An Interview On
Williams College

Background

Interview Date:July 2017

Gender Identity: Female
Race/Ethnicity: African-American
Sexual Orientation: Heterosexual
Graduation Year: 2017
High School Experience: Private school in Baltimore, MD with a graduating class of about 100 students.
Major: Psychology
Minor: None. There aren’t any minors at Williams. A lot of people do double majors. There are concentrations within some majors but not all.
Extracurricular Activities: I did two dance groups freshman through junior year and one senior year. It was a pretty large time commitment. When I was in two groups I was dancing on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Sunday. I will say that some of my best friends I met through those groups.

Academic Experience

Can you describe the weekly coursework for your major?
It depends, the only time you have a problem set for Psychology was in the statistics classes. Psych-Stats is required, and for that, you have a weekly problem set. For the most part, it was reading intensive. In the higher-level classes, you read and discuss it in class, and for the lower level classes you just have textbook readings. The big assignments for the lower level classes are exams and quizzes, and then in the higher-level classes, you have response papers and then essays.

Is there anything you feel your major’s department does especially well or poorly?
The Psychology department does a good job of attracting people to the major. I found that all the professors were very good and very approachable. They are intriguing and have had hands-on experience in the field. They also have a really good array of classes you can take. You start with 101 and get different tastes of psych, and then they offer lots of classes to see what you’re interested in, whether it be clinical, neurological, or social.

What was your favorite class you took for your major?
Clinical and Community – we had the opportunity to go and work with people in the field. I assisted with a middle school guidance counselor. It was interesting because it was a small intimate group, but at the same time, you got experience that you can put on a resume.

What was your least favorite class you took for your major?
Hands down Psychology Statistics. I didn’t think it was interesting, you’re learning statistics. At one point you run a study, but that’s the only interesting part. It’s mostly bland math, which is not my thing.

What was a fun class you took outside of your major?
A Studio Art class called Art and Activism – it was something totally different than anything I’d done because I hadn’t taken an art class since high school.

Why did you pick your major? Are you happy with your choice?
Primarily because I took Psychology Disorders sophomore year. I was originally going to be a Philosophy major, but I found Psychology so fascinating. I thought it answered so many questions about things that people experience. I also thought that it was very relevant. Sometimes I think that if I had stuck with English or something I was innately strong at, I could have ended up with a better GPA at the end. But I am fascinated by Psychology and have taken some very interesting classes, so I’m happy with my choice.

On and Around Campus

Where have you lived on campus?
Freshman: Quad in Williams Hall, which is one of 2 dorms that freshmen live in. I was in a quad with 2 doubles and a shared common space with a couch.

Sophomore: Quad in Carter House, which is in Greylock Quad. I had a single bedroom and then lived with 3 other girls with a shared common room.

Junior: I had a Dingle, which is when a single person lives in a double room, in Thompson Hall. It was huge.

Senior: Woodbridge in a co-op with 11 other people. I had a single. This was my favorite, for sure.

How walkable is the surrounding area?
If you’re walking to the supermarket it could be a 30+ minute walk. There is a shuttle that can take you. There isn’t anything immediately off campus where you can get groceries.

What is your favorite off-campus restaurant?
Blue Mango

What is your favorite place to get away from campus?
The Mass Moca Museum of contemporary art. It’s awesome and is free for Williams students.

Pros and cons of being in Williamstown, MA?
Pros: (1) It’s a beautiful location.
(2) The walkability of campus.
(3) The feeling that you’re safe there.

Cons: (1) It can be isolating.
(2) The general lack of places to go out in terms of bars, clubs, etc.
(3) The lack of new faces because it’s a small town and a small campus.

Social Opportunities

What kind of weekend activities or nightlife do you like to participate in?
I went out mostly on Friday and Saturday. This year I went out Thursday too. For the most part, all nights ended at the bar. I’d go to a house party on Hoxsey Street, which is where the upperclassmen on sports teams get houses. That’s where most of the parties take place. One of my favorite nights is Halloween on Hoxsey, which is when all the houses open up for a huge Halloween party and everybody house hops. You buy a bracelet to get into the houses and then all the proceeds go to charity.

What’s “The Bar?”
It’s called the Red Herring. It’s the bar because it’s the only bar in Williamstown. So, everybody just calls it “The bar.” [Editor’s note: The Red Herring has closed.]

What are some other options if you don’t want to go out to a party or bar?
Williams After Dark hosts a lot of events for people who don’t want to go to a party but still do something. Sometimes they bake, make their own stuffed cow, they have a bunch of activities. If there are dance performances or plays they happen Friday and Saturday night and start at like 8. Sometimes people will go see the performance and then go out, it’s easy to do both.

How happy are you with the weekend options at Williams? Is there anything you would change if you could?
It’s alright. Some nights I thought the party that was happening was just bad. Also, it’s a small school, so some nights it’s like if the soccer team didn’t feel like throwing a party there just wouldn’t be one.

Campus Culture

How did you make your closest friends?
A lot of them were from dance groups. One of them I met through class. The others I met through Freshman Year Entry. Freshman Year Entry is when you come to Williams you’re put in a group of 24 incoming students that you live with and have 2 juniors that are advisers. Every Sunday there are snacks in the common room and you hang out. You also do different activities with them throughout the year, so it makes a small community within the big community.

Do people of different races and sexual orientations mix socially?
Yes, to an extent. Do they socialize with each other? Sometimes. There are also things like the Black Student Union, etc. for people who want to be with their own affinity group. I will say, even though I have friends of different backgrounds, some have commented to me that they didn’t love the social scene at Williams and they felt out of it. Sometimes my friends who were minorities would say that they didn’t feel totally comfortable. I felt pretty fine for the most part, though. [About 50% of students are White, about 13% are Hispanic, 8% are Black, and 12% are Asian.]

How would you describe the social scene?
A lot of peoples’ social affiliation comes from the groups they’re in. A lot of people are involved on campus and that’s the way people create their friend groups. I would say the sports teams are cliquey, which is totally understandable because they spend so much time together. People definitely establish their groups. Because it’s such a small place, people want to have people that are their group. But, for the most part, I felt that people at Williams were friendly.

Do people seem happy with Williams by senior year?
I’ve met a lot of people that love it, I’ve met some people that aren’t completely pleased with it. Because Williams is so small, it is easy to see things that are great and not so great. It’s mixed, to be honest. [There are about 2,100 students.]

Careers

Has the alumni network helped you with internships or jobs?
I think Williams has super faithful alums because it’s such a unique experience being at such a small school. People have a special place in their heart for Williams. I haven’t used the network a ton, but the alums I’ve come in contact with are super helpful.

Advice for Prospective Freshmen

What is something you wish you knew about Williams before entering as a freshman?
I wish I knew earlier to try to take some more moments to just enjoy the people I was around. At Williams, you can get stressed out with studying and feel like you need to get back to the library. For me, just knowing earlier that an important part of the experience is meeting people.

What is something a prospective student may miss on a visit that’s worth checking out?
Maybe go to dorms that they don’t take you to on the tour so you can get a feel for where you’ll be as an older student. The old frat houses are really cool, like Agard, Spencer, and Perry.

Reasons to attend Williams:
1) The great education – you’re going to be challenged and you’re constantly being pushed a little further and further.
2) The community. For some people the community is lacking, but that small group of people that you get really close with is pretty cool.
3) The music program is really top-notch, so if you’re into that check that out.

Reasons to not attend Williams:
1) It’s a small, isolated town.
2) The population can feel homogenous.
3) It’s a small school, about 2,100 students.

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

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