BackgroundInterview Date:November 2018
Gender Identity: Female
Sexual Orientation: Heterosexual
Graduation Year: 2021
High School Experience: Public high school in New York City, NY with a graduating class of about 300 students. There was a culture of going to college.
First Generation College Student: No
Major: Psychology and Linguistics Dual Major. It’s different from a double major because I still take all the classes each major requires but my senior year I am writing a thesis that combines the two.
Extracurricular Activities: I am part of the Refugee Action Network, which goes to a local mosque and helps tutor English as a Second Language to kids and adults. We basically help them with anything they need help with. I take piano as a class which I count as an extracurricular because it’s half of a credit. I also played Ultimate Frisbee last year. I’m taking a break this year but will probably pick it up later.
Did any of your extracurricular activities have a particularly big impact on your experience?
All of them have. Frisbee was really helpful freshman year because it has a really strong sense of community. The Refugee Action Network is good because Claremont can really feel like a bubble sometimes and there’s a lot of separation between our small community and the rest of the community surrounding us, and that’s a good way to open my mind and gain new perspectives. Also, I find new ways of explaining things and learning from other people because many of the people there were very successful in their home country and are very inspiring people. Playing the piano is a stress reliever for me, so it’s a good outlet when academic things are tough.
Can you describe the weekly coursework for your majors?
For Psychology, I have lab assignments that are reflective of what we learned. That can be a lot because it’s that along with project assignments and designing experiments. The rest of my workload tends to be more reading and analyzing research for both Linguistics and Psychology. So, looking at existing research and literature on different topics and being able to read and understand academic writing. For Linguistics I think there is a bigger creative aspect to it. The midterm for a class this year was partially writing and partially a creative project. [I like the combination of majors because] I feel like I’m using multiple parts of my brain.
Is there anything you feel either of your majors’ departments do especially well or poorly?
I’m currently a little bit unsatisfied with the Psychology department because I’ve been taking a lot of prerequisites that are very clinically oriented, like Statistics and Research Methods, so it seems like a very clinical major even though I’m more interested in therapy. I feel like the department doesn’t offer as many tools that would be helpful to go into therapy later on. That’s my major complaint, but I think the classes that I’ve been taking are very informative and useful. It’s hard to say [those classes] aren’t serving some purpose, but they just aren’t what I want.
Another thing about the Psychology department is that it doesn’t have tutors, so there’s no place to go if you’re confused other than the professor and if your hours don’t line up with them it’s difficult to get help. It’s especially hard with the statistics classes because we use a program called SPSS that only exists on the computers that Scripps has in a lab, and so you can’t get the professor to come in the lab with you for extra help, you have to get the T.A. It’s difficult to use the resources.
How would you describe the learning environment? Do you think it’s particularly collaborative or competitive?
For Psychology, all of the classes tend to be very small and the professors have been really helpful with whatever questions you have. The seating arrangements in classes also tend to be more collaborative and engaging. I take a lot of classes at Pomona for Linguistics. Even though I really enjoy the content of the class, the layouts are cold and lecture style with rows of people and the professor standing at the front. I find that in those classes I only get to know the people I sit directly next to and people aren’t really likely to switch seats throughout the semester, so it’s a lot less interactive than classes I take at other colleges.
What is your favorite class you’ve taken for your majors?
I’m currently taking a social linguistics class at Pitzer called Language and Society and I think that’s at the top of my list. The professor is really engaging and we have round table seating so I know everyone in the class. Apart from that, the content is really interesting to me and the workload isn’t too bad. When it is heavy it seems like there’s a reason we’re doing it, it doesn’t feel arbitrary.
What is your least favorite class you’ve taken for your majors?
Psychology Statistics just because there doesn’t seem like there’s much uniformity across the ways different professors teach it. I had peers in other Psych-Stats classes who were doing a lot less work. Our T.A. was helpful but didn’t have a lot of communication with the professor. There was such a discrepancy between my class and other classes because I learned so much information that other people didn’t learn. Even though it was useful, it didn’t feel like it was fair that we were getting that much more work.
Why did you choose your majors? Are you happy with your choice?
I’ve always been interested in Psychology and came into the college knowing I wanted to do that. For Linguistics, both of my parents are not born in the U.S. and they taught me the languages that they speak and I learned French in high school, so I was learning a lot of languages and was fascinated by them. I also talked with somebody who took Intro to Linguistics and they really liked it, so I took it and really liked it.
On and Around Campus
Where have you lived on campus?
Freshman: Last year there was a housing crisis because Scripps overenrolled. I was put in the Claremont Graduate University Apartments. I was in a forced double bedroom, so a single bedroom that they put two people in, and I had two other suitemates and we shared a kitchen and a bathroom. We had to shuttle to and from campus. It was a pretty terrible experience.
Sophomore: Gabriele Jungels-Winkler Hall (GJW) in a suite. It’s five single bedrooms, a bathroom, and a common room.
How was transitioning from New York City to Claremont, CA?
I don’t drive and freshman year I didn’t have friends who had cars here so it felt a bit secluded at times and sometimes a bit claustrophobic. Having the Metrolink that takes you into L.A. is really helpful. For me, it was really important to have mobility. This year I have friends who have cars and we’ve figured out a way to get out of Claremont more easily and that has been the best thing for the transition from New York because in the city transportation is so easy and makes things more accessible. Claremont can feel constricting just because there is not much going on other than what’s going on on campus.
What is your favorite place to get away from campus?
I can’t choose one place because I’ve been trying to try as many places as possible. I recently drove up to Mount Baldy for a friend’s birthday and that was really nice because it’s not that far but it does feel like you’re getting away. I also like going into L.A. for concerts or visiting friends at colleges there and trying the food.
What kind of nightlife or weekend activities do you participate in?
I usually go out two times a week, sometimes three times. Sometimes it’s nice to be with my friends and chill and watch movies, but I also think going out and being able to dance and meet people and be outside. There’s a range here. You can go to a huge 5C party or a smaller event at Doms Lounge [at Pomona] or somebody’s suite.
What are your favorite events that happen?
Honestly, as long as I’m dancing I’m happy. I don’t really care about the size of the thing as long as there’s music and dancing.
Do you go to more events at Scripps or the other colleges?
This year there has been more of a push to have more events at Scripps. In the past, there hasn’t been as many. I’ve always gone out off campus, starting at Scripps but going somewhere else. This year I still go out more off campus, but there are still some places I go on campus.
How happy are you with the nightlife options at Scripps? Is there anything you would change if you could?
It’s nice because the spaces feel homey. There is a big mix and I recognize people from other campuses who go there, but it’s kind of a space for women. It feels more homey in a way. I really like that about the parties at Scripps. Historically Scripps hasn’t been the place where a lot of parties are thrown so it’s hard to know to what extent the parties can go to, so sometimes the parties end a little earlier or are not as big or they’re not in big open public spaces. The nightlife at Scripps is still in its developing stages.
How did you meet your closest friends?
I met one person who introduced me to somebody else who introduced me to somebody else and it just ended up happening that way. My first closest friend is also from New York and I met her during Scripps orientation, which is definitely not the best part of freshman year, so finding something familiar was nice.
How would you describe the overall social scene?
I think it’s very varied. The majority of friend groups are within people at Scripps, but different groups of people associate with different groups on different campuses. That’s something that I really like that’s different about going to a consortium rather than one school. I think at one school it’s a lot more likely to feel like high school and know the gossip, but the consortium is much more spread out and people go to other campuses and it feels a lot less hierarchical than high school.
Do you feel like you are more of a student of Scripps or a student of the Five College Consortium?
I feel like I’m a Scripps student, and I think that has to do with choosing to go to Scripps. I applied to go to Scripps, and then there was also the consortium that I was really happy about.
What is the social impact of Scripps being all female?
Freshman year when you’re taking classes with just Scripps students it creates a nice balance where you’re in a space where you feel that your voice is heard more. I think it offers a new perspective where you’re able to compare your experience in a class where it’s just women to a class that’s mixed. You learn more about yourself as a person in a classroom having both of those experiences. It’s also something that unites people in that there is one experience that we all have in common. There is the typical hardcore feminist stereotype that comes with a women’s college and I don’t think that’s who people here are.
What have you used the career office for? How helpful was it?
I used it for help with finding internships last year. They ran me through how to use some of the online resources. The websites weren’t really helpful and a lot of the internship listings were outdated. I ended up finding the internship that I did on my own. I think that people have different experiences. I also think if I used the alumni network more it may have been more helpful.
Have you learned any computer programs or languages through your coursework that will be helpful to you professionally?
I learned how to use SPSS in Psychology Statistics and Research Methods. If I want to do research in the future that will be helpful.
Advice for Prospective Freshmen
What is something you wish you knew about Scripps before entering as a freshman?
You can say this about any school, I think it’s important to know that if you are unhappy with how something is working you have to really fight for it to change and any interaction with the administration is very, very tedious.
What is something a prospective student may miss on a visit that is worth checking out?
Scripps has a lot of courtyards and gardens that are really enchanting. It’s nice to know that we have these spaces that are secluded but still outside. It’s a really nice place to go when you need time for1 yourself.
Reasons to attend Scripps:
1) You meet people who are really passionate about what they’re learning about. They’re not people who are getting a college education because that’s the next thing to do, it’s people who really care about what they’re learning.
2) Being part of the Five College Consortium is such a benefit because if you’re not happy with a certain group of people or a certain resource you can try to find that somewhere else. That can be both academically or socially, like with the nightlife or going to different dining halls.
3) The location. It’s easy to get to L.A. and you’re close to huge national parks and mountains. Also, the weather’s great.
Reasons to not attend Scripps:
I don’t think there is one big thing that is enough to discourage someone. There might be little things that add up, and that depends on what you’re trying to study and what your interests are.