BackgroundInterview Date:November 2018
Gender Identity: Female
Race/Ethnicity: Biracial: White & Latina
Sexual Orientation: Heterosexual
Graduation Year: 2019
High School Experience: Private high school in Washington, D.C. with a graduating class of about 130 students. There was a culture of going to college.
First Generation College Student: No
Extracurricular Activities: I volunteer at an animal shelter nearby, and I’m also part of the Scripps Economic Society. Last year I was hired as a Statistics tutor.
Did any of your extracurricular activities have a particularly big impact on your experience? In what ways?
Even though I didn’t actually get to help anyone as a Statistics tutor, my professor recommended me. I felt this was because of the confidence I had in Statistics after taking his class. I also really love animals, so even though volunteering doesn’t have anything to do with my major, I enjoy being around them.
Can you describe the weekly coursework for your Economics major?
We don’t have labs. In all my Economics classes, we usually have problem sets. In my lower level classes, we had problem sets due every day we had class, so probably twice a week. In the upper division electives, we only have problem sets due once every two weeks.
Is there anything you feel your major’s department does especially well or poorly?
Our Economics department is pretty small. I think we have three professors right now, but they’re hiring another. Even though it’s small, the professors are brilliant, and their office hours are very accessible to everyone.
How would you describe the learning environment? Do you think it’s particularly collaborative or competitive?
I don’t think it’s too competitive. I think it’s more collaborative since our classes are so small. My Economics classes usually have 15-20 people in them, and everyone knows each other. [About 63% of classes have between 10-19 students.]
What is your favorite class you’ve taken for your major?
Economic Development, which I took last year. My mom works in economic development, so I’ve heard her talk about her work a lot. I found that class really interesting because I was able to relate it to stuff my mom has told me about.
What is your least favorite class you’ve taken for your major?
Either Introduction to Macro or Micro Economics. It’s so much reading and the tests are multiple choice, which I don’t feel shows how much you’ve learned from the class.
Why did you choose your major? Are you happy with your choice?
I came to college doing a 3+2 engineering program, which is three years in Claremont, and then two years at an engineering school. I was doing that because my parents pushed me in that direction, but I hated it. After I took my first Economics class, I thought it was really interesting. Since I switched my major around a lot, it was becoming too late to switch again, but I really do enjoy the classes and the material. There is also a large range of jobs you can apply to with an Economics degree, so I’m happy with my decision.
On and Around Campus
Where have you lived on campus?
Freshman: Routt Hall in a triple.
Sophomore: Browning Hall in a single.
Junior: Gabrielle Jungels-Winkley Hall (GJW) in a single.
Senior: NEW Hall in a single with seven suitemates. We have two showers, two toilets, two sinks, and a common space.
Can you describe the level of safety you’ve experienced on and around campus?
I definitely feel safe here. I feel very comfortable walking back to my room alone. Every time you go out, campus security is always around, whether they check IDs to get into the event, or are just doing crowd control at events that aren’t school-sponsored. Even when I’d walk back late at night, they are always around in golf carts. You can call them if you need a ride somewhere. They’ll pick you up if it’s late and you don’t feel comfortable walking alone.
How was transitioning from Washington, D.C. to Claremont, CA?
To be honest, a little bit hard. I have an Aunt that lives in San Diego, so I’ve been to California before and am familiar with the weather. There’s a lot of West Coast people, which isn’t a problem. I feel like they’re more relaxed than people on the East Coast. My high school was a competitive environment, and that’s not to say it isn’t competitive here, but it’s a little more relaxed. The transition wasn’t too hard, especially having people to live with your freshman year. I think the hardest part was transitioning to the academic stuff, but not really the environment of Claremont or California. I started off taking engineering classes, and that made it pretty difficult.
What is your favorite off-campus restaurant?
If I want a nicer meal, I like going to Bardot. I also really like El Ranchero, which is a little cheaper and they have dollar margaritas. A lot of people go there on the weekends so you’ll run into people which is kind of fun.
What is your favorite place to get away from campus?
I have a friend that goes to USC, and I really enjoy going to visit my friends at the surrounding schools. If I didn’t have them, I’d say just going to any beach around here. The beaches feel very different than being in Claremont where there are mountains and it’s very industrial. At the beach, it’s very calm and there’s nothing around except the water.
What are the pros and cons of being located in Claremont, CA?
1) You’re close to L.A., so if you do have a car or don’t mind taking public transportation, it’s nice to be able to go somewhere else if you need to. I’ve found that I haven’t taken advantage of that as much as I’ve wanted to, just because of all the work.
2) We have other colleges, so it’s super nice to take classes there or meet people who are very different than you. Each college has a different group of people that attend.
1) I don’t have a car. There’s transportation here that’s easy and cheap to use, but it’s pretty time-consuming. We have the Metrolink train, but you have to walk to the train station, and it takes a while. The surrounding areas don’t feel like a major city that much, so you can feel removed.
2) There is no college bar or club scene. It’s mostly what you have at the school, which becomes repetitive.
What kind of nightlife or weekend activities do you participate in?
Every other weekend there’s a school-sponsored event. I usually go to those with my friends, but as you get older you know what to expect and it’s not as fun. Now that my friends and I are 21, we can go out to bars or different places. If you have a great group of friends, you can have fun either way.
What are your favorite events that happen?
My favorite event is called the Pirate Party. It’s a party at the end of the spring semester during the day. They get food trucks, bouncy houses, live DJs, and water toys. They serve beer for people who are 21, and everything is free. I also like Halloween weekend. I think there’s a school-sponsored party at Pitzer, and it’s outdoors and super fun because everyone is dressed up.
What nights of the week do you regularly do things?
The school-sponsored events are usually on Friday or Saturday nights. People do go out on Thursday a lot, but those will be dorm parties. It’s very inclusive. All the school-sponsored parties check your ID if it’s at an enclosed area, but when it’s an open event anyone can go. The school also lets you register guests, so anyone can go in if they’re registered. The only time it gets exclusive is if there’s alcohol, and in that case, you have to get a 21+ wristband before the event starts.
How happy are you with the nightlife options at Scripps? Is there anything you would change if you could?
I’ve been pretty happy with it. I don’t particularly like going out a lot, so I think it’s a perfect balance for me. I think if someone really values going out, they could achieve that here, just maybe not at night clubs. Since L.A. is here, I do know a lot of people that are willing to make the trip out there for the nightclubs. The one thing I’d change is they should switch up their parties a little bit. This year there’s actually been a lot of variation and different types of music. A lot of clubs put on parties, like the Latino Student Affairs where they play music from Latin America. I think there’s something for everyone here.
How did you meet your closest friends?
Two of my closest friends were girls I lived with when I was a freshman, and they’re still my closest friends to this day. One of my friends from high school goes here, and she introduced me to one of my best friends. I also have some friends from the other colleges that I met from other people I went to high school with. I feel like living in a suite has also introduced me to people I wouldn’t have otherwise been friends with.
How would you describe the overall social scene?
I would say people here are pretty social. They obviously want to make friends, so especially during your freshman year it’s very social, and people go out a lot more when you don’t have as much work. Because of that, it sets up the other years to be more social.
Do you feel like you are more of a student of Scripps or a student of the Five College Consortium?
In my time here, I’ve felt like I was more so a student of the five colleges. I did try to do Engineering and Computer Science, so my classes for those weren’t at Scripps. Now that I’m doing Economics, I’ve taken most of these classes at Scripps, and I’ve gotten really close to the professors which makes me feel more so part of the Scripps community. At the end of the day, I have my Scripps community that I belong to.
What is the social impact of Scripps being all female?
All of my classes and events are coed, except for my Scripps only classes freshman year. I’ve made guy friends, but I think it has been a little harder. Since the other schools have the coed freshman orientation trips, they make a lot more male friends than people here do. At the same time, I feel like the people who are very social and extroverted have made male friends pretty easily.
To what extent do people of different races and sexual orientations mix socially?
A lot of times people do. There are lots of clubs here that impact friend groups, such as the LGBTQ+ Alliance Club, or the Latino Alliance Club. I do notice people who identify a certain way become close which each other, but I think that’s because they share similar experiences. It’s not exclusive in any way and people do mix around, but people have their smaller support groups. [43% of the undergraduate population are students of color, and 5% are international.]
Do people generally seem happy with Scripps by senior year? Do people leave loving your school?
I think people like it a lot here. The people I know are very much so obsessed with Scripps, and the whole experience of being in Claremont.
Has the alumni network helped you find internships or jobs?
Although it hasn’t directly helped me, I know it has helped people, and the tools are useful. I applied and interviewed for a job where an alumnus came to talk to us.
What have you used the career office for? How helpful have they been?
I’ve used Handshake, which the career office makes available to us. They help you with interviews, help you find internships to apply to, and hold networking events.
Have you learned any computer programs or computer languages that will be helpful professionally?
I’ve learned Excel because I’ve had to use it for classes. They haven’t really taught us anything on it specifically, but I think if we needed help they would have been willing to. I took some Computer Science courses at Harvey Mudd, so I’m able to use Python and Java.
Advice for Prospective Freshmen
What is something you wish you knew about Scripps before you entered as a freshman?
I wish I knew about the freshman year roommate situation. This wouldn’t change my decision on coming to Scripps, but I wish I had known that it wasn’t a freshman hall, and that I would have to try harder to meet new people. Other than that, I feel like I was pretty prepared for the college experience.
What is something a prospective student may miss on a visit that is worth checking out?
I didn’t get to see the other colleges. If I walked around I could’ve looked, but I think doing an overnight visit and seeing how the schools interact would be useful. On my visit, I toured the school but didn’t see people interact that much. It would be cool to let people know it’s not really secluded, and you’re not only going to be friends with the women at Scripps.
Reasons to attend Scripps:
1) The small class sizes are very helpful because the professors are way more accessible. [About 63% of classes have between 10-19 students.]
2) The weather here is very nice.
3) Having the consortium. Each school specializes in a different thing, so you can take advantage of those opportunities. If your major isn’t offered at Scripps, you could find it at a different college.
Reasons to not attend Scripps:
1) If you don’t want a small school that feels like a bubble.