BackgroundInterview Date:January 2019
Gender Identity: Female
Sexual Orientation: Bisexual
Graduation Year: 2022
High School Experience: Public school in New Hampshire with about 260 people in my graduating class. There was a prominent culture of going to college.
First Generation College Student: No
Extracurricular Activities: Ultimate Frisbee
Did any of your extracurricular activities have a particularly big impact on your experience? In what ways?
Frisbee has. There is a women’s team and a men’s team, so you meet people of both genders in all different grades. I’m in classes with a few upperclassmen on the team, which allows me to meet people outside my immediate freshman circle.
Is there anything you feel that Macalester does especially well or poorly?
I’ve had a great experience with the academics here so far. The professors have all been very enthusiastic, and mindful of promoting discussions. They make sure that if there are questions to be asked, they get asked.
How would you describe the learning environment? Do you think it’s particularly competitive or collaborative?
I would say it’s pretty collaborative. A lot of my classes have had assignments that make us collaborate with other students, so there is a lot of working together. I’ve never felt I compete with the other students in the class.
What is your favorite class and least favorite class you have taken at Macalester?
Comparative Politics is my favorite class [so far.] it showed me governments in different parts of the world, and how they work. My least favorite is French, which is part of Macalester’s language requirement.
How accessible have your professors been?
Very accessible. They all have office hours during the week, and if you email them, they’ll get back to you in a day or two. You can also ask them questions after class.
Do you feel that people are open to multiple schools of thought in the classroom?
Yes, but I would say it’s definitely left-leaning. People try to promote an open-mindedness when approaching you with a more right-winged opinion. [Despite this effort], it seems hard for people to put this open-mindedness into action. Overall there seems to be an acceptance to listen to ideas, but when brought up in class you can almost feel the hostility among classmates.
On and Around Campus
Where have you lived on campus?
Freshman: Dupre Hall with no roommates
How was transitioning from your hometown in New Hampshire to Minnesota?
It was smoother than I expected. It’s in St. Paul but has an enclosed campus. There is some distance between Macalester itself and Minneapolis. [Macalester to Minneapolis is a 15-minute drive.]
Can you describe the level of safety you’ve experienced on and around campus?
They have a Safe Escort program on campus, where if you are out late at night someone will walk with you up to a mile. I think if you walked a little down the road it could be more suspect, but people don’t typically go that direction.
Pros and Cons of being located in St. Paul, Minnesota?
1) There are always a lot of concerts that offer student discounts.
2) There are internship opportunities for upperclassman.
3) There are lots of [events to attend in the Twin Cities], including cultural events.
1) The public transit buses aren’t very fast.
2) St. Paul is a business city, while Minneapolis is more touristy. [Macalester to downtown St. Paul is a 12-minute drive.]
What kind of nightlife or weekend activities do you like to participate in at Macalester?
There aren’t a lot of parties, so I’ll go to maybe one a week. Later on in the year, there are even fewer parties so I might be doing something in Minneapolis, or homework if I have a heavy load. There are some 18+ bars and clubs people like to go to, and there are lots of cultural events to visit. Some of these things include art museums, or ice skating around the holiday.
Who typically hosts the parties?
Usually upperclassman in off-campus within two or three blocks. There aren’t a ton of on-campus parties, and being in a dorm you can’t fit that many people in one room.
How happy are you with the nightlife at Macalester? Is there anything you would change if you could?
I’m happy with it, mainly because I don’t like to party that much, but I know some other people think it’s lacking.
How did you meet your closest friends?
I met my closest friends at orientation when we were split into groups. I’ve also met a lot of people during classes and group projects.
How would you describe the overall social scene at Macalester?
It’s good. People are very focused on academics, so you will see a lot of people spending time together while they study. The people I’ve met have been incredibly welcoming and exciting overall. With the workload, it can be hard to hang out with someone socially without bringing in the school aspect.
To what extent do you feel people of different races and sexual orientations mix socially?
I think there is a large spectrum here, but everyone is friends with somebody of a different sexual orientation. Racially, I think it’s a little more divided, but not as much as other’s schools I think.
How has identifying as LGBT influenced your social experience?
I’ve felt very welcomed here. It’s never impeded on any of my experiences, and if anything, it has enhanced them. Other people who are LGBT connect well, which has given me a good network of people [to hang out with.]
How would you describe the student body?
People are primarily here to learn, so people are very intellectual. A big thing I see in students is that people initiate change. The investment in academics is used to motivate others to also try and change things.
How has the size of Macalester influenced your social experience?
For me, the size [of 2,174 students] is perfect because every day there is a sense of familiarity by seeing people I know. I can also meet new people all the time. The smaller student body population has been very helpful.
Advice for Prospective Freshmen
What is something you wish you knew about Macalester before you entered as a freshman?
I would have wanted to know the nature of the Twin Cities (Minneapolis and St. Paul), a little bit more. Certain things to do in the city are not as accessible because of how spread out things are. Part of my decision was being set on being in a big city, but it’s not quite what I expected in this sense. In the Twin Cities if feels like you have to be more focused and have an agenda, opposed going into it thinking “let’s see where the day takes us.”
What is something a prospective student may miss on a visit that’s worth checking out?
It’s important to check out the dorms to know where you are going to be living. On tour, they will show you the best dorms, so it’s essential to check out the same spot that you will be living in. In my opinion, the worst freshman dorm is probably Dupre. These rooms have no sinks and are smaller than the other freshman dorms.
Reasons to attend Macalester:
1) If you are looking for a place to challenge you or force you outside of your comfort zone, it’s a place for you.
2) If you want to know how you can connect different areas of studies, the liberal arts education helps with this.
Reasons to not attend Macalester:
1) If you want a party school it’s probably not the place for you.
2) If you’re looking for a classic college experience, it may not be for you. I think the people here are a little strange, but in a good way because people enjoy being different.