BackgroundInterview Date:July 2018
Gender Identity: Female
Race/Ethnicity: Biracial: Caucasian and Hispanic
Sexual Orientation: Heterosexual
Graduation Year: 2019
High School Experience: Public school in Chappaqua, New York with about 350 students in the graduating class. There was a culture of going to college.
First Generation College Student: Yes
Major: Fashion Design
Minors: Fashion Merchandising and Product Development
Extracurricular Activities: I used to do intramural volleyball and now I’ll do yoga classes and stuff. I just try to stay active.
Can you describe your weekly coursework for your major?
There’s so much work. I mean it only gets harder from freshman year. Freshman year was more of the basic courses. Since then it’s gotten a lot harder. Of course, if you’re passionate about it, you can find a way to get it done, but it’s very time-consuming. I will pull all-nighters or stay up till 3AM during the week and on the weekends as well. I will have drawing classes, digital fashion design classes using the Adobe programs, I took a portfolio class, different levels of sewing classes, I took a tailoring class last semester which is the most intense class I’ve ever had, and I’m going into my senior year collection which is going to be a lot of work. Senior year is mostly about making a portfolio. We draw and make creative samples in the first half of the semester and then make the collection come to life in the second half of the semester. It’s different than Merchandising because the Merchandising majors will have retailing, branding, and licensing and some other classes like that. I took a few of those classes for my minor.
Is there anything you feel your major’s department does especially well or especially poorly?
I definitely am a bigger fan of the drawing and designing aspect just because of how time-consuming and hard sewing can be. I especially did not like tailoring because you have to use a certain technique, and if not you have to start over. I remember doing three hours of handwork and then having to redo it, which was really sad [laughs]. For me, I think I’m more of a fan of the drawing aspect and coming up with digital prints. But, of course, you need both to succeed.
Can you describe the learning environment? Do you think it’s particularly competitive or collaborative?
I would say it’s very collaborative. One thing that I’m really happy about Marist, compared to some other fashion schools, is that Marist is a very small environment. I do know they are starting to expand a bit. But, there were about 14 people in my junior year class of Fashion Design students. It’s really great because nobody’s vicious to each other, we all help each other and collaborate. I feel like we help each other grow as designers by teaching someone else something that maybe the professor isn’t there to help them out with and you’re helping yourself as well. [In Fall 2018, there were 93 students enrolled in the Fashion Design program.]
What has been your favorite class in your major?
My drawing classes and portfolio because I really love designing and sketching and making that come to life.
What has been your least favorite class in your major?
The digital fashion design classes. I know a lot of things are digital now, but I’d rather sketch with markets and paint than sit behind a computer.
Why did you pick your major? Are you happy with your choice of major?
I knew I wanted to do fashion design in high school. I used to take classes at the Fashion Institute of Technology in high school, which definitely helped me out with making a portfolio and getting into Marist. I am very happy with my major, but it’s something that you have to have a lot of patience for because a lot of people have dropped since freshman year and it only gets harder and more time-consuming. You’re not going to have as much of a social life compared to maybe Fashion Merchandising, but for me personally, I’m happy with what I’m doing.
On and Around Campus
Where have you lived on campus?
Freshman: Leo Hall with one roommate. Leo and Champagnat (AKA Champ) are the two halls that everyone wants to live in freshman year. The rooms were so small it was a little claustrophobic for me.
Sophomore: I got a nice eight-person Lower West Cedar Townhouses on campus with my friends. It was four giant rooms.
Junior: Fulton Street Townhouses with eight smaller bedrooms, so I got to have my own room which was nice.
Senior: We got an off-campus apartment in Fox Run, which is a really big apartment complex that a bunch of Marist students live in. It’s close to Marist but it’s technically off campus. It was four big bedrooms and everyone gets their own full-sized bed and own bathrooms.
What was your favorite living situation?
So far, sophomore year because that was when my friends and I were together because junior year we got split up because of people going abroad at different times. I think senior year is going to be the best.
Is it easy to get a townhouse as a sophomore?
Yeah. The worst housing is apartments or suites that don’t have a kitchen, but thankfully we were in Lower West Cedar and that was a good time. It felt like it was a little off campus because it wasn’t where all the academic buildings are. Everything is based off a priority points housing system, so if you have good priority points you get to pick your housing first.
Can you describe the level of safety you’ve experienced on and around campus?
Me personally, I’ve always experienced a safe environment. There’s a lot of security on campus roaming around in cars. I actually will leave the lab at 3AM and I always pass by a few security cards in case I need something. Something that’s nice is security will always give you a ride home if you ask. Marist has a job for students called S.N.A.P., which is when students volunteer to walk around campus and they will escort you home if you don’t want the actual Marist security to take you somewhere.
What is your favorite place to get away from campus?
The walking bridge. We have a walkway over the Hudson, which is really nice. One thing I really love about Marist is you can always catch a really beautiful sunset on or off campus. Whether it’s by myself or with my friends, walking over there is a really nice view.
Pros and Cons of being in Poughkeepsie, NY?
Pros: (1) Things are a bit cheaper in Poughkeepsie.
(2) It’s not that far from Vassar and the Culinary Institute of America, so there is also amazing food.
(3) The Hudson River, because it’s so beautiful.
Cons: (1) Poughkeepsie definitely isn’t the safest area. There are some areas you don’t want to be in, especially at night.
(2) There isn’t much to do, in that Marist is in a random area of Poughkeepsie. Yeah, there’s a few delis and gas stations we can walk to, but there’s not much compared to a city school where you can walk to so much.
What kind of weekend activities or nightlife do you like to participate in?
Marist is a smaller school but it is a big bar school. There are some fraternities, and there are only fraternity houses because sorority houses are not allowed in the area. A lot of freshmen go to the frats – I know I did with my friends freshman year – but once you get to sophomore year people are more interested in the bars and sports houses. I feel like more people prefer the sports houses, like the hockey house, over the fraternity houses. [About 6% of students are involved in Greek life.]
What have been some of your favorite times at Marist?
I don’t think I have too many specific moments. I guess going out with my friends was a lot of fun. I also really enjoy going to sports games. Marist isn’t the biggest with sports, at least for the people who go there, but I always enjoy football games and hockey games. My friends and I get all decked out in Marist gear and it’s a lot of fun. Then, for me personally, going to the fashion show was a lot of fun. Freshmen through junior year you have to work backstage but next year I’ll actually get to watch the show because all my designs will be in it.
How happy were you with the nightlife? Is there anything you would change if you could?
I personally am very happy with it. It’d be cooler if there was a larger selection of bar choices, but I still have a good time regardless. I think it also depends on the person because if you’re not someone who wants to be at a small school or isn’t that big into bars, then Marist isn’t for them. My friends and I have had a great time since freshman year.
How did you meet your closest friends?
My friends actually lived next door to me freshman year. There were two girls who were roommates, my roommate, our next-door neighbors on the other side, and then one girl from the floor below us, and we’d all hang out all the time. I know that friend groups change all the time from freshman year but ours never did, which is something that’s really nice.
How would you describe the social scene?
It’s a pretty decent social scene. Because it’s not that big of a school, you’ll always see people you know. But, at the same time, there will always be people you’ve never met before. It’s a nice mix of people you knowing people and being able to say hi to people that you know from class, and also meeting a lot of new people.
To what extent do you feel people of different races and sexual orientations mix socially?
I think it’s mixed. I think a lot of the athletes and stuff are mixed in with non-athletes as well, and people come from all over the place. In Fashion Design, it’s a little mixed. I definitely think there is a large majority of Caucasian people, but I still think I get that sense of diversity and culture as well. I definitely have friends that are gay and different races. I don’t think anybody is judgmental like that. It’s 2018 and everyone’s very accepting. [About 76% of the Class of 2022 is White.]
Do you think people are happy with their choice of Marist by senior year? Do you think people leave loving Marist?
I feel like a majority of people are, I think it depends on what your experience was. I know some people that didn’t make many friends and transferred to have a fresh start, or it was too small. I know a significant amount of people who transferred, but it was for their own reasons. The majority of people I know are very happy with Marist. [In 2017, the freshman retention rate was about 87%.]
Has the alumni network helped you find internships or jobs?
I feel that I’ve found a lot of jobs and internships on my own. I feel like the alumni network is there, but I think they can do a better job with that. Marist has a website called FoxQuest that helps you find internships, but I think if you have other connections it works best.
What have you used the career office for? How helpful were they?
The only thing I’ve used the career office for is their career fair that they host once a semester. There are a bunch of companies that come together in the gymnasium and host a job fair where you can give your resume or to see what kind of people they’re looking for. A lot of them are for people going into senior year. I think there is an okay selection. I think they could pick up some more companies because there were only one or two design internships. Even if you don’t find an internship it’s nice to just get some person’s contact information to contact them in the future.
Have you learned any computer programs that will be helpful to you professionally?
In regards to fashion design, I’ve learned the Adobe programs, so InDesign, Photoshop, and Illustrator are the three big programs we use. My favorite personally is InDesign. I feel that I’ve learned a lot from that, and which was actually starting from my freshman year.
Have you used financial aid? If so, how helpful was the financial aid office?
The financial aid office has its own department in Donnelly Hall. I did have financial aid and I take out other loans as well. Financial aid was one of the reasons I was able to go to Marist, which I was grateful for. The office was always willing to work with me, and if I have any questions I can go in there and they’ll help me out no problem. Overall, I’d say it’s very helpful and effective.
Advice for Prospective Freshmen
What is something you wish you knew about Marist before entering as a freshman?
I wish I knew more about the fashion design program. I was familiar with it going in, but not too familiar. I wish I knew more about what the work is like and the classes I would be taking. I’m happy with how things have gone and how I’ve planned my schedule.
What is something a prospective student may miss on a visit that’s worth checking out?
The scenery. Or, if you have a specific department you’re interested in, look more into that. When I visited campus, I got a tour of the fashion department. When I did the campus tour, I didn’t feel like I got a tour of the full Marist campus, like I didn’t see the upperclassmen housing. Also, depending on how far away you are, watching the sunset on the Hudson is one of the most beautiful things. You can walk down the hill towards the river, there’s a gazebo, and people will sit along the rock wall to watch it.
Reasons to attend Marist:
1) For me, I’ve always experienced a lot of great and nice people. It’s a great community and great place socially for me. If you think you’ll do well at a small school, it’s a great place to go.
2) Really amazing programs. The fashion design program was just ranked 22nd worldwide by Business of Fashion.
3) Definitely the campus. They designed it beautifully, every building is so nice, and they’re making lots of additions. Also, the view.
4) You don’t need to be in Greek life to fit in because the majority of people are not in Greek life, but if you are interested in it they have a few fraternities and sororities that will give you that experience.
Reasons to not attend Marist:
1) Poughkeepsie isn’t the safest place ever, but you know, you’re not hanging out in these bad neighborhoods at night. Just make good choices and you’re fine. [The violent crime rate in Poughkeepsie is 84% higher than the national average while the property crime rate is 15% lower than the national average.]
I honestly can’t think of that many reasons to not go there because I’ve had such a positive experience. It’s mostly the area and the fact there’s not much to walk to.