- Class: Junior
- Major: English
- Gender: F
- High School:
- Transfer Student:
While Bates is a highly reputable school with an incredible faculty and very driven students, the atmosphere is definitely relaxed and friendly. In fact when I hear the word "college" it reminds me of some pillared ediface looming over everyone, and that isn't the feeling I get at Bates at all. I think one of the best aspects about Bates is that it knows not to take itself too seriously. There's no staunchness or stuffiness that usually is accompanied by "brick and ivy institutions". It's challenging and very engaging, but by no means intimidating. For the most part students and professors are really comfortable with each other and interact outside the classroom as well as during class time. I wouldn't hesitate to ask my favorite professors to join me for a beer, and I've enjoyed dinner at professors' houses.
I feel that at Bates I was held responsible for the education I received. I took it upon myself to get what I could out of the courses I took and it was a choice I had to make every time. But that's usually exactly the right environment for the kind students that go to Bates. The educational opportunities are definitely there. It is up to the student to either take advantage of them or ignore them. Sure, a student could graduate from Bates having spent the last four years skating by, doing just enough to pass and not really knowing much more than when they arrived...except maybe having refined their palate for different beers. But for the students who really are invested in and genuinely interested and excited by learing and bettering themselves, there is much to indulge in at Bates. I have found that many students who choose to come to Bates really do appreciate the opportunities here and are actively engaged in their education. My friends and I really do get excited about things discussed in class and it's not unusual to hear "intellectual" discussions at lunch. But that doesn't mean that's all we talk about. Most of the time those discussions of an "academic nature" flow into deeper topics such as the appropriate ratio of syrup-to-waffle or the best Beatles song off the White Album or who is responsible for the lastest snow chicken that appeared on the quad overnight.
Maine is arguably the whitest state in the Union...that said it is understandable that the color of students on campus can sometimes feel about equal to the color of snow. But for those who genuinely seek out diversity there is more to be found than meets the eye. We do have a strong international student body and Bates actively recruits abroad. Generally the student body at Bates is pretty liberal, and the faculty is definitely on the Left. Although what the conservative right-wingers lack in numbers they definitely make up for in their activity. The Bates Democrats members have the overwhelming majority, but the members of the Bates Republicans are undeniably more engaged and proactive. Overall there is a good-natured relationship between the groups. In fact, "good-natured" is generally the term I would use to describe the Bates student body. We liked to get stirred up and feel politically and socially active, but at the end of the day we all still hold doors open for each other and say bless you when somebody sneezes.