been from lack of clear communication.
Advice for Prospective Freshmen
What is something you wish you knew about Dickinson before entering as a freshman?
The size of the community. I wish I had understood that fully and knew what came from that. Also, that they were going to take away off-campus housing. They unveiled that plan this year. I also wish I knew who made up the student body because going in I didn’t realize it was going to be this kind of preppy crowd from Massachusetts and Connecticut. I think if I had known that it may have impacted my decision. [The student body is about 2,300.]
What is something that a student may miss on a visit that’s worth checking out?
Check out Rector, the science building. It’s one of my favorite buildings to study in and I haven’t ever had a class in there. It’s pretty new and modern.
Reasons to attend Dickinson College:
1) Class size and the interaction you get with your professors.
2) Although I think it’s cliquey, there is a close-knit feeling because you do know everyone.
3) There are lots of organizations. It’s been pretty easy for me to keep up with activities that I enjoy and everybody’s been welcoming to me there.
4) I’m studying abroad this next semester and can’t wait for that experience. Dickinson offers a lot of different programs around the world that students take advantage of.
Reasons to not attend Dickinson College:
1) The social scene is going downhill. The eradication of off-campus housing will push that over the edge.
2) The middle of the nowhere location.