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One of the things which I think is fairly unique about Wellesley is the extent to which students are involved in the running of the college. There are hardly any groups or boards which don't have student members. Students take part in Board of Trustees meetings, control the distribution of the student activities fee, are part of every major academic council committee, practically everything. Every year, four or five students are selected by their peers through the SOAC (Student Organizations and Activities Committee - a subcommittee of College Government) to sit on the Board of Admissions for two year terms. It's really incredible to read applicationst and be part of selecting the students who will come to Wellesley... in a very real way, you're shaping the future student body and alumnae network, the way Wellesley is seen in the world. With those opportunities for involvement, though, I think that it can be hard to keep perspective and there can be conflict between students' more short term goals and the administrative longview. Neither side is always right, and sometimes I think students take the instances of disagreement as proof that the administration doesn't necessarily listen to students - and by this, I think sometimes an issue of students wanting to, for better or for worse, dictate all directives - and sometimes get disillusioned rather than impassioned... it leads to a relatively small part of the student body serving in a large portion of the roles that shape the administrative view of the student body. And that's something that I think happens on a lot of levels at Wellesley - people find their niches and can sometimes get tunnel visioned within them... Crossing group boundaries can be tricky (especially to do it without getting wicked overexended) and that's something that every student determines for herself how best to navigate.
Wellesley is a bubble. A big, shiny, translucent bubble, with little rainbow swirls of 'real life'. I, personally, find this to be a wonderful environment most of the time. Honestly, I'm not ready for the 'real world' yet. I want to live in a bubble, developing my ideas at leisure and sharing them with my fellow students. Sometimes, however, this bubble gets oppressive, and even discouraging. Bubbles, you see, are finite - the possibilities of real life, and the real world, however, are (for the most part) infinite. There are some times when you want to reach out to try something, and find someone gently slapping your hand saying, no, sorry, not now. The traditions of Wellesley inspire a strong sense of community, and, while they can sometimes feel strange (traditions of an old world presented to modern women), they are definitely an experience to enjoy at Wellesley. If I could change anything, it would have to be where Wellesley is situated. Don't get me wrong - the campus is absolutely gorgeous! - it's the college town, or lack thereof. Wellesley is stuck smack dab in the middle of upperclass suburbia. "The Vil" (our so-called college town) is, for the most part, a collection of incredibly expensive boutiques, with clothing items ranging on average from $50 to $300+. There is, however, a wonderful book store, a CVS, a Starbucks... and the bus to Boston. The local mall is a prime example of gentrification, but there is another mall approximately a half hour away that's probably just like the mall of your home town. The only problem is that you're going to need either a car (or a friend with a car) to get there. The surrounding area of Wellesley is rather wealthy, and it is reflected in the shopping areas.
My friends and I love Wellesley as it is. Wellesley is so unique in character, and I have the closest girlfriends that I have ever had in my life (probably because there are no men)...who needs guys when you have your best friends?! As I say, "Hos before bros!" Besides my friends, the best thing about Wellesley are the amazing professors. I love each and every one of my professors- they are all willing to go out of their way for their students. It is obvious that they truly love what they do. Most of the time, I think Wellesley's student body is just the right size, but there are other times (like when finals come around) when it does feel a bit too small because of high stress levels. I spend my time all over campus, but the I probably spend the most time in the following areas: my room, my friends' rooms, Pendleton (more specifically, the economics department on the fourth floor), the dining hall, and when the weather is nice, on Severance Green or the Tower Courtyard. Make no mistake, Wellesley, MA is not a college town. It is a quiet upper class suburb of Boston with some cute shops (the Cheese Shop is to die for!), but the town basically shuts down after 8 pm. That said, however, it is extremely easy to get into Boston to access its never-ending nightlife. Wellesley has buses that go into Cambridge and Boston once every hour (more often on the weekends) and they run late into the night. The ride can take anywhere from 25 minutes to 1 hour, depending on traffic.
I found wellesley to be the literally the perfect fit for me. there are always a handfull of wellesely women that end up transfering to coed institutions after their first year, because of the lack of males, or feeling isolated on campus. I found getting off campus with a few other girls actually really easy. if you want to explore boston, meet guys, and have a social life, you have to put forth the effort. Wellesley tries to make this easier for us with the bus systems which take wellesley students into boston every hour. from any of the bus stops you can then take the subway or taxi anywhere in boston. It takes homework, effort, and always helps to have friends with you. I found wellesely to be a both a stimulating academic enviorment, but also a safe one that i always returned to when i needed to focus. It does feel seperate from the rest of boston, but that is why i would go out every weekend even for just a movie with the girls.
How do people react when you tell them you go to Wellesley? Ha. There are so many possible responses. (1) Oh, Wesleyan? That's really cool. (2) Wait, where? (3) Oh. Ohhhhh. A women's college. Uh-huh. (4) Oh... okay. (As in, I have no idea what that is, but I'm going to pretend I know, because I have a feeling I should.) (5) Wellesley! Now THAT'S a really good school. The last response is, of course, my favorite, although I only get it from doctors and guidance counselors, strangely. And of course the reactions from other students in the Boston area vary, but they know what Wellesley is, so there's that element. The administration kind of sucks sometimes. I'm just going to put that out there. The decision making process is NOT transparent, and it's a little ridiculously bureaucratic. That said, lower level administrative departments (like, not the deans and stuff, but Residential Life, Student Activities, etc) are awesome. I love the res life staff (and in fact am going to join them as an RA next year because I think they're fantastic), and Student Activities gets us discounted tickets to all these things in Boston, and stuff like that. So, the administration at its highest levels is irritating, but you don't come up against them all that much. And the people you interact with on a daily basis are almost always wonderful. The town of Wellesley would be a great college town... if college students were rich middle-aged women. The Ville, as we call it, is full of stores that close at 5pm, and even if they stayed open later, there wouldn't be anything we could afford in them anyhow. CVS, the Gap, and Lemon Thai (Wellesley's collective favorite delivery place) are basically all we can afford. BUT that's what Boston's for! Wellesley has buses into the city on the hour (and every forty minutes, on weekends), and Boston is great and super accessible and MORE than makes up for the Ville. I think there's a lot of school pride. At least, *I'm* proud of my school! Wellesley women know that, among their peers, Wellesley may not get the recognition it deserves, but out in the real, professional world, it does. (Which may be part of the reason we're perceived as so driven and future-focused and all that.) I think a lot of us are proud to be here. The best thing about Wellesley (besides the fantastic academics, which I'll get to in the next section) is the community. We have these amazing traditions, and honestly, the people here are the sort of people I want to be friends with in any situation. It's not because there AREN'T guys. It's because there ARE women who have decided, on balance, that they can deal without guys, in the service of becoming the best, brightest, strongest person they can be. They know that Wellesley can help them do that, and they're up to the challenge.
In my opinion, the most incredibly part of the Wellesley experience is the feeling of sisterhood. There is something about having gone to an all-woman's college that links us strongly to each other and to all the alumnae who have gone before us. I never dreamed I would meet friends like the ones I have met here. I have six best friends who would walk through fire for me- and I think our strong connection stems from the fact that there are no boys over whom we compete or who demand attention in social situations. Wellesley is in the suburbs of Boston but it is incredibly easy to get into the city. My friends and I venture into Boston at least once a week. We explore Harvard square or Chinatown or the North End or Quincy market and we have come to realize that Boston is truly one of the most fascinating and college friendly cities in the country. Aside from Boston there is always the town of Wellesley. The "Vil" as Wellesley students call it, is the quintessential New England Town. There is a Talbots, a Gap, a bagel store, several high-end baby stores and of course the life-line of the students, CVS. I have probably spent more time in that CVS than I have in all the other stores combined. As far as the Wellesley administration goes, there is certainly some tension between the student body and those "higher up." The most recent controversy was over whether or not the infirmary should shut down their 24-hour service. Despite the student protests and petitions the administration went ahead with the shut-down. While this was somewhat disheartening, the administration has never done anything that wasn't in the students' best interest so it is probable that the new infirmary policy will not be detrimental to the student experience. I think the thing that is the most unusual about Wellesley is the bond that we have with alums. There isn't a lot of athletic school spirit per se, but there is an intense pride that comes with being a Wellesley Woman. We are all intimately connected with the women who graduated 100 years ago and with those who will graduate in the next 100 years.
Lizzy SophomoreReviews provided by: Unigo