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An Interview On
Wabash College

Background

Interview Date:November 2019

Gender Identity: Male
Race/Ethnicity: Caucasian
Sexual Orientation: Heterosexual
Graduation Year: 2021
High School Experience: Public charter school outside of Indianapolis, IN with a graduating class of about 650 students. There was a culture of going to college.
First-Generation College Student: No
Majors: Religion and Spanish double major
Minor: Economics
Extracurricular Activities: I’m on two varsity athletic teams during the fall and the spring. I’m a class representative for the Student Senate, I’m part of Inter-Fraternity Council, and I’m in a fraternity. I also have a job on campus with the Center for Innovation, Business, & Entrepreneurship (CIBE).

Did any of your extracurricular activities have a particularly big impact on your experience?
I would say that all of them do, but particularly the two sports have because those are the most time-consuming things I do. Maybe more so than sports, my fraternity has had an impact because that’s where I live, and the friends and the brotherhood that I’ve had there has really impacted me.

Academic Experience

Can you describe your weekly coursework for your majors?
For Religion, a lot of the homework is reading and then coming to class to discuss it in our small classes. From time to time, there will be assignments, whether they be responses to the readings, bringing questions to class, a quiz in class, or an exam. But, the majority of the course load comes from reading and writing papers. Usually, each class has about three to four papers per semester.

Is there anything you feel your majors’ departments do especially well or poorly?
In terms of especially well, all the faculty members in Religion and Spanish are very open to discussing anything you need to. I go to both my Religion and Spanish professors to talk about what I want to do career-wise as well as what courses I should take next semester to better prepare me for the major. I also go to talk to them to discuss coursework or make up for a class that I missed.

How would you describe the learning environment? Do you think it’s particularly competitive or collaborative?
It’s a competitive work environment, but it’s also very team-oriented so, usually, you can rely on the other people in your classes to help you with your work. Or, if you can’t find anybody in the class to work with, you can go to the professor directly and work with them. I definitely think that there’s a community here that’s willing to back you with all of your coursework so, while it’s competitive, it’s also very much like a family and is community-oriented.

How accessible are your professors?
They’re extremely accessible. I have several of my professors’ phone numbers and I’ve been to many of my professors’ houses for dinner. Even this past week I helped one of my professors move furniture. They’re very accessible and very much there for you whether it be for schoolwork, a personal thing, or just congratulating you for something you did outside of the classroom.

Do you think people are open to multiple schools of thought in the classroom?
Definitely. I think one of the reasons having discussion-based classes for many different subjects is successful is because there are a lot of different viewpoints and people in the class who offer their insights. Being a liberal arts college makes people think in more creative and critical ways – one of the core values of the college is [freedom of thought] – and people are encouraged to think critically and think about subjects in different ways than they have before. Even though we’re an all-male school in Indiana, there are people who come from all over the country and the world and are in the same classroom as us. [About 5.5% of students are international.]

How has going to an all-male college impacted your academic experience?
Going to an all-male school has been different and is not something I would expect myself to do out of high school, but I think it’s helped me be more open in the classroom and also in my personal life. Not being able to rely on women to discuss feelings and having to open up and be vulnerable with other men has taught me a lot of communication skills. It made me grow as a man and learn what it means to be a man more so that I think I would at a college with men and women.

Why did you pick your majors? Are you happy with your choice?
There was a motto on campus my freshman year that majors don’t matter as long as you get the proper experiences to prepare you for the field that you want to go into. They said major in what you love, so I took classes in about eight different topics and I learned that Religion and Spanish were my favorite classes as well as my best subjects. I chose to minor in Economics because that’s something I’ve always been interested in learning more about. I’m happy with my choices because I look forward to going to class every day and I’m excited about the classes that I get to enroll in because they’re things I’m good at and I also enjoy learning about.

How is managing both your sports and your coursework?
That’s definitely a challenge. But, what’s really nice about Wabash is that they set aside the time from 4:00-6:00 PM for just sports practices. When you’re in season, that timeframe is used for practice but you know that you aren’t missing out on anything happening on campus. Another difficulty is missing out on classes because of games because, in such a small classroom setting, it’s hard to make up what you missed in class, especially with discussion classes. But, that’s where the accessibility of the professors and the support from them for athletics helps balance that load.

On and Around Campus

Where have you lived on and around campus?
Freshman – Junior: I’ve lived in my fraternity house all three years with one roommate.

Wabash has visit days in the spring and during that time you’re allowed to go to each fraternity and they are allowed to interview you, get to know you, and give out bids. You’re allowed to accept those bids, be in contact with the rush chairman, and join before you come to school. For example, this year, we have twelve freshmen ready to be in their rooms the first day and then we also have two freshmen who want to be in fraternities but don’t know which one, so they were placed in my fraternity for the first week and during that first week they’ll rush each house. But, the majority of people who join Greek life accept a bid the spring of their senior year in high school. [About 64% of men are involved in Greek life and 61% of first-years are involved in Greek life.]

How was transitioning from outside of Indianapolis, IN to Crawfordsville, IN?
My hometown is a suburb of Indianapolis, so there was a lot going on. Crawfordsville is a little bit further away from Indianapolis, so sometimes it’s hard to find stuff to do outside of Wabash. But, the transition wasn’t too bad because I find myself staying on campus so much and when I do go out to the community it’s to do community service or get food or an activity with friends.

Can you describe the level of safety you’ve experienced on and around campus?
It’s extremely safe. I’ve walked back from the library at 2:00 AM several times and there are lights so I never feel unsafe walking back on campus. I definitely feel a higher level of security whenever I’m on campus.

Pros and cons of being located in Crawfordsville, IN?
Pros:
1) There aren’t many distractions as far as bars or other activities to distract you from schoolwork, so you’re really focused on what you need to do.
2) Crawfordsville is a community that needs a lot of help from community service and philanthropy. If you’re looking to get involved, there’s ample opportunity to do so. [The poverty rate in Crawfordsville is about 15.5%.]
3) It’s a small town, so you get to know a lot of people within the town. It can make a difference because you can get to know your professors within the town or the people in the town, like meeting with the mayor.

Cons:
1) The lack of activities to do and options to explore makes it a little boring when you’re stuck on campus. When you’re here over the weekends or if you’re stuck over the break, you’re going to run out of things to do.
2) The weather during the winter months is bad. It gets dark very early and it gets so cold during those times.

Social Opportunities

What kind of weekend activities or nightlife do you like to participate in?
As far as parties go at Wabash, there aren’t any parties from Sunday to Thursday because, since it’s all-male, we have kind of a complicated system of bringing girls to our parties. Usually, parties don’t happen until Friday and Saturday and girls come from Purdue, IUPUI, Indiana University, or other places. During the week, we have a lot of club meetings that go on at night, there are a lot of plays and performances that are really good and well attended, and we have speakers on campus. On the weekends, there are games to go to during the day and there may be a party at night. The parties here are pretty fun because it’s a small campus so there aren’t exclusive lists. You can get into any party and there are usually people you know and people to hang out with. Everybody’s really welcoming. About 90% of the parties are fraternity parties and then sometimes independent students will have little get-togethers as well.

What is the process of getting girls over to your parties?
Our fraternities will go to Purdue or Butler and serenade different sororities or they’ll have contacts with sororities or girls on other campuses just through mutual friends or whatever it may be. The fraternities offer sober drivers to go and pick up girls from their school and then bring them back to Wabash. Then, after the party, they’ll bring them back at night and usually the fraternity reimburses whoever is driving for gas. It gets complicated with multiple people going up, driving back, and then driving there and back again, but that’s how it’s done.

What’s an alternative to going to a party or a bar that you like for a night out?
There’s a movie theater right by campus that a lot of people utilize. The Student Life Committee does a really good job of putting on trivia nights and casino nights. There’s also something called Dine Out Crawfordsville where you can get meal vouchers to go eat at certain restaurants, so people will go out to eat and then see a movie after.

How happy are you with the weekend options? Is there anything you would change if you could?
On a scale of 1-10, I would say I’m about a 7 or 8 with how happy I am with it. It’s just hard going to an all-male school in Crawfordsville to have a ton of options on the weekends. A lot of people leave campus if there’s nothing to make them stay, so if there’s anything I would change, I would like there to be a campus-wide event each weekend that incentivizes students to stay. That way we don’t have students leaving to go to other colleges or go home on the weekends.

Campus Culture

How did you meet your closest friends?
Every freshman takes a Freshman Tutorial class and you’re with that group throughout orientation, so you spend a lot of time with those people. I’ve heard from multiple people, and I would agree, that Wabash is really good at making friends for you. With Freshman Tutorial, you’re with the same group of people a lot and then you get to meet other people. My closest friends I met through my fraternity and then my sports team because you’re spending time with your team while you’re traveling on the weekends and you’re living with your fraternity brothers.

How would you describe the overall social scene at Wabash?
It’s fun with the potential for improvement because there are some weekends when it’s really dead and a lot of people leave. Especially if the football team is away as well as another sports team, it’s dead because that takes a good percentage of our campus away, so a lot of people go home then too. As far as events to go to throughout the week to enjoy yourself, it’s good but there could be more fun things to do to get away from school.

To what extent do you think people of different races and sexual orientations mix socially?
I would say we do a really good job of that. We have the Malcolm X Institute on campus that a lot of African-Americans are involved in as well as shOUT that a lot of gay students are part of. shOUT is well supported by straight men who go to their events and support them. There’s no discrimination on party lists whether your straight or gay and there are gay people in my fraternity. There is usually a fair amount of diversity within our parties.

What is the social impact of going to an all-male school?
I think a lot of guys here would be frustrated to have somebody say that the benefit of going to an all-male school is that girls are a distraction because when you go to a school with all men you learn that you have to rely on other men and be open with your feelings. When you’re living somewhere for such a long period of time, you’re not always going to be happy and be strong and act like nothing affects you, so sometimes you have to get emotional and vulnerable with other men and explain to them your feelings. I think the social benefit that comes out of that is being able to have a really strong brotherhood and really strong relationships with other men that you wouldn’t be able to have at other places.

How do you like the size of Wabash in terms of undergraduate enrollment? How was transitioning to a school with [about 880] students?
It’s funny because I actually visited a school with about 2,000 students and I thought that it was too small for me because I went to a high school with over 2,000 students. I then came to Wabash with about 880 students and I fell in love with it. What I’ve heard other people say and I agree with is that it feels a lot bigger than it is because the alumni are so supportive and there are so many people here that genuinely care about you. It’s also nice because if you walk across campus you’re bound to see somebody you know and say hello and catch up with them for a second. The class sizes are small and so you can interact with your professors and really get engaged in the course material. I would say that the size is one of my favorite parts of Wabash.

To what extent do people in Greek life and not in Greek life mix socially?
They mix a lot and that happens through classes, clubs, and sports. [About 64% of students are involved in Greek life] and [36%] is not, and with parties there is not much exclusivity, so fraternity members and independents do a good job of mixing. There’s never any question of whether you can have independents over to the house to hang out or work on homework.

Careers

Has the alumni network helped you find internships or jobs?
Yes, it definitely has. I actually sent an email today to an alum because I was applying for a job at a company he works at and he said he would call the hiring manager and personally recommend me. There’s a huge amount of help from the alumni network. I’ve gotten two internships since I’ve been here and both have come through connections and the alumni network.

What have you used the career office for? How helpful have they been?
They’ve been helpful. I’ve used them for practicing interview strategies, crafting my resume and figuring out what not to put on it. I also used the career center to apply for a fully paid program to go to Chicago and shadow and work with Wabash alumni and tour different companies that Wabash alumni work at. We stayed in a hotel for a couple of days and then wrote about our experience in a blog post.

Have you learned any computer languages or software that will be helpful to you professionally?
In my Economics minor, I’ve taken a Microsoft Excel class and then also a Statistics class where we use Stata. Also, through calculus classes, we use Mathematica. I haven’t taken a Computer Science class so I don’t know any other languages.

Financial Aid

Have you used financial aid? How easy is the office to work with?
I’ve used financial aid and they’re always sending out emails to update you on your scholarship and if you’re meeting your goals for your scholarship. They also email you to let you know what you’re getting from FAFSA. They’re very accessible. I’m going abroad next semester and I’ve had to work with them a lot to make sure that all of the checks and balances are in order and they’ve been really helpful. I’ve had personal meetings with them just to make sure that I’m on the right track for that.

Additional Services

Have you used mental health or counseling resources? How easy are they to work with?
Yes, I’ve gone to the Counseling Center and I did a drop-in appointment and then set up another meeting. They also checked up on me afterward and I felt a lot better. You can also set up appointments online or just email them.

Advice for Prospective Freshmen

What is something you wish you knew about Wabash before entering as a freshman?
I wasn’t sold on fraternities when I came in as a freshman but decided to join to test it out. I wish I knew how much of an advantage you have by having a close network of brothers right when you start. I wish I knew how much a fraternity can be used as a launchpad into other social involvement activities on campus.

What is something a prospective student may miss on a visit that’s worth checking out?
The career services building because it’s kind of off campus and is not a huge building, but the inside is really nice. They also have posters and brochures that talk about successful students after college, so I think that would be helpful for a prospective student.

Reasons to attend Wabash:
1) It’s very easy to get involved on campus and make meaningful impact on the community.
2) The job and graduate school placement rates are really good. [100% of students in the Class of 2018 were settled in their first destinations within six months of graduation.]
3) The relationships you build with others is amazing because of the all-mall factor but also because it’s a place where there’s so much human to human interaction.
4) We have Immersion Trips, which all students have the option of doing. It’s a goal that every student goes on one. It’s a really special program and they go all over the place.

Reasons to not attend Wabash:
1) The difficult social setting because of the all-male aspect of the college.
2) The classes are very difficult and the homework is strenuous.

Notice: Wabash College is a trademark. Induck uses it for descriptive purposes, not to imply affiliation with, endorsement from, or sponsorship by Wabash College.

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