- Class: Senior
- Major: Government
- Gender: F
- High School: Montville High School
- Transfer Student: N
Smith is my home, it is the place where I am happiest and where I belong. I love the tradition of the school, the challenging academics, and the women that I live with. The one aspect which truly makes this school special is how every single student that attends this institution cherishes Smith in very much the same way. The most powerful moment is attending convocation at the beginning of the year, and as each professor marches before us, the room bursts into excitement. I will never forget my first convocation. At first I was shocked by the nudity and freedom of expression! There were women running around celebrating their house and their community together. And then the professors entered the great JMG Hall, and the room exploded with cheers, stomping of feet, and applause. I thought to myself, "Smithies really love this college. What a wonderful place to be". We adore our professors and respect their knowledge and are forever indebted to what they can teach us. One thing that I never want to lose is the element of tradition in this school. We have a very special and very unique tradition that has celebrated women for over a century. Our house teas, our Ivy Day celebrations, our convocation, our Mountain Day, all these elements make Smith stand out as a special institution. There is a lot of college pride at Smith, though not in the way that you see at the larger universities like UNC or Duke. Our pride is not defined through our sports teams (although we are certainly are proud of them). Our pride is in our tradition, in the success of our alumni, in the brilliance of our professors, in our unity as women. I think the biggest fear among my fellow classmates and myself is that someday Smith will lose the tradition that defines it. We are a small liberal arts college which allows for an intimate relationship between students, professors, and faculty. Our small houses allow more than friendships to develop, they allow families to develop. The fact that we are a women's college makes a Smith experience unique, and allows us for atleast four years of ourlives to for a true bond of sisterhood among our peers. The Smith experience is empowering, it is supportive, and it is something to be shared with women for generations to come.
Smith professors are wonderful! In fact, this was the element that brought me to Smith. While visiting colleges I was told by different students from different schools, the dorms are nice, there is a great campus life, the classes are interesting, there are lots of clubs... However, when I came to visit Smith, I asked each student what their favorite part of Smith College was for them. In response, each student told me about their favorite professor! Over the years, I too have come to know many of these professors and am able to share a sense of comraderie with my fellow Smithies in our love for our professors. I love the small class sizes at Smith, they allow for the students and professors to have a close relationship. Each student is able to participate in the class and professors have the time to listen and engage with their students. I have had many wonderful classes at Smith. One of my favorites was Introduction to the Bible I, with Joel Kaminskey. He teaches this class in a very engaging way, and offers his own thoughts and interpretations on very complex issues. I especially loved the very random stories he would tell in class and then how he would be able to connect them back to the text we were working with. Another favorite class was every class I had with Louis Wilson. He was a very interesting professor who brought many different media sources and guest speakers into his lectures. They allowed for new approaches to be brought to the discussions of the class. I also loved how he called on people unexpectedly throughout the class, which challenged me to be prepared to analitically think on my feet and know the content of the readings and discussion well. While education at Smith prepares you for a career, it is more about learning for its own sake. The school encourages us to take classes in different fields of study and to explore the interconnected nature of different disciplines. The beauty of a liberal arts education is that you can be studying American History, African Studies, Biblical Literature, and the International Political Economy and somehow be able to relate what you are learning to in each class to another. Smith challenges us to be critical thinkers and to expand our knowledge beyond one particular discipline to see how it relates to the world at large.
I would say our campus is very liberal. Sometimes I leave the Smith campus and have political conversations with peers I meet at conferences, and am surprised that anyone could my age could be a republican. Sometimes being in the Smith "bubble" disconnects you from the reality of the outside world. Constantly being around women who are very vocal about their liberal political stances makes it easy for one to forget that many people outside of Northampton do not feel the same way. One of the reasons I came to Smith was that I expected it to be a politically active campus. I was dissappointed to find out that the school is not as politically active as I had thought. I imagined protests and great enthusiasm at rallies, and yet for the most part this is not the case. This is not to say there aren't activism groups on campus because there are. The Student Global AIDS Campaign, and MassPirg have been very active on campus, and yet the level of committment and involvement by the student body is somewhat dissappointing. It is easy for students to get caught into their work, never leaving the library and constantly pushing themselves for that 4.0. Sometimes, it is discouraging to see so many brilliant women focussing only on their work and not getting involved in politics or coming to watch a basketball game which would improve the exciting atmosphere of our campus even more.
The Best Things
The tradition, the house community, the classes, the professors
The Worst Things