Hobart and William Smith Colleges
BackgroundInterview Date:December 2018
Gender Identity: Female
Sexual Orientation: Heterosexual
Graduation Year: 2021
High School Experience: Private school in Beverly, MA with a graduating class of 24 students. There was a culture of going to college.
First Generation College Student: No
Extracurricular Activities: I’m part of the EcoRep Club. We make sure people are composting and recycling around campus. I’m part of another club that anyone can join and be part of called Koshare, which is a dance group.
Did any of your extracurricular activities have a particularly big impact on your experience? In what ways?
I’d say Koshare is the biggest one for me, and it’s also one of biggest clubs on campus. Anyone can be part of it. You meet so many different people, and you learn so many different things about the way people choreograph their dances. It’s also a stress reliever when you need to take time to not worry about certain things. It’s good for getting your mind in the right place.
Can you describe the weekly coursework for your major?
It was hard to get the classes I needed for my major last semester because I was a freshman and hadn’t declared. Psychology is a very popular major at Hobart, so a lot of people get those classes right away. Our homework would be readings and taking notes on the readings. We have exams, and every once in a while, we’d have short papers to write about the chapters. [7% of students are Psychology majors.]
Is there anything you feel the Psychology department does especially well or poorly?
I think they do a good job of being available for you if you need help outside of class.
How accessible have the professors in your department been?
The great thing about professors at Hobart is that because it’s a small school and classes are usually at the most, 30 people, the teachers have more time to help you out if you need to talk with them. [There are about 2,200 students, and the average class size is 16.]
Do you think people are open to multiple schools of thought in the classroom?
I would say so. For the most part, people have pretty open minds and can accept a lot of different things. At the same time, every once in a while, there are people that don’t have an open-minded thought process.
Why did you choose your major? Are you happy with your choice?
I chose psychology because [it lines up with my career path.] I either want to be a child psychologist, or a criminal profiler.
On and Around Campus
Where have you lived on campus?
Freshman: On the William Smith Hill with one roommate.
Sophomore: A dorm in the middle of campus in a suite with three other girls.
What is your favorite off-campus restaurant?
What is your favorite place to get away from campus?
On the warmer days, we have a dock that people go to. We use it to hang out with our friends, tan, and swim. In the winter, it’s a lot more fun to go with your friends to Victor Mall, which is about a 35-minute drive from Geneva.
How was transitioning from Massachusetts to Geneva, NY?
It’s a little difficult because Geneva is really upstate New York and there’s not much around it. If you don’t have a means for transportation, it can be hard to get around or go pretty much anywhere. There’s not much to do in Geneva besides going to restaurants.
Pros and cons of being located in Geneva, NY?
1) Even though there aren’t many things, everything is probably a minute drive to get to a grocery store.
2) Geneva is beautiful in the summer, and we have the best sunsets I’ve seen around.
3) We live on the lake.
1) The location of Geneva is in the middle of nowhere. If you don’t have a car yourself, it’s hard to get around.
2) The people living in Geneva can get kind of crazy at times, which can be hard for Hobart students to deal with, especially going out on the weekends. I’ve had friends who’ve [had incidents] with townspeople.
What kind of nightlife or weekend activities do you participate in?
I like going out with my friends to bars downtown. At Hobart, there are frat parties you can attend and a lot of sports teams have houses they throw parties in too.
What nights of the week would you regularly go out?
It depends on the weekend, but we usually go out Thursday, Friday, and Saturday. Thursday nights are usually going straight to bars. Fridays and Saturdays there is typically a party happening, then we go downtown afterward.
Can you describe a typical night going out freshman year when you were less socially established?
I’d say the upperclassmen girls did give my friends and me a hard time going out, just because we were new and they didn’t know us. They were older and thought they could hold power over us. We were pretty much let into any party we went to, and it’s a pretty good way to meet people and make friends as a freshman.
What is the impact of Greek life on nightlife?
Greek life has a big impact. If Hobart didn’t have Greek life or parties, then there wouldn’t be many students at Hobart because there’s not much to do as is.
How happy are you with the nightlife options at HWS? Is there anything you would change if you could?
I’d say I’m pretty happy with it for the most part. There have been some frats that were shut down because Hobart’s interim president is trying to cut down on the fraternities on campus. If there weren’t frats, it would be hard to enjoy the nightlife.
How did you meet your closest friends?
A lot of my friends went to high school with me. My closest friend is my roommate, and she lives near my home. We met through other friends and went out together freshman year.
How would you describe the overall social scene at Hobart and William Smith Colleges?
It’s pretty open and fun, but sometimes it can be exclusive. It’s better to ignore those types of people. Just find your group, then you can thrive at Hobart. If it’s a house party and upperclassmen own the house, you won’t always be let in [if you’re a girl]. Most of the time if it’s a sport or a frat party, girls will get in.
To what extent do people of different races and sexual orientations mix socially?
I’d say they pretty much stick together. I know that if a lot of people of different races are on a sports team, they can branch out and meet friends that way. For the most part, people with different races or sexual orientations stick together. [About 73% of the students are White, and 6% are Black.]
How would you describe the student body at Hobart?
I’d say the student body is rich. There are wealthier people here, and if you’re not, most people pretend they are. Most students with a car drive Mercedes, Audis, Range Rovers, and things like that. They wear Canada Goose jackets, and people who want to act rich buy knock-off version of normally priced things. [Socioeconomically, 12% of students come from the top 1%, and the median family income is about $161,000.]
Have you learned any computer programs or languages through your coursework that will be helpful to you professionally?
I haven’t learned anything yet, but I’m in a class next semester that will teach me a statistics software.
Advice for Prospective Freshmen
What is something you wish you knew about HWS before entering as a freshman?
I wish I had known about the type of people that went there. I don’t necessarily fit into the type of students I described before – the rich ones who wear expensive clothing. I wish I knew that, but it doesn’t change the way I feel about the school. I still like the school, think it has great academics, and the teachers are very helpful.
What is something a prospective student may miss on a visit that’s worth checking out?
It would be beneficial to get better information from actual students who aren’t giving a tour on what the cafeteria food and dorms are really like. They should look at the Gearan Performing Arts Center and the gym.
Reasons to attend Hobart and William Smith Colleges:
1) You get a really good education.
2) The teachers care about you.
3) You will make really good friends.
4) Because it’s a small school, teachers are able to help you more with work if you’re struggling. [The student to faculty ratio is 10 to 1.]
Reasons to not attend Hobart and William Smith Colleges:
1) It’s in the middle of nowhere.
2) Unless you bring a car, you’re pretty much stuck on campus the whole time.
3) The food is not great.
4) We spend a lot of money to be there. [Tuition is about $55,000, and room and board is about $14,000.]