BackgroundInterview Date:August 2018
Gender Identity: Female
Sexual Orientation: Heterosexual
Graduation Year: 2019
High School Experience: Private school in Baltimore, MD with about 90 people in the graduating class.
Majors: Double major in English and Economics
Extracurricular Activities: I’m a student-athlete, I worked in the dining hall, and I tutored kids at an elementary school in Williamstown.
Have any of your extracurricular activities had a particularly big impact on your experience?
Being an athlete takes up a lot of my time and my best friends are on the team, so that has shaped my experience. Working in the dining hall allows me to meet a lot of new people and become friends with the staff which has been nice.
Can you describe your weekly coursework for your major?
English is a lot of reading. I read about a book a week for each class. For almost every class there is a weekly response that is graded and given back to you. There are also essays every other week. It’s pretty difficult. For Economics, there are usually two midterms a semester and a final. There is a problem set due every week and little readings for each lecture.
Is there anything you feel either of your majors’ departments do especially well or especially poorly?
The English department has really good professors. They are known for being awesome professors. That’s one thing I’ve loved about the English department.
The Economics professors are super knowledgeable and qualified, but sometimes that comes to backfire because it’s really hard and they expect a lot out of you. They’re so smart and they know it so well, it can be difficult for them to get the idea across to the student. It’s generally a pretty hard major, but still really interesting.
Can you describe the learning environment? Do you think it’s competitive or collaborative?
Generally, it’s not super competitive. People are really competitive with themselves and highly motivated to do well. They don’t compete with each other. Rarely do people talk about what grades they’re getting or how they did on an exam. People don’t really compare grades. People are generally pretty collaborative because it’s so hard and you have so much work that students bond through that and work together. People are willing to help each other out because they understand how difficult it is.
What have been your favorite classes in your majors?
Economics: Environmental Economics. The professor was a really good lecturer, so listening to the lectures was really fun. It was a lot of work, but if you did it and worked hard you did well in the class.
English: Milton Through the Romantics, partially because my favorite professor taught that. That was the third class I took with that professor. The course material was interesting and was a lot of stuff I’d never read before, like the Pride and Prejudice and Romantic [era] poetry.
What have been your least favorite classes in your majors?
Economics: Intro to Macroeconomics. I didn’t like the professor and it was pretty hard for me.
English: Graphic Storytelling, probably because I don’t have a ton of interest in graphic novels. Also, I’m not very artistic, so it was hard to have something to contribute in class about the art because I didn’t pick up on it.
Why did you pick your majors? Are you happy with your choice of majors?
I’m very happy. I picked English because I have always loved reading. In high school, I didn’t like my English classes, so I didn’t take an English class my first semester freshman year. Then I took one to fulfill a writing requirement, and it was the first class I took with my favorite professor. I loved the professor, so I wanted to take more classes with him, and I loved the discussions and the books we read were great. I like writing, and I think my writing is something that has improved a lot, and that is something that is important to me.
In terms of Economics, I’m happy with it. It’s really hard which can be super frustrating. It’s a lot of work and then getting a B+ and that stinks. What we’re learning is super interesting and really relevant to most parts of life. I often find myself applying economics terms and ideas to different things. It helps me understand what’s going on in the news better, which I find a lot of value in.
How is managing your sport and your coursework?
When you’re not in season during the fall, it’s pretty nice because it’s pretty laid back. Like if you have to go to practice and lifts, but if you have an exam or something you can make up the lift on your own time or miss practice.
During the season, it’s a lot and all your time is budgeted because you have classes all day, practice, and then dinner, and then work until you go to bed. You definitely have a lot less free time when you’re in season, but in a way, it’s nice because you have to get your work done and you don’t have time to do nothing with.
On and Around Campus
Where have you lived on campus?
Freshman: Sage Hall with one roommate in Frosh Quad. It’s in the center of campus near the student center. Freshmen live in entries with a Junior Adviser, which is kind of like an RA. You live with 20 other kids in your entry.
Sophomore: I lived in Gladden in Greylock Quad, which is on the outer parts of campus. But a lot of sophomores end up living there because it’s the only single dorms you can get as a sophomore. I had my own room and lived with my 3 best friends in 4 rooms facing each other. We also lived near some of our other friends, which was really fun. I really liked sophomore year.
Junior: I studied abroad in the fall, and when I came back I switched with someone who was abroad in the spring. I lived in Fay [official name: Fayerweather], which is in Currier Quad. It’s a really good location, in like it’s close to classes and the gym. I wasn’t living with my friends in the way I had before which was a bummer.
Senior: I’m living in an off-campus house on Hoxsey St. It’s honestly way more on campus than some of the dorms I’ve lived in. I’m living with 12 people and we each have our own room.
Can you describe the level of safety you experienced on and around campus?
Williams is in Williamstown, which is tiny. It’s very safe in Williamstown. The neighboring town, North Adams, is not as safe, but you have to drive a little way to get there. Williamstown is safe and quiet and there is not much going on there. On campus, I have never felt unsafe.
What is your favorite off-campus restaurant?
Public, it’s in North Adams
What is your favorite place to get away from campus?
Probably going on a hike somewhere. We don’t really leave campus much other than to go eat, to be honest.
Pros and Cons of being in Williamstown, MA?
Pros: (1) It’s super beautiful. You’ll never get tired of the scenery. The mountains are really pretty and the area is known for that.
(2) It’s really nice to have the school be the center of the town. Your professors come to the games and other people in town come to the games because it’s in the middle of everything.
Cons: (1) It can feel really small sometimes. Often by the time you leave for break you’re like, “Oh thank God, I am in civilization now.”
(2) Sometimes it can be difficult to get places. I haven’t had a car on campus yet. Some of my friends have, so I’ve been able to borrow theirs. You have to drive to the drug store, the grocery store, and everything else and there is no Uber.
What kind of weekend activities or nightlife do you like to participate in?
Generally, I go out in season one night a week. We get like one night where we can and I often go out that night. Then out of season, it’s a Friday and Saturday scene at Williams and I’ll go out both nights. People here go out two days a week max.
There are no fraternities or sororities, but there are off-campus houses that are in the center of campus but technically not part of the college. You don’t have to leave the campus basically. The houses are often sports related, at least the ones that I go to. People will pregame in the dorms and then go over. You can drink in the dorms as long as you register it. We used to have a bar in town that people would go to after parties, but that shut down. Maybe another bar will come up and that’s what people will go to, but now it’s house parties and then back to your dorm.
What have been your favorite days and nights at Williams?
I’d say in the spring after my season as the school year is winding down there are day parties on the weekends that are super fun. Everyone is gearing up for finals and they want to see each other until we’re stuck in the library and going home. Williams also has winter study, and everybody has to be on campus during January and you take one class pass/fail. The classes are super random, like Knitting and Lyrics by Bob Dylan, so it’s basically a time to hang out with friends and do stuff you don’t normally get to do. We go out a lot during January and you get to hang out with your friends way more because you don’t have that much work. We also go to a lot of other teams’ games and go skiing a lot.
How happy were you with the weekend options? Is there anything you would change if you could?
I mean it’s definitely not a super crazy school. It’s generally pretty tame. There’s not a lot of variety, it’s the same thing every weekend, but sometimes that can be fun. It’s fun because you get to see people and you’re always with people you know. It can also be a little monotonous doing the same thing over and over, it depends on what you like. It can be refreshing to visit another school or go to a city when you’ve been on campus for a while.
How did you meet your closest friends?
I met my closest friends through my team. I’m really lucky with that because the four of us are really close and definitely best friends. I would say the other grades are not as much like that, so it depends on your year. A lot of other people meet through freshman living, or through their entry or neighboring entries, or just going out.
How would you describe the overall social scene at Williams?
I feel like I’m in a different social scene because I’m an athlete, so I often go out with my team or do stuff with the team. Generally, during the week people are in classes and in the library doing work, so there’s not a lot going on. People are also friends with a lot of other people, so there’s a lot of stuff to go to, like sports games, talks, and student concerts. You often know someone in the band or on the team and you can get your friends to go cheer them on. Social life is oriented around what’s going on on-campus. But, a lot of the time you’re in the library and doing work.
Do you think people of different races and sexual orientations mix socially?
Yeah, definitely. I am lucky because I don’t have to think about that, but when I do I think about it, yes. In terms of sexual orientation, people don’t really care. It’s who you are. There are girls on my team that are lesbians who we’re friends with and you get to meet their friends. As for people of other races, it’s definitely not a different social scene. Everybody is friends with everyone.
Has the alumni network helped you find internships or jobs?
Yeah definitely. The alumni network is super strong and Williams does a really good job of giving you opportunities to meet alums. They often come back to campus for jobs fairs and you can network there. Online they give you every alum, where they work, their email, etc. they are very responsive, I’ve had very good experiences talking to alums and getting other opinions.
Have you used the career office much?
I would say I haven’t utilized the career office as much as other people. They have been helpful in helping me find interesting internships and what I would be interested in after Williams.
Have you learned any computer programs that will be helpful to you professionally?
We have had to use Excel for some classes. I learned R for statistics, which I also have to know for Economics.
Advice for Prospective Freshmen
What is something you wish you knew about Williams before entering as a freshman?
Don’t be afraid to take risks. If you want something, go get it. The professors are super responsive, so go talk to them about whatever you want. Forming good relationships with your professors is easy and is always a good thing.
What is something a prospective student may miss on a visit that’s worth checking out?
You see the library but you don’t get to explore it. The library is one of the coolest parts of the campus. Definitely going to a sports game or a concert is something you would want to go to.
Reasons to attend Williams:
1) The academic scene. You’re often in small classes and getting taught by incredible professors. The level of education is really high. You learn a ton and are with really interesting, really smart people.
2) If you want to get to know a lot of new people and be able to explore a lot of new things. You can go to a ton of different talks, and your education is not constrained to what you’re interested in.
3) You’re in a beautiful part of the country. Everybody loves being in the mountains and the environment.
Reasons to not attend Williams:
1) If you want to just get through with really high grades don’t come to Williams. It’s hard to do that. If you don’t want to get B’s, don’t come to Williams.
2) If you’re interested in a crazy nightlife scene or Greek life, don’t come. It’s pretty tame, and just pretty small house parties.
3) If you want a city feel or to have a lot of stuff to do on the weekends. Most people end up staying on campus during the weekends.