- Class: Sophomore
- Major: English
- Gender: F
- High School: New Canaan High School
- Transfer Student: N
The best thing about Colby are the people here. I feel that this school tends to attract people who are genuinely nice, open-minded, and receptive - and it makes for a strong community and learning environment both inside and outside of the classroom. I feel that, for most purposes, the school's size is just right. Almost every class I've taken here has been under 20 people, with the exception of two introduction lecture classes. The student body is small enough that you get a sense of knowing, or at least recognizing, almost everybody on campus - but still big enough that you're being introduced to or discovering new people throughout the year. When I tell people at home (Connecticut) I go to Colby, they have no idea what I'm talking about. I've started just saying "I go to college in Maine" because that's what the conversation always boils down to anyway. It's frustrating that for such a competitive school, it's so unheard of by most people south of Massachusetts. The town of Waterville doesn't have a ton to offer students beyond the movie theaters and restaurants. The local music scene is non-existent (beyond Colby events). We have a Wal-Mart and a Starbucks that students frequent, and some nicer restaurants down on Main Street for couples going out on dates, but there's really no incentive for students to go into town unless they're volunteering at a school, going out to dinner, or buying something. Our sense of school pride doesn't necessarily stem from athletics or reputation like other schools', but I definitely think there is a sense of pride in our community. There's this sense of closeness as a group of kids out in the woods in Maine that I don't think people at other schools necessarily get. If you see a Colby sticker on a car on the highway, you honk and wave ecstatically. It's exciting since the experience is so rare, and it's like you're both in on a secret.
My professors absolutely know my name. And email address. And who I'm dating. Class sizes here are easily under 20 for the most part, and professors make a point of getting to learn students' names within the first few weeks and setting up appointments throughout the semester to see how you're doing. Every professor has office hours, and in my experience they're more than willing to come in outside of those hours if you need to see them sooner. If you're not in class, you get an email. Class participation is very common, and encouraged, since the class sizes are so small. I'd say that there's a fair amount of intellectual conversation that takes place outside of class. There certainly aren't kids out on the quad pontificating about political issues, but I think that I've witnessed a good amount of lunch table discussion about things not MTV related. Like most things, it honestly depends upon whose conversation you're overhearing. Overall I'd say that intellectual conversation outside of class certainly isn't discouraged or looked down upon. Outside of class, I see my professors mostly in their offices when I have questions about an assignment. However, taking professors out to lunch is a common practice at Colby, and you'll often see a student or group of students chilling with their professor in the dining hall or student center. I think that Colby's academic requirements are reasonable. They aim to give you a balanced experience of what the school has to offer, but not burden you with a ton of classes that make finishing your major impossible.
There are racial, religious, and LGBT student organizations available on campus, but they're not prevalent in student life by any means. They're the kind of organizations that the typical student gets an email about in the General Digest and simply deletes. Colby attire is an interesting blend of brand names and high-end outdoor-wear since the school is in such a cold environment. There's a lot of noticeable brand sporting for girls with Seven or True Religion jeans, and Longchamp or Herve Chapelier book bags. However, for the most part it's about the outdoor-wear. Lots of LL Bean, Patagonia, North Face, Mountain Hardwear, Marmot. Different types of students definitely interact, another benefit of the small class sizes. My discussion-based classes have given me the opportunity to meet people on this campus that I might not have otherwise talked to. Income or financial background isn't discussed that much between students outside of class, and I don't think the financial situation is tense at Colby. People are, for the most part, open-minded, receptive, and nice to one another. The most tense clash of hometowns I've witnessed was an argument over whether a drinking game was called "beirut" or "beer pong." Your typical Colby student is informed and politically aware.