- Class: Junior
- Major: English
- Gender: F
- High School:
- Transfer Student: N
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.
I love my classes at Wellesley. There has never been a question in my mind that I came her for my classes and they have never failed me. My professors know who I am, not only by name, but also my interests, other pursuits, directions. I meet a few times a semester with my advisor, but I've also adopted several other "advisors", whose strengths, weaknesses, and personalities complement one another beautifully. And beyond helping me choose courses, I think that there's no question that Wellesley professors will go above and beyond for their students. I took two courses on Chaucer and other Middle English literature, and at the end of them, my professor offered to teach a small Old English group. So there are three of us who have been learning to read Old English together this year. Likewise, I have struggled to find courses which match my interests in our relatively small German department (nice, but very small), and my first professor has been an advisor for not one but two independant studies, above and beyond his normal teaching load, so that I can pursue the topics I'm most interested in. In terms of most unique or interesting classes (because I have a zillion favorites!), I think I have to mention one I'm enrolled in right now, EXTD 240: Papyrus to Print to Pixel. The course is co-taught by the Special Collections Head Librarian and the director of the Book Arts Lab. Every week we look at different phases in the history of textual transmission, looking at examples in special collections (Wellesley's special collections are AMAZING! AMAZING!), and then we have a "lab" in the book arts lab to try things out for ourselves. I've made papyrus, I've made hemp and rag paper, I've set type by hand, I've tried my hand at calligraphy on parchment, I've bound a book - it's really an incredible class. And on top of all of that, we have guest lecturers from all across campus (from the Classics to History to English to Computer Science) and professional artisans (the man who lead the carving on the WWII memorial in Washington, D.C.? Yeah, he came to our class, gave a carving demonstration, let us give it a go.). The course is absolutely amazing, and I think it just wouldn't be possible somewhere without the combined resources of our special collections, book arts lab, and generous alum donors. And on one mroe note, working from the prompts above: I think that the student body at Wellesley is really interesting because I think we're very split on why we're here. I came for myself, and I was fortunate that that was possible, for me to take four years and study what I love without having to gear up for a particular position. But our law, medical, and graduate school placements are quite good, as are our recruiting relationships with big firms - and of course the alumnae W network - so there are people who choose Wellesley because it is a school which can enable them to move towards later professional goals.
Wellesley tauts its diversity during the admissions process, and on one hand, it's true that the campus is very diverse, on the other hand, I don't think that we mix all that well all the time. LGBT is definitely a part of daily life on campus, and I think it would be tricky to make it through Wellesley without having that experience personalized in a friend, roommate, yourself... I think that for me, coming from a more socially conservative family, having gay friends, gay role models, gay coaches has been something which has both made me and allowed me to be really reflective about my own beliefs and my own worldview - and that's something which I don't think would have happened somewhere else, because here, it's part of the mainstream much more so than I think at many other schools. Generally, the campus tends to lean left, which can sometimes drown out the more conservative voices on campus, leading to a misperception of the general liberality of the campus. Religion is, on one hand, an important part of many students' experiences, and our Division of Religious and Spiritual Life does, I think, a great job of exposing students to each others' traditions and supporting students who do want to practice their religions, although that's definitely true for larger religious groups moreso than smaller ones. We have a Multifaith Council and a Multifaith Cooridor, and those are both great experiences for students who choose to participate. At the same time, I think that there are always going to be very loud voices on campus, proudly liberal, proudly atheistic - or at least, seeing themselves as unen***bered by religiously motivated conservatism - which sometimes create an odd disjuncture in daily life. On one hand, I feel very comfortable being Catholic here, especially because the Newman community is very welcoming of people at all points on the spectrum of Catholocism. On the other hand, I've had friends tell me that they think religion is stupid, religious people are stupid - and they often backpedal from that, or say, "well, not you, but most people" and that can be really frustrating.
The Best Things
Truly limitless opportunity; an amazing alumnae network; you realize at a certain point that you and your friends are the interesting, inspiring women who you looked up to coming in;incredible Special Collections for a school this size; extensive student involvement in the administration of the college.
The Worst Things
Everyone finds her own niche, and I think that sometimes that means that you miss the chance to meet and work with people who chose to pursue different passions.