BackgroundInterview Date:April 2019
Gender Identity: Female
Sexual Orientation: Heterosexual
Graduation Year: 2022
High School Experience: Private school in Los Angeles, CA with a graduating class of about 150 students in my graduating class. There was a culture of going to college.
First-Generation College Student: No
Major: Undeclared, but I’ve focused on Dance, Theater, and Education
Extracurricular Activities: I am an intern at Oddfellows Playhouse, I act in theater and short films, and I dance.
Did any of your extracurricular activities have a particularly big impact on your experience?
I came to Wesleyan to major in Theater and ended up enjoying the Dance department more, but I still really value having those two creative outlets and think it’s really necessary for my existence here.
Can you describe your weekly coursework for your Dance and Theater classes?
Wesleyan technically doesn’t have general education requirements but they have [expectations] for people to qualify for honors, so I’ve taken some of those because I want to possibly qualify for honors.
For Dance and Theater, I have performances usually at the end of the semester and then weekly readings and journal assignments. We also sometimes have exams. Those classes are more of a time commitment in class than outside of class whereas my English classes are a lot of work outside of class because it’s more heavily reading and writing.
Is there anything that you feel the Theater or Dance departments do especially well or poorly?
Both of those departments are going through a change. I don’t think the Theater department is in the best place it could be. We have a lot of visiting professors and not enough tenured professors. I also think the Theater department could do a better job of informing the students of what’s required to graduate, but I think the Dance department does a good job of being clear about what you need to graduate. There is Second Stage which does way more shows than the department does. You don’t get any credit, but you get a lot of experience, so I value that a lot more than the department itself.
How would you describe the learning environment? Do you think it’s particularly competitive or collaborative?
From my experience, it’s really collaborative. But, I’ve heard from people who are older than me that there can be some inner-department competition around who gets what roles.
How accessible are your professors?
Very accessible. The professors I’ve had here want to interact with us. Like, I had an Education professor who had us over for dinner. I’ve also had professors tell the students that if we ever want to talk about something they are happy to.
How was transitioning academically as a first-year? Were there any resources that you found helpful in making the transition?
It was very hard. I have a lot of anxiety so I reached out to our health services, which I don’t think are as good as they could be. It’s very understaffed, so I wish that was better. Overall, I feel like I’m with people who care about me and have been able to surround myself with good friends who are there for me. [See Wesleyan Argus article, “With New CAPS Hir, University Moves Towards Meeting Student Needs.”]
Have you used academic accommodations? If so, how easy was the office to work with?
Yeah, I have. Before coming to college, I had to get letters to make sure everything was expressed to them for me to get extra time. Every semester after I decide what classes I’m taking I go to the office and they give me a form to take to each professor that I want to get the accommodation for.
On and Around Campus
Where have you lived on campus?
Freshman: Nicholson 6 in a two-room double. It’s two singles connected by a door and one of the rooms has a door to the hallway. I have the inside room so I have to walk through my roommate’s room into the hallway. Not that many people live in my hall and I feel like a lot of times people have never even been there.
How was transitioning from Los Angeles, CA to Middletown, CT?
As an anxious person, I was very anxious about the change in weather. Luckily, our winter this year wasn’t that bad. Adjusting to cold temperatures and wearing layers was kind of difficult. Also, the distance is tough. For example, we have fall break that is around four days and I couldn’t go home because it takes a whole day to travel there. I ended up just going to a friend’s house which is fun because I’m sure people will want to come to L.A. for the longer breaks.
Can you describe the level of safety you’ve experienced on and around campus?
We have a really present public safety, I see them often. We’re also not in the safest city, so in areas in close proximity to us crime happens often but, on our campus, it doesn’t happen too often. I know things have gotten stolen before and I just didn’t expect for those types of incidents to happen. [There are about 18 crimes per square mile in Middletown, 3 less than the Connecticut median.]
Pros and cons of being located in Middletown, CT?
1) We’re only a ten or fifteen minute walk from Main Street, which is where the most amount of restaurants are. There are a lot of little stores and shops and places where you can go close to campus but not feel like you’re on campus.
2) I like that we have the Middletown library. I don’t think many people have gone there, but I have.
3) It’s good to be close to Hartford and the other colleges around. I’ve been to Connecticut College and Trinity is very close.
1) There are locals who just wander around, which is kind of strange. I wasn’t expecting that in a small town. A lot of people who I presume aren’t sober.
2) Our campus is a public campus that people drive through and sometimes there is reckless driving.
What kind of weekend activities or nightlife do you like to participate in?
I like to see theater and dance shows and also be in the theater and dance shows. All housing is on campus which means that navigating parties at night is not too difficult because you know where they all could be. But, they aren’t advertised very much unless they are affiliated with the school. I tend to do things on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday nights.
What have been some of your favorite shows?
The department shows are really good because they have a lot of technical aspects that are cool. Those also happen in the really big theater we have. I really like going to the small dance shows that my friends are in. One of the coolest things I’ve seen is a senior’s Theater thesis that tried to confront societal norms and gender stereotypes that I thought was really cool.
How happy are you with the weekend options at Wesleyan? Is there anything you would change about them if you could?
In the winter when it’s really cold, I wish there were more big parties or things to do indoors.
How did you meet your closest friends?
I have a best friend who I met because we have the same adviser. My other friends I met through theater or by proximity.
How would you describe the overall social scene?
I think it’s good. I recently experienced some weird friend drama and I think that’s definitely present here. Because it’s a small school you’re going to see people always and you have to learn to navigate that and be respectful and act like an adult. But, because I went to a small high school I don’t think it’s too small. I like seeing people and feeling like I know of half the people here.
How would you describe the student body?
I often feel like, “Wow! Everyone is so accepting in the world.” But then I realize that I’m at Wesleyan and I’m in a bubble. Most people here are open, diverse, and liberal because that’s the kind of people that we attract here.
To what extent do people of different races and sexual orientations mix socially?
I think people find groups of people who are like them, so there are definitely groups of people who are similar and hang out with them because that’s what makes them feel most comfortable. But, I’m pretty sure that everyone here has a friend who identifies differently than they do. I don’t think there’s any feeling of segregation or that they won’t be safe with certain people, those groups just form because it’s most comfortable.
How would you describe the theater community on campus? How strong is it?
I think it’s a little competitive in the actual Theater department. All the freshmen who are in theater that I know are really accepting and caring and just want to tell stories, make art, and perform. I don’t know if I get the same sentiment from the older students. That might be because they’re older and I feel like they know what they’re doing more or have more drive, but sometimes it feels like there are some unspoken things against people.
To what extent do people in Greek life and not in Greek life mix socially?
Greek life is pretty minimal here. There are [6 Greek life organizations]. There are some groups that aren’t technically Greek who just live in the same house like the Eclectic Society. Greek life isn’t well advertised, like, you could know someone and not know that they’re part of Greek life.
What have you used the career office for? How helpful were they?
This year I wrote a resume and a cover letter and I got some instructional how-to papers from the center, but I haven’t had any meetings with the people.
Advice for Prospective Freshmen
What is something you wish you knew about Wesleyan before entering as a freshman?
I think this pertains to every college, but the first semester is not going to be the best. Even if you think it’s really good, you’re going to get to second semester and it is going to be better. Also, you can decide what takes priority as in what classes you take, what organizations you join, and if you care more about social life versus academic life or vice versa.
What is something a prospective student may miss on a visit that’s worth checking out?
Until I took a dance class this semester, I had never seen the dance facilities. They aren’t special or anything, I just think they’re cute and the lighting is nice. I would have loved to see that on a tour.
Reasons to attend Wesleyan:
1) It’s a good group of people and after you leave having gone there will bond you with someone.
2) I appreciate that the school really wants to hear from students about things.
3) There are great resources and you’re going to get a well-rounded liberal arts education.
Reasons to not attend Wesleyan:
1) If you don’t like a small school in a medium-sized town.
2) If you really want someone to hold your hand, I don’t think this is the place for that.