BackgroundInterview Date:June 2018
Gender Identity: Male
Sexual Orientation: Heterosexual
Graduation Year: 2019
High School Experience: Private Catholic high school in the suburbs of New York City, NY with about 135 students per graduating class. There was a culture of going to college.
Majors: Double Major in History and Adolescence Education
Minor: Cognitive Studies
Extracurricular Activities: Club Ultimate Frisbee, Teachers of Tomorrow Club
Can you describe your weekly coursework for your major?
For Education classes, you have to come up with a lesson plan, each time using different strategies within your lesson to teach the class. You have to make sure that everyone is engaged as you teach your lesson to your peers in your education class. You’re also required to have a certain amount of fieldwork hours in high school and middle school classes tutoring and observing. For History courses, there are a lot of readings, a lot of class discussions, and a lot of papers.
Is there anything that you feel your major’s department does especially well or especially poorly?
The Adolescence Education department does a really good job of seeing if you know if you really want to be a teacher. From the first class freshman year through my junior year, they make sure that students are in the classroom as much as possible in high schools and middle schools so you can know if teaching makes you uncomfortable and if teaching isn’t for you. The History department is really good too. They do a really good job of assigning material that is thought-provoking and makes you want to talk in class and get you engaged. I’m very happy with the major I chose.
How would you describe the learning environment? Do you think it’s particularly competitive or collaborative?
It’s definitely a very positive learning environment. There’s never really been a time that I’ve been in a classroom where I feel scared to voice my opinion or have been put down by a teacher. Marist classes are very inclusive, very open-minded, and very professional.
What has been your favorite class you’ve taken for your major?
Intro to the African Diaspora because it really opened me up to a part of history that you never learn about. In my high school, I didn’t really touch on that. To learn something about Africa, which is a place that most people don’t know about and think that there isn’t a lot of history there, was really eye-opening for me and really interesting. I also had a great professor who I’ve now had for two other classes.
What has been your least favorite class you’ve taken for your major?
Medieval Europe because I’m not the biggest fan of European history and the content was duller to me and not what I was interested in.
Why did you choose your major? Are you happy with your choice?
History was always my favorite subject throughout middle school and high school and it always piqued my interest. A lot of my friends didn’t like history, so I would find myself trying to explain it to them and help them understand what they weren’t getting in class. This is when I realized that I was really good at explaining things that the teacher might not be able to, so I figured that maybe I’d be able to teach history. I always wanted to teach at a high school because I felt like I could relate more to high school students, the problems they’re going through, and generally what it’s like to be a teenager. I thought that I’d be able to do that, especially because I have had a lot of teachers over the years who were really good that inspired me. I’ve also had teachers who were really bad that I never want to be like. I’m very happy with the major I picked.
On and Around Campus
Where have you lived on campus?
Freshman: Champagnat Hall, the biggest dorm building on campus, with one roommate. I really liked living there.
Sophomore: Townhouse in the Lower West Cedar complex with one roommate and six other housemates. I liked it, but with eight guys using one kitchen and two bathrooms. It would get really dirty all the time.
Junior: Off-Campus house less than a mile from the school. That was the best because I had my car, I didn’t have to worry about any rules or regulations with the RAs. I had my own room. It was awesome, I love living off campus. There were six of us that year.
Senior: Off-Campus house with four other roommates (5 people total).
What was your favorite living situation?
Junior year was definitely my favorite living situation. But, I did like my freshmen dorm better than my sophomore dorm.
Can you describe the level of safety on and around campus?
I feel pretty safe on campus all the time. I’ve never really had a situation where I felt like I was in danger. Even though Marist isn’t in a great part of Poughkeepsie, I’ve never really felt threatened. There’s usually security driving around and they have the blue lights system where you can call security if you feel unsafe, so I think the security is pretty good.
What is your favorite off-campus restaurant?
Rossi’s. It’s this really traditional Italian Deli that you walk into and they have all the deli meats and cheeses out as well as hot food like chicken parmesan, pasta, and they even have Italian pastries. They have the best food ever. Everyone loves it.
What is your favorite place to get away from campus?
This is technically still part of campus, but right down on the Hudson River you can go sit on the docks near the crew house. You get a nice view and it’s just really peaceful. It’s probably my favorite getaway.
Pros and cons of being in Poughkeepsie?
Pros: There’s a train station really close to campus that will take you to Grand Central Station in Manhattan in about an hour and forty-five minutes, so it’s pretty easy to get to the city.
Cons: (1) There’s not that much to do, say, on any given Wednesday afternoon. It’s just a typical rundown city so there’s not too much to offer.
(2) It gets pretty cold up there in the winter so if you don’t like the cold weather it’s not that great.
What kind of weekend activities or nightlife do you like to participate in?
Personally, I go out Thursday, Friday, and sometimes Saturday. The nightlife at Marist is mostly bars. Pretty much every weekend people just go to the same bars. Depending on the bar, the wait outside can be really long. Everybody loves Friday night because we all go to Darby’s, which is a rundown, college town bar. In general, it’s pretty fun here. I like it.
What is the impact of Greek life on nightlife?
There’s not huge Greek life at Marist, so the few fraternities there are don’t have very big parties. At the beginning of freshman year, you find yourself going to some of the fraternities’ parties but within a month you realize that most people just go to the bars anyway. [About 6% of students are involved in Greek life.]
How happy are you with the weekend options at Marist? If you could change anything, what would you change?
Personally, I like going to bars and think it’s really fun. I wouldn’t really change it. Honestly, I have fun going to the same bars, seeing the same people. It’s a pretty small school so I like seeing all my friends when I go to the bar.
How did you meet your closest friends?
My closest friend is my roommate from freshman year. We were matched randomly because at Marist you can’t pick your roommate freshman year, they just randomly assign you based on a roommate survey you fill out during orientation. We randomly matched together and we have worked and lived together really well. Our other best friend was the same major as my roommate and they met in class. We also met other guys who lived on our same floor freshman year. I met a girl who was in my group during orientation and I reconnected with her at the bar one of the first weeks of school so her friends became friends with my friends.
How would you describe the overall social scene at Marist?
It is very welcoming and not very cliquey. Everyone pretty much gets along. I pretty much fit in with the jocks, the guys in frats, the girls in sororities, people who just want to study and don’t really go out. I get along with everyone, so, based on my experience, I think that everyone’s very open at Marist. Most people come for the same type of social class, the middle to upper-middle class, so we all pretty much grew up the same. There’s a lot of people from New York, Connecticut, New Jersey. Everyone’s had a similar upbringing so a lot of people get along. [About 49% of the Class of 2022 is from New York and 21% is from New Jersey. Socioeconomically, 46% of students come from the top 10%.]
Do you think people of different races and sexual orientations mix socially?
I’m not going to lie, Marist is not very diverse. It’s mostly white people so usually people of other races kind of form their own groups with other people from other races. [About 76% of the Class of 2022 is White.] I mean I do have plenty of friends from other races that I love. I have friends in my own friend group that aren’t White, but, as a generalization, I’d say that people of color usually tend to stick to people of their own race. In terms of sexual orientation, I see the same type of thing. Usually, straight people hang out with straight people and homosexuals hang out with homosexuals. I also lived with a person who is gay and we got along pretty well. All of his friends were really cool, and a lot of them were gay. Marist is very inclusive and people don’t exclude at all. People just tend to gravitate toward people of the same likeness.
How would you describe the student body?
It’s pretty much middle to upper-middle class Caucasian people. [The median family income is $148,900 and 27% of students come from the top 5% socioeconomically.] I really love the people there. I went abroad the last semester and made a ton of friends there, but it felt good to come home and see my old friends. I’ve made some of my best friends at Marist.
Advice for Prospective Freshmen
What is something you wish you knew about Marist before entering as a freshman?
One thing I wish I knew that I didn’t like as a freshman is there is only one dining hall and you have an unlimited meal plan as a freshman. After a while, you get really tired of the food. There aren’t that many eateries on campus and the dining hall is closed by 9PM, so if you wanted to eat after 9PM you’d have to go off campus. I wish I knew I’d have to walk other places to get food or I would’ve saved up more money to eat out more just because I didn’t like the dining hall that much.
What is something a prospective student may miss on a visit that’s worth checking out?
If you can, try to spend a night there and experience the nightlife because that can make or break a school for a student. I’ve made some of my best friends hanging out at the bar, so I think that helps. College is also a social experience and you learn a lot from the social experiences and friends you make.
Reasons to attend Marist:
1) Depending on your major, it has a really high job placement rate. [In the Class of 2017, about 98% are employed or attending graduate school.]
2) The campus is really beautiful. The school works very hard to maintain the aesthetics of the campus. On a stressful day it’s nice to see a beautiful campus.
3) The class size is really helpful. Most of my classes have around 25 students, and the upper-level class sizes are 10-15 students. I like that we get one on one time with professors and can build those relationships because I’ve been able to get extensions on deadlines and get into classes that were full because I knew the professor. [Average class size is 18-26 students.]
Reasons to not attend Marist:
1) The dining hall is bad. I really hate it.