Hobart and William Smith Colleges
BackgroundInterview Date:June 2017
Gender Identity: Female
Sexual Orientation: Heterosexual
Graduation Year: 2018
High School Experience: Private school in Baltimore, MD with a graduating class of about 100 students.
Majors: Psychology and Philosophy double major
Extracurricular Activities: I’m a student-athlete.
What impact did being an athlete have on your experience?
One of the biggest reasons I went to Hobart was my sport. All my best friends and roommates are on my team. At the dining hall, all the athletes sit together.
Can you describe the weekly coursework for your majors?
For Philosophy, you have shorter readings, but you have to do them twice or three times because they’re so dense and you have to be prepared to discuss them in class. The major’s so small that you have classes with like 8 people in them. Then for major assignments you strictly have papers. For Psychology, you have more tests and problem sets. You also have online multiple-choice quizzes.
Did you especially like or dislike anything about your majors’ departments? Did they do anything especially well or poorly?
Philosophy is a really small department, so all the professors in the department knew me as soon as I became a major. When I was thinking of becoming a philosophy major they gave me a folder about how philosophy can help with job opportunities. Psychology is a really popular major so you don’t get as much personal attention. It’s way harder for them to deal with all the kids. I have two advisers, I prefer my philosophy adviser because he has more time.
What have been your favorite classes you took for your major?
Psychology: Psychology of Religion, it was multidisciplinary between religious studies and psych.
Philosophy: Epistemology, which is the theory of knowledge.
What have been your least favorite classes you took for your major?
Intro to Psychology and Intro to Philosophy. I generally don’t like intro classes. I also didn’t like Clinical Psychology, it didn’t look at much variance inside disorders. We just had to memorize all of the facts about disorders and I think they’re way more complicated than that.
Why did you pick your major?
I was actually a Biology major to start. I was bad at it and the department was so big and busy that they didn’t have enough time to help me. I was encouraged by my philosophy professor to major in philosophy and I’m’ really glad I did. I felt like I shouldn’t only major in that so I picked psych because, honestly, I knew I could do it easily. I’m really happy with Philosophy and not that happy with Psychology.
On and Around Campus
Where have you lived on campus?
Freshman: Double in Cheryl. It [was really bad].
Sophomore: A quad in Hale. We all had really bad lotto numbers, but we beat the whole system and said that we’d live in this old common room and fit four girls into an area that was supposed to fit two or three. It was really nice because of how central it was to campus.
Junior: Odell’s Apartments with 5 people. It was nice we had a kitchen, living room with a porch and a shed.
Senior: Odell’s Apartments, though a lot of upperclassmen live off-campus.
What was your favorite living situation?
Hale was my favorite because of how central it was.
What is your favorite off-campus restaurant?
A hibachi restaurant called Ichiro or Eddie O’Brien’s.
What is your favorite place to get away from campus?
Pros and cons of being in Geneva, NY.
Pros: (1) Lake Seneca is right there.
(2) The buildings in the area are beautiful.
Cons: (1) It’s so cold and windy. The majority of the school year the lakes not fun to be around.
(2) There are also no good chains, like Chipotle, because it’s such a small town.
What kind of weekend activities or nightlife do you like to participate in?
In season, only Saturday if we don’t play Sunday. Out of season, the most popular nights at Hobart are Thursday and Saturday. The nightlife scene separates itself pretty quickly. You figure out which frats and athlete houses you want to go to, and people stay in their path for the most part. Generally, you either go to a frat, athlete house, or downtown bars.
For a typical night, we’ll go to a small party at the on-campus apartments. I lived in one of those and I’m there until I go out. People start to go down at 11:30, if I do go somewhere else before the bars, I go to a frat or my sports house. A good night for me looks like going downtown, not running into any issues, getting the shuttle back at 1am with no line. The shuttle’s pretty small, so once the bars close at 1-1:30 all of a sudden there’s a big line for the tiny shuttle. You sometimes have to wait a really long time. The walk isn’t that bad, I make it a lot, but the real issue is the cold.
What are some other options if you don’t want to go out to a party or bar?
I don’t really know. Campus concerts don’t have great turnouts, a lot of people don’t go.
How happy are you with the weekend options? Is there anything you would change if you could?
It’s alright. I think I probably wouldn’t have picked Hobart if it weren’t for my sport. The small school issue bothers me. As much as I love my sport, when things are bad with the team, things are bad with me for the whole school. My roommates, who are on my team, would probably all agree.
How did you make your closest friends?
My sports team.
How would you describe the social scene?
It’s definitely cliquey. Sports teams divide people, minorities have their own groups. Everybody has their own area of the dining hall. The dining hall is stupid, everybody has their own areas where they sit. They definitely tell all the freshmen coming in don’t be scared [laughs]. If people are going to a sports team party, it’s going to be all athletes. The frats are a totally different side. They’re almost never in the dining hall. Frats and men’s sports teams kind of run the show with nightlife.
To what extent do people of different races and sexual orientations mix socially?
A little bit. There really not that many Black people at all. They’re all friends and know each other though. There are lesbians on my team, but they mix a little bit with the other girl’s teams. The biggest thing that separates friends are the sports teams.
Do people seem happy with Hobart & William Smith by senior year?
Yeah, it grows on people. It’s a really small school. I loved it freshman year, hated it sophomore year, and then junior year I got my footing and found the people I wanted to be around. That’s pretty normal for people. If people stick it out and stay they like it, especially when it’s sunny on graduation.
Advice for Prospective Freshmen
What is something you wish you knew about Hobart & William Smith before you entered as a freshman?
The size weighs on you. It’s really small. I wish I had considered more schools where I said, “would I still like this place if [my sport] didn’t work out?” [There are about 2,200 students.]
What is something a prospective student may miss on a visit that’s worth checking out?
On Main Street, there’s the lake and then all these houses where students sometimes live. They also have department houses there, like the Philosophy department’s house is there. It’s smart to check those out because they’re really pretty and I think it helps to put in perspective how small the school really is.
Reasons to attend Hobart:
1) Go if you have a pretty standard look or are comfortable getting looked at like you stand out. People are very homogenous there. If you’re wearing something nobody else wears you stand out.
2) Go if you like sailing. It’s a good place to be sailing because of the lake.
Reasons to not attend Hobart:
1) Don’t do what I did. Don’t go just because a sport is the only thing that brought you there. What if I tore my ACL?
2) Don’t go there if you ever felt like your high school was small. It’s really, really small. I always know somebody and people know me. Some people like that but I don’t. [There are about 2,200 students.]
3) If you want to be close to a city don’t go. It’s tough being really far away from airports and train stations.