This past fall I was accepted as a student scholar in the Ammerman Center for Arts & Technology. The Center is one of five academic centers on campus, which provide resources to students and faculty doing interdisciplinary work on a specific subject. As a scholar in the Ammerman Center, I collaborate and learn from other scholars and professors to accomplish my goal of creating connections between my major (philosophy), the arts, and technology; I will graduate with a certificate in arts and technology, which reflects my participation in classes, seminars, independent studies, center sponsored activities, and an internship relating to the field. This is the first in a regular series of posts I’ll be writing in the spring semester about finding my path as a new member of the Center.
It’s my theory that growing up in an urban environment causes people to have an inherent connection to music and dance, although not everyone is blessed with the rhythm to match. As a result, while I may walk and run with stiff, questionable posture, I can bust quite a few unexpected moves on a dance floor. It could also happen to be in my room, kitchen, a hallway, while running on the treadmill; anywhere I can listen to music doubles as my shameless stage. Generally, I avoid doing so in front of large groups of people, but last weekend I had to power through my anxiety to audition for Eclipse, the largest student-run dance show, for my final year at Conn
I have never really been much of a skier—in fact, the first time I skied was in the 10th grade on a high school ski trip. Since then, I have skied a handful of times, maybe four or five, and have not achieved much greatness in these endeavors. That is to say, I fall a lot when I ski. A lot.
Since the fourth grade, I have wanted to pursue a career in either the performing arts or the entertainment industry. However, I also felt that I should have a backup plan for this notoriously rocky career path. I always liked the idea of being a lawyer because being in a courtroom excites me. I decided to reach out to my mom’s lawyer friend, Mitch, over winter break to gain a new perspective on what it takes to practice law.
There are many concerts and recitals at the end of each semester, produced by the music and dance departments, student bands or a capella groups, SAC (Student Activities Council), or any of the myriad student groups here. I should know because I usually end up playing in a few of the ones that the music department runs. For me, it’s a bittersweet moment in the semester. Playing in concerts is a fun and invigorating experience, but it’s usually time-consuming with rehearsals and preparation for each performance. It’s also a sign that the semester is getting close to the dreaded finals period. However, playing a concert is about more than just jumping onto the stage of Evans Hall. There are a lot of little things that go into it.
One of the strange, interesting, and unexpected experiences I have each semester at Conn is making connections across classes that initially appear to be completely unrelated. I believe that doing this is in keeping with Conn’s nature as a small liberal arts college. Many of my classes draw students from a wide variety of backgrounds and majors, which means that I get to hear how those students draw connections between their interests and the class subject material such as a biology major’s take on Aristotle’s De Anima. There are plenty of subjects that I’ll never take classes in, but I still hear how they connect from students who are passionate about them. Part of the aim of our new curriculum, Connections, is to get all students to look at the similarities between seemingly unrelated subjects. I’m envious of future Conn students because I wish I could experience some of the ways Connections will continue to transform the way we learn. The curriculum was launched in 2016, so this year’s incoming class will be the first to experience it throughout their four years.
I’ll be honest and say that senior year of college is a very wild time. Not wild as in “party party!!”, although that definitely occurs, but moreso wildly introspective as in “Oh lord, what is my life becoming and how has it ended up here?” A solid portion of my time is spent blankly staring into the distance worrying how I’m going to convince employers that I’m worth paying and why people are already sending me bills as if I can afford them. I won’t even delve into the odd transitions occurring in the amounts of body of hair I’m growing in various places, and the fact that I’m pretty sure I’m starting to hear my joints creak.
My high school did not have a football team, nor did it have cheerleaders. The closest thing we had to a pep rally was Blue and Gold Week, a celebration of school spirit and the seniors, who were six months away from graduation. Following winter break, my school had its version of homecoming where alumni would come back for an advice panel, snacks, and a basketball game. This January I will return to homecoming for the third time as an alumnus, and I am excited to share my college experience with students and parents who are about to embark on their own college journeys and post-high school careers.
On Wednesdays and Fridays I volunteer as a mentor at Jennings Elementary School in New London with Enrichment, a program sponsored by Connecticut College Community Partnerships. Through this program I help students in third, fourth and fifth grade work on improving their math skills. Since coming to Conn, I have become very interested in the philosophy of education and the impact education has on people. I decided to volunteer to learn more and broaden my views about education.
It’s Friday night, you’re in Olin basement and an improv show is about to begin. Whether it’s Scuds or N2O, the main improv groups at Connecticut College, going to an improv show at Conn is an intimate experience. The shows almost always take place on Friday nights— traditionally a night in which student activities are abundant. So, the scene is this: hanging out with your friends and undoubtedly lots of other people you know in a smallish lecture hall, cheering for your pals up there on stage.