- Class: Sophomore
- Major: Government
- Gender: F
- High School: Brebeuf Jesuit Preparatory School
- Transfer Student: N
The best thing about Swarthmore is the people. I love how comfortable I feel with my peers. I love that we all have shared experiences, like being yelled at by our elementary school teachers for not knowing where the class was when the class read aloud and we read ahead. I love that I have conversations about the Oxford comma, the morality of hereditary monarchy, and a panel on U.S.-Iran relations over dinner. As a freshman, I loved that Swat was a small school, because it made getting to know people so much easier and less intimidating. Now that I'm a sophomore though, it would be nice if Swat were a little bigger, because I feel like there aren't any more people to meet. The one experience that I will never forget was the beautiful spring day I spent on Parrish Beach with my friends, "working". It was the first warm, sunny day of spring, and dozens of Swatties were spread out on blankets and towels, just enjoying the beautiful weather and one another's company.
The largest class I've ever taken at Swarthmore was Intro to Psych and about 100 people were in it. My second day of class, the professor knew my name. I wanted to come to Swarthmore because I wanted to be surrounded by peers that took academics seriously, and I have been disappointed in that regard at Swarthmore. If you envision college being something substantially different than about academics, Swat's probably not the place for you. People devote Saturday and Sunday afternoons to working, and when someone leaves a conversation, it's inevitably with, "I've got work to do". This academic focus definitely spills over into the social life, where I have experienced many wonderful conversations about politics, morality, and current affairs in addition to the more banal things people everywhere talk about. The great thing about Swarthmore is that you can have both really banal conversations about celebrities or who's dating whom, but no one looks at you askance if you start talking about this book you're reading for class that has raised some really interesting questions for you. One aspect of Swarthmore that I was looking forward to but have been slightly disappointed in is class participation. I was looking forward to not being the only person who was interested in having class discussions, but I have found that there are plenty of times that awkward silences fall. I think that this is largely because people are afraid of saying something stupid, so they don't say anything at all. But that doesn't change the fact that the majority of my classes have been discussion based and/or the professor has really encouraged participation, which is plentiful, it just has its lulls at times too.
I personally find Swarthmore very diverse because my group of friends is very diverse, racially, religiously, and economically. I count myself very lucky that I am at a school where this is not only possible but not unusual. At the same time, there are plenty of tables in Sharples with just athletes, just white people, etc. There are only two kinds of students who would feel out of place at Swarthmore: a student who didn't take academics very seriously or a student who was conservative politically or socially. In addition, I think that while there are plenty of people who are politically apathetic by Swat standards, they are still better informed about politics than your average person. Most Swatties are from the East or West Coasts and upper middle class backgrounds. A good number of students are first generation American. I receive financial aid, and while 50% of Swatties receive financial aid, there are times within my group of friends when I am made very conscious of the fact that my family is merely middle class and not upper "middle" class.
The Best Things
The Worst Things
The food at Sharples