An Interview On
Washington College

Background

Interview Date:July 2018

Gender Identity: Female
Race/Ethnicity: Caucasian
Sexual Orientation: Heterosexual
Graduation Year: December 2017
High School Experience: Public school in north Baltimore County with about 550 people in my graduating class.
First Generation College Student: No
Majors: Double major in Art History and Anthropology
Minor: None
Extracurricular Activities: I was in a sorority, I was in Anthropology club and the Anthropology Honor Society.

Did any of your extracurricular activities have a particularly big impact on your experience?
I would say all of them, but mostly my sorority. We did a lot of charity events for domestic violence. All of the money we got through our charity events went to [Mid-Shore Council on Family Violence], which was a shelter for women who were abused by their significant others and other victims of domestic violence. Also, the Anthropology Society ran the Public Archaeology Lab, so we got to teach Chestertown residents and other students on campus about the history of the town and gave them a walkthrough on what anthropology and archaeology were.

Academic Experience

Can you describe your weekly coursework for your major?
For Art History, I would say I probably had four essays per semester per class. But mostly it was reading, so we would have maybe a hundred pages of reading every two days in the upper level classes. I would read two books a week for my independent study in Art History, but that’s not very [common]. That was kind of just because it was an intense study and I wanted more rigorous coursework. For Anthropology, we had similar work. We maybe had an essay every semester, like researched based essays and PowerPoint projects.

Is there anything you feel either of your majors’ departments do especially well or especially poorly?
Our Art History department was kind of underfunded. They didn’t have a lot of funding, so it was really difficult to give us out of class experiences. We maybe went on one museum trip. I thought it was kind of weird not begin able to go to different museums around the East Coast, especially on the Eastern Shore [of Maryland]. There are so many different museums in Annapolis and Baltimore areas.

I liked how both departments were pretty hands-on. There’s a lot of hands-on learning, and that’s how I prefer to learn. Our class sizes were really small and I like that they were discussion based because I’m not really into big lectures because you kind of lose interest. I liked that they were discussion based because would all contribute our ideas and opinions when we did out of class readings.

Can you describe the learning environment? Do you think it’s competitive or collaborative?
I would say more on the collaborative level. Both departments were pretty small. Art History was the smallest, there aren’t a lot of majors. We would get together and have our own study sessions. I thought that was really nice. It wasn’t super competitive, everybody was trying to help everyone else. Anthropology was the same. I thought there was more friendship among the Anthropology students. A lot of them were pretty outgoing, there were a lot of double majors in Anthropology and Theater which was really interesting. So that was a whole different group of kids that I never would have talked to otherwise.

Why did you choose that combination of majors?
Once I started taking Art History, I was thinking along the museum track. To work in a museum, I was told that taking anthropology classes and really being able to understand the human as an individual and more on a psychology level was really important. I became very interested in anthropology and archaeology, as well as history and learning about the past. So, I thought it was a really great combination to go into if I’m looking into working at a museum.

Are you happy with your choice?
Absolutely, I wouldn’t have done it in a different way.

On and Around Campus

Where have you lived on campus?
Freshman: Reed Hall with one roommate. We technically shared a single, but they ran out of room so the beds were permanently lofted and there was like no space in the room, but she ended up being my best friend throughout my whole college experience, which is really great.

Sophomore: I lived in Harford in a suite type setup. There were six of us total in two double rooms and two single rooms. My freshman roommate and I shared one room.

Junior: We moved to an off-campus house on Rolling Road. That was about a two-minute drive from campus. There were five of us living there.

Senior: I lived in Rolling Road.

What was your favorite living situation?
My favorite was Rolling Road just because it was the first time I had a single room to myself and I didn’t have to share, especially since we both had boyfriends since freshman year. It was also just a really nice house so we got to have a bunch of fun parties there. We had a kitchen and I never really used the campus dining hall because it wasn’t very vegetarian and vegan friendly.

Can you describe the level of safety you’ve experienced on and around campus?
I thought it was very safe. We had public safety circling around campus and it was very well lit. Sometimes I would feel a little unsafe walking back from the library at like 2:30 in the morning, but that was mostly because Harford Hall was at the very opposite end of campus.

What is your favorite off-campus restaurant?
Evergreen, which is kind of like a local bakery. We would always go there on Saturday or Sunday morning.

What is your favorite place to get away from campus?
The Fish Whistle. That is another local restaurant. It is on the water and we would usually go down there for happy hour or to pregame before going home and getting ready. I thought that was a really good spot to go to because all of Washington College would go for happy hour and then go back there because it was the main bar later at night.

Pros and Cons of being in Chestertown, MD?
Pros: (1) It’s a gorgeous area.
(2) It’s historic, so there’s a lot of stuff that goes on there that art history majors and other history majors or people who are interested in history would really appreciate.
(3) It’s kind of set away in a rural place, so it’s not a very fast pace.
(4) Everyone’s so nice. The locals really love the college kids because we support local business and we bring a lot of fun to the town. So that’s always really nice so that the townies don’t think we’re just a bunch of hooligans.
(5) When you’re in school it’s fun to be able to walk around town and know everybody and a favorite place to go.

Cons: You’re stuck in the middle of nowhere. If you want to go to a mall it’s like an hour away. There’s one local movie theater. There are not that many bars. A lot of people say that there’s not much else to do except drink and walk downtown and get food.

Social Opportunities

What kind of weekend activities or nightlife do you like to participate in?
Mainly going out to the bars. Sometimes I would do get together and do activities with my sorority sisters or my Anthropology Club members would get together and do nerdy stuff like watch art historical movies and stuff like that. Most of the time I was going out with my roommates who didn’t participate in Greek life. I had been friends with them since my first day freshman year. We would usually go out and meet up with students who were either on girls or guys sports teams.

What nights of the week would you regularly go out?
Mostly Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays, and sometimes on Tuesdays we would do a bar crawl type thing.

What is the impact of Greek life on nightlife?
I would say, since it’s a small school, there wasn’t a whole big Greek life impact in general. Girls sororities technically weren’t allowed to have parties. Most of the time they would go to fraternity parties or sports team’s parties. It was a mix of people. [About 25% of the student body is part of Greek life.]

What have been your favorite times at WAC?
I thought that the spring and winter formals for my sorority were really fun. We would usually have formals which were the most fun part of the year. Spring and winter formals, you would usually dress up and have a party and those are really fun. I also thought that the graduation events of my senior year were really fun. They did a lot of cool stuff for us, like a cruise, we went to George Washington’s house at Mt. Vernon and had a champagne toast there so that was fun.

How happy are you with the nightlife? Is there anything you would change if you could?
I would have another thousand [students], just to have some more experiences and meet some new people. I wish that maybe there had been another bar that everyone could have regrouped at. But other than that, I thought my experience was generally positive. I do wish that there had been a bigger social scene at WAC.

Campus Culture

How did you meet your closest friends?
I did a pre-orientation trip before freshman year started. They do these so kids who want to participate in them can meet some friends before they actually start school. I did a camping and kayaking trip and I met two of my good friends on it. One of them I had already known in high school but I became a little closer to her. Then most of them I met through my roommate freshman year. We all became very close after that and they lived in the freshman dormitory that was right next to ours, so we would go between those dormitories and that’s how we became really close and ended up living together throughout the rest of our college experience.

Do you think people of different races and sexual orientations mix socially?
Yeah, definitely. I would say that WAC has a really good variety of people. We bring a lot of different people to our school. We have an appreciation of the arts. There’s a huge theater department, which brings a lot of different kind of crazy people. We have a really great English program. I would consider our school to be pretty liberal, so we do get a lot of liberal students that flock to WAC. I would say we have a really diverse group of kids.

How would you describe the overall social scene at Washington College?
As I mentioned, it’s very Greek-centric, but it’s still very good.

How would you describe the student body?
There was a GroupMe [group text group] of like 250 kids who were the “going out people”. So that’s everyone who we would know was going out that weekend. Then we have the more artsy kids who were the theater majors or the fine arts majors who would do the events on campus and get together and watch movies in academic buildings and drink wine and maybe do a book reading or a poetry reading, which I never really participated in but I kind of regret not participating in it to just know what it was like. Then we have the more academic people who did not partake in going out and you wouldn’t really see them outside of class. I would also say that Greek life would mix with the going out GroupMe. Half of them weren’t in Greek life, but they would just kind of spontaneously go out whenever they wanted to.

What’s the impact of Greek life on social life?
At WAC it wasn’t that big, so Greek life tended to mix with non-Greek life most of the time because there were only three sororities and four fraternities. Non-Greek life people and athletes would also mix together, so I wouldn’t say Greek life had a huge impact on someone going out. There were people in Greek life who would go out and wouldn’t go out, so it was a mix.

Do you think people are happy with their choice of Washington College by the time they graduate?
I would generally say, no. I mean I think a lot of people don’t get the full potential out of WAC because they don’t want to experiment and try new things. They just kind of wanted things to fall into their lap. I know a lot of people who ended up transferring their sophomore year because they didn’t feel like there was a lot to do there, and they were in the more or less standard majors so they didn’t have the connection with their department that some of the more artsy majors had. I personally don’t regret going to WAC, but I know a lot of people went in wanting a smaller school and ended up realizing that it wasn’t enough people and they don’t like not meeting new people every day. I think it’s nice to walk around campus and know most of the people you run into.

Careers

Has the alumni network helped you find internships or jobs?
I have met a decent number of alumni who work in my area and have connections to other museums, but I haven’t utilized any of them. They’ve kind of come to me from other people who worked at WAC but not really alums. My boyfriend who is also a WAC alum got his current job from talking to WAC alums. There is a nice network there that I haven’t used so far.

Have you used the career office much? If so, how helpful were they?
Yeah, I would go in there all the time to talk about possible career paths. They had mock interviews where I would dress up and they would tell me these are the questions you might be asked and I thought it was really helpful to do a role play with them and get used to not being as shy and nervous when you go into interviews.

Did you learn any soft skills through classes or the career services office?
Because the classes were so small, you couldn’t hide in the back of the classroom. So, there were a lot of oral presentations, readings, and class discussions that you eventually become a part of if you weren’t used to that coming in from high school. For me personally, I was always kind of shy in high school and I never really wanted to participate. Coming into WAC and having to do oral presentations I was really nervous and eventually became a lot better at it because I was doing it. Also, once you got more friends in your department and got more comfortable with them, it became easier to do oral presentations. I thought that was so nice about WAC, the small size made it easier to become more confident in those situations.

Advice for Prospective Freshmen

What is something you wish you knew about WAC before entering as a freshman?
That the library wasn’t 24 hours because that would have been huge. I was constantly studying at all hours and it is kind of annoying that the campus would shut down at two in the morning. A lot of kids wanted to stay in the library and they wouldn’t be able to. So, I envied the larger public institutions which had 24-hour libraries.

What is something a prospective student may miss on a visit that’s worth checking out?
I would tell prospective students to go walk around town and familiarized yourself because a lot of kids just want to walk around campus, but you don’t stay on campus for your entire college experience. We have really cool events, like First Fridays, and they have farmers markets on Saturdays which are fun, and there is this thing called Harry Potter festival every year that nobody really knows about. I love how small the town is and I love that like local artists are always making new things and you can just walk around town meeting people and you’ll see a teen making as sculpture in the middle of a garden and stuff like that. We also get a lot of local galleries coming in, so it’s more like a rural kind of artsy scene.

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