The Experience, CJ Robinson '16


C.J. Robinson ‘16 attended DeWitt Clinton High School in New York City. At Connecticut College, C.J. majors in ACS biochemistry and minors in sociology. Beyond the classroom, he is involved with the Student Activities Council (SAC), the Science Leaders program, 1-in-4, the Green Dot program and the N20 improvisation troupe. C.J. can be spotted everywhere: at an athletic tournament, on stage, walking in the Arboretum or socializing with friends.


Intramural throwback

May 22, 2014 | The Experience, CJ Robinson '16

When you revisit an old passion, you often can’t help but throw your all into it. It makes you feel alive. For me, that passion is soccer -- the best sport on the planet.

I started playing soccer in middle school, as an ambitious player who was on on two or three teams at once. While I didn’t continue on to play the sport in college, I’m still getting the chance to play frequently -- this time with less competition.

Intramural athletics at Conn are a way for students like myself to continue playing sports they enjoy, but more for fun than for competition. We make our own teams of friends, and we play two or three times each week against other teams that students have formed. It’s exciting for me because, of course, I get to get back out on the field and, with that, comes a rush of adrenalin.

Playing soccer and meeting new people is what it’s all about. We bond through sweat, hard work and the passion to win. Even more important, though, might be the grace of losing. In fact, other teams have told us that, even when we’re losing, we still look like we’re having fun. While no one particularly likes losing, everyone loves being together and going for the goal. Yea, that’s right-GOOOALLLLLL.

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Using capstones to capture an audience

May 16, 2014 | The Experience, CJ Robinson '16

As we come to the end of this amazing year, many of my graduating friends are preparing their theses and final projects, showing the campus what they’ve put so much hard work into all year long. I have seen quite a few projects in the sciences and in the arts.

Although the chemistry department seminar series usually features visiting faculty or professionals from other colleges and businesses, the final event of the year featured our very own students presenting their research. It was quite interesting to finally find out what my senior tutors do in their off-time, when they’re not helping me learn the ins and outs of chemistry. I’m excited to see myself in their shoes, completing research with a faculty member, when I am a senior.

On the completely other side of the academic spectrum, I also attended a senior capstone project in our very own Tansill blackbox theater. I’m not normally one to dabble in theater, but last Friday night I heard that a friend’s senior, independent project was being performed, so I gave it a shot. I can honestly say it was time well spent. The performer, my friend Jacob Rosenbaum ‘14, performed the entire 45 minute play, “Barely Naked,” entirely by himself. He humbly graced the stage every moment of the show. By integrating dance, theatre, vocals, and witty humor, Jacob captured my mind with this theatrical story.

Between science and theater, I’ve appreciated the opportunity to see what my friends have been up to all year. It’s amazing to witness their hard work come to life.

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Working a room

May 5, 2014 | The Experience, CJ Robinson '16

Being able to engage in conversations with other students about critical worldly topics is something that I have learned to appreciate here at Conn. I am a student who has educated himself since freshman year about domestic violence and sexual assault awareness through training offered here at the College. It has been an eye-opening experience that I’ve been able to share with my peers through dinners, outings on the greens and just conversation in passing. This week I added even more training to my skillset, in part because April is sexual assault activism awareness month.

I completed training for the 10x10 program, by Safe Futures, a New London-based program that works with the community on sexual assault education. The training helped me start conversations with other men about activism and gave me the courage to act in situations where it can be tough to speak up. Programs brought to the College, like 10x10, also create safe spaces for learning about difficult issues from various perspectives. Ultimately, by having access to these moments of activism, I find opportunities to give others the same courage I now have.

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Keep calm and rock on

April 14, 2014 | The Experience, CJ Robinson '16

It’s always lovely watching your hard work become something enjoyed not only by you, but also by others, too. After weeks of planning and meetings, the concert I helped plan came to life, and it was amazing. The late-night student performances were part of the festivities for the Inauguration of our new president, Katherine Bergeron.

With the Inauguration weekend in full swing, a student band, Canopy, opened our 11 p.m. show in Cro’s Nest, a performance space in our student center.. The late night show followed “An Evening of Voice and Community,” a public concert and celebration for our president that I was also involved in planning. Canopy played a full hour of songs, but when they played “Magic” by Coldplay, I couldn’t believe my ears. (It was that good.) The second student band, Montreal Protocol, went on stage around midnight and once the band got going, the audience’s jumping signaled they wouldn’t be stopping anytime soon. It was around this time when President Bergeron dropped by the concert, only hours before the big ceremony that would follow on Saturday morning.

Both Canopy and Montreal Protocol put everything they had into this event, and they thanked me for choosing them to play. I thanked them for sharing their insane talent with all the students who came out on a Friday night. These are the moments I cherish the most at Conn.

Everyone has talent, but sometimes it takes a little time to figure out what those talents are. For me, it turns out the talent is pulling off a successful concert and making sure everything goes as planned.

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Less stress by dancing

April 3, 2014 | The Experience, CJ Robinson '16

In recent days, I’ve been planning my next semester and it seems that I will have an absolutely crazy schedule. My life will be pretty busy but I’ve got a plan.

Dance Professor Rosemarie Roberts and I were speaking the other day, and I mentioned how much I’ve wanted to take a dance class here at the college. I told her that I was waiting until my senior year. After mentioning my hectic schedule for the next semester, Professor Roberts suggested I take her Afro-Caribbean dance class. Rosemarie told me how Afro-Caribbean dance can connect the mind and the body through writing and cultural dance. It will help with stress and bring together many of my other classes.

I can imagine there will be times next year when I just won’t have the time to go to the gym and de-stress as often as I want. Life will be busy. After my conversation, however, I also have confidence that Rosemarie will lead an interesting cultural experience that will be engaging and inviting.

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Cooking ahead

March 25, 2014 | The Experience, CJ Robinson '16

In college, cooking is all too often equated with ramen noodles. Fast food and microwaved leftovers aren't exactly gourmet food groups, either. I want to learn how to cook, but I don’t want to do it alone. My solution? Apply to live in an apartment-style residence for junior year, with a kitchen for gourmet experimentation.

Last week, I did just that. My friend Alex and I applied to live together in one of the apartment-style options available to upperclassmen. These are campus housing options, but have kitchens and a little more independence. I can’t explain how excited I am to learn to cook my own meals in preparation for life after College. Alex and I are both peer educators on campus and living together will give us a way to plan and help run the organization.

Most importantly, I will certainly be buying an apron.

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An ode to Smith Dining Hall

February 25, 2014 | The Experience, CJ Robinson '16

Have a favorite place in your town where you just love to eat? Conn is like a small town and we’ve all got our favorite places to socialize and get meals. For me, it’s Smith Dining Hall.

I can go on and on about why Smith is my favorite place for breakfast and lunch. I mean, if you can find one bad thing about Smith, let me know.

Let me take you on a Smith adventure: It all starts with cheese and veggies! Spinach, lettuce, beans, corn salads, tomato salad... basically everything and anything you need for a salad. (Oh, did I forget to mention guacamole? Yeah, that just happened.)

Next are the famous flavored sauces and mayos that you and your friends will come here for. Chipotle-mayo is definitely my favorite, but others are partial to the sundried tomato and pesto spreads.

Toward the end of the line are the meats, should you choose to accept them. (Who doesn’t like a zesty chicken?) I love a zesty chicken, and Smith knows what I love, so they have a zesty chicken.

What makes Smith really special, however, is that I haven’t run into a single rude person in all my afternoons here. Admittedly, Smith is one of the smallest and most popular dining halls, yet there’s never a “Move!” Instead, I always hear “Excuse me”. Never a “I was using that,” always an “Oh sorry, after you.” Smith allows us to create all types of wondrous sandwiches and salads. In the dining hall’s simplicity, it creates a space of unity. That’s what I love about Smith.

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Direct, delegate and distract

February 16, 2014 | The Experience, CJ Robinson '16

A journey is something that you don’t always take alone. The Green Dot program here at Conn has truly been an amazing journey for me and my friends. We signed up for Green Dot training during our freshman year together, as a group. Ever since, we’ve gone to athletic games, events and discussions focused on Green Dot’s mission: bringing about an end to sexual violence, interpersonal violence and stalking.

As Green Dot graduates, we have been trained to recognize “red dots,” like dating violence and escalating situations at parties, in the world around us. We can then step in, a healthy way, to protect others and ourselves. Amongst other graduates, we share our experiences, and we’ve developed a community from which my friends and I learn more and more every year.

Recently we went to the Green Dot hockey game and it was quite spectacular, to say the very least. For the last three years, members of the men’s hockey team have been dedicated to raising awareness about sexual violence prevention and initiated this tradition. Darcie Folsom, the College’s director of sexual violence prevention and advocacy, is doing amazing by leading the charge of cultural change here at the College but the journey surely hasn’t been just her. There’s an entire community devoted to the improvement of a culture we don’t condone. To me, that does not sound like a journey one must take alone. Like the Green Dot slogan says, “no one has to do everything, but everyone has to do something.”

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Opportunities on the sunrise: the Inauguration

February 12, 2014 | The Experience, CJ Robinson '16

When you’re a student, many opportunities will be offered to you. What you do with them is up to you.

In my case, an opportunity came about that I just couldn’t resist. President Bergeron, the new president of Connecticut College recently started her new role, and I have met with her on one occasion. I was truly inspired. By luck, I’ve been invited to serve on a sub-committee helping to plan her inauguration, which will blissfully tie together my time here. I accepted the offer to be a part of the sub-committee, which is charged with the planning of an evening and afternoon event for the President’s Inauguration. What’s so stellar is that this sub-committee is composed of faculty and staff of the College, and I’m the only student. We recently had our first meeting, and I got to contribute a few ideas and concerns I had.

I was somewhat caught off guard. Usually, when I first enter a formal situation or a new class, it takes me a bit of time to get comfortable before I can express my ideas and concerns. After being asked what I thought about a specific topic in our first meeting, all eyes fell to me. I told them what I thought -- me, a student among a handful of adults. We efficiently planned, organized and brainstormed about ideas for our future events … I’ll leave those for a later surprise.

For now, I just want to give a sneak peek on how things here at the College really work: Students, faculty and staff work together to formulate and execute ideas that we brainstorm together. Shared governance is real, and requires both parties.

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Terraforming nightmare

February 6, 2014 | The Experience, CJ Robinson '16

Think of your worst nightmare. Maybe it involves a dangerous, scary or intimidating situation you find yourself in.

I’m sorry for making you envision that, but I recently faced a similar fear in my new class, “The Soviet Union and its Legacies.”

In the first five minutes of class, my professor placed a blank map of the eastern hemisphere in front of us and asked us to fill in as many countries as we knew. When my face turned white, it was probably a dead giveaway that geography is my worst topic of study by far. I probably know more about quantum mechanics.

After the short quiz, in which I could only locate a few country names, my professor reassured us that we would learn this entire map in just a few weeks. Sometimes you have to start at the bottom to realize that there is somewhere to go and more to learn. Taking classes like Soviet Union excites me and gives my brain a welcome break from my usual science courses.

At the same time, I learn more about places I’ve never studied, and I learn to look beyond the cultural misconceptions about these foreign countries and their people. Pretty soon, I’ll know what the true history of the region was like, but for now, I’m comforted to know that my fears, fears of being put on-the-spot and fears of geography, aren’t always as bad as they seem in my nightmares.

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Making up your mind... too soon?

December 27, 2013 | The Experience, CJ Robinson '16

So I admit: I like knowing what my next step of life will hold. In high school, I definitely enjoyed the challenge of science and solving problems, so I decided to pursue the topic in college. Now that I’m beginning to set my sights on graduation (which, fortunately, is still a few years away,) I’ve been thinking about what I really want to continue studying. I enjoy learning and graduate school is an option, but I don’t know what type. Law school, medical school, or just graduate programs in biochemistry/chemistry are all on my list.

Just recently, I spoke with my minor advisor and she gave me some pretty good advice, suggesting I sample all of my interests. Often, topics on paper can seem really fun or cool to study, but might not pan out.

Is there a point to medical school if you absolutely hate the smell of hospitals? Do you want to go to law school if you think lawyers are really liars? Do you think you can even do four more years of school?

The answer to that last question is yes! I just can’t wait to figure out how much I can learn. Don’t stop opening new doors.

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Don't stress about finals!

December 13, 2013 | The Experience, CJ Robinson '16

So, it’s that time of year again when the snow is beautiful, the cold nibbles at your ears and final exams nibble at your conscience. There are very few things I fear as a college student and finals are definitely... all of them. As a second year student, however, I’ve gone through this a few times and I can definitely say it’s not as bad as it seems. For example, there are many stress-relieving activities that happen during finals week, a six-day period in which we students get to self-schedule our final exams.

To start the week of finals, we have the traditional Moonlight Breakfast. This is an event where Student Life staff come into Harris dining hall and serve the students a great breakfast and cupcake spread late at night, like you were at a diner. This year, the event feautured the entertainment of a wandering magician who left me spellbound and kept me distracted from my exam prep. I got to play charades with my friends for interesting prizes (you try performing “dog and pony show” as your charades... it’s quite hard). Throughout the week you will often see people studying but you will also see them making origami in the library, making use of coloring books, de-stressing in Cro and swarming the common rooms for s'mores.

Overall, yes, finals can be very stressful, but friends, activities and time management with self-scheduled exams can definitely make it a manageable experience.

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Giving thanks to the tutors

November 28, 2013 | The Experience, CJ Robinson '16

I’ve got some tutors at the Academic Resource Center that I definitely have to thank. Organic chemistry has been quite the ride thus far and tutors have been there along the way. From them, I find myself learning new and even faster techniques to solve problems I thought I was doing efficiently. They take time out of their schedules to help us in calm, group settings... something all of us desperately need.

Orgo can be pretty stressful. Every student is welcome at the Academic Resource Center where tutors are available from most academic departments. I find myself enjoying the group tutoring sessions. It’s better for me to have access to a place where I don’t have to know all the answers and I don’t have to come prepared with questions. I can just see what types of questions others have and use those to hone areas and techniques that need improvement.

These groups help me realize that not all learning has to happen within the classroom. Other students also have the key: whether they are in front of the class teaching you that the electrons from double bonds can be electron dense areas or they’re in the seat next to you teaching you that same thing, listening is just as important as individual thinking. Group tutoring definitely has it’s perks.

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A shot in the dark

November 26, 2013 | The Experience, CJ Robinson '16

Student advising is always quite an interesting week. When it comes time to pick your classes, most students meet with their major adviser. This semester, I declared my major and I’m beginning to dive deeper into my studies.

I decided to take a shot in the dark and try something new this advising period. I went into Hale Laboratory and I spoke with Bruce Branchini. Bruce is not my major adviser, but he is a professor in the biochemistry department and he was was more than willing to schedule a meeting with me to talk about my spring semester. We ended up talking about my studies for the next three years! It was quite the interesting conversation and it led to me making some decisions to possibly take some classes sooner than I thought. So while this planning/advising period could have turned out to be a lot more stressful, Bruce definitely took some anxiety off and helped me confirm my course schedule.

Here’s to all the professors that make time for students they don’t have to, welcoming us into their offices with open arms. Thank you.

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What's your pathway?

November 21, 2013 | The Experience, CJ Robinson '16

This week I had a pretty interesting conversation with my friend Jazmine. She is a psychology and sociology double major with a minor in philosophy, and she may try to triple-major. As we both study sociology, we definitely connect on a level of understanding and we are also in the Philosophy of Law course together. We were working on our papers really late and, before we parted ways, we began to speak about different levels and ways of thinking.

The conversation started with the explanation of why we each were studying sociology in an educational context at all. Sociology gets to look at society and why things are constructed and understood. When you ask questions about the mind in a sociology class, students often respond, “we can’t answer that question, because it’s more psychological.” That’s why Jazmine is a double major, because she likes both ways of thinking. I began to not only understand her on a deeper level, but also understand myself.

Our philosophy class requires us to come up with examples very quickly and forces us to think outside the box. My professor worded it very well one day by saying, “you don’t have to agree with what you’re arguing, you just have to understand it and persuade others to believe the same.” That’s why I love the class. As a science major it can sometimes be very hard to think about just the process and the result. What’s at the end of what I’m trying to achieve? Going to a liberal arts school definitely has it’s perks. I can open my pathways of thinking and just observe different ways of going about the same thing. Integrating sociology and science is going to be quite an interesting journey, and I never thought it would be easy. Talking with Jazmine, though, helped me understand what I want to do after college, and has helped me develop how I want to think. For now, though, there’s a long way to go, and thinking about the future is plenty for me.

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Cloudy with a guaranteed chance to speak up

November 17, 2013 | The Experience, CJ Robinson '16

I can’t really explain the experience in such a short post, but I’m going to try. Last weekend I went to Harvard University. No, I’m not going to transfer, in fact I’ve realized I actually like where I am even more after this day. I was invited by the V-Day Organization, along with Alia Roth ‘14 and other members who worked on the V-Day: 100 Men Rising project, to the “Speak Up and Take Rape Culture Down” conference.

To openly speak about difficult issues in a room full of people that actually, professionally understand the topic was a very different experience from what I normally encounter.

Often, the point of the conversation is to carefully and calmly educate and inform on a surface level. At this conference, we moved past the basics, diving into more complicated models, examples and stories.

After listening to speakers like Jaclyn Friedman (who has an amazing story of her own,) we had lunch and prepared ourselves for the upcoming workshops. Our whole team was to attend the V-Day session which would feature the the Connecticut College contingent as presenters! Afterward, we would break up and attend different workshops.

In the V-Day session, Alia and others spoke about the 100-men rising video project and the “1 Billion Rising for Justice” campaign in which countries around the world will make video submissions on their promise that 1 billion will rise to end violence against women.

After all our workshops, we all came together and a microphone was passed around to share reflections on the day. As nervous as I was, I spoke. I spoke about the day, my experiences, my hopes, what I felt, how I wanted things to change, what made me happy and what I’d learned that I would bring back to Conn. My heart almost jumped out of my chest by the time I was done and I felt like I had just run a marathon.

The day was spectacular. It brought things into perspective for me and reminded me that, yes, there is a long way to go in the world, but that we as a college are really very far ahead when it comes to activism. We often forget that. I’m glad I have the peers that I do... they bring about amazing opportunities for all of us, and this year on February 14th, 1 billion will rise for justice.

Conn College group at conference

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Can you improve my improv?

November 14, 2013 | The Experience, CJ Robinson '16

Recently, I joined an improvisation group and it’s been an amazing experience. The games we play and the conversations we have are truly uplifting. Being able to open my mind and just say what first comes out - while also incorporating comedy - has to be one of the best things I’ve done so far at college. It relieves stress, too. No matter how long the day or how stressed I am, I always look forward to meeting with the group to do some improv. I’m part of a group that’s willing to help me improve my improv, no pun intended.

Speaking of improving, we just gave our first show last week following many weeks of preparation. I was really nervous, but the auditorium was packed with friends I knew. After the show, we got an amazing round of applause and raving reviews from everyone... It was an adrenaline rush throughout the entire show. Overall, improv has been a stress relieving experience that I’m so happy I spontaneously auditioned for at the beginning of my sophomore year.

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Discussions aren’t always greener on the other side

November 10, 2013 | The Experience, CJ Robinson '16

This week, we talked about hate crime culture in my deviance class. I’m not going to go in details about the topic, however, because I found something else in the class to be important. The conversation, on its surface, was about hate crimes based specifically on sexuality, ethnicity and religious affairs. As the discussion continued, there was an awkward silence after the professor would ask the class for their thoughts. I am a LGBTQ student of color, and I found myself speaking out a lot more than I expected on the topic of hate crimes. I didn’t mind at all.

What piqued my interest was the realization that some students thought (or at least I assume they thought) I would be uncomfortable talking about these matters. I enjoy being able to be the first person to speak up on many issues, providing a highway for other students to travel, leading to interesting and engaging class discussions.

Overall, these are just classroom discussions about problems found around the world. Often, a class will be faced with an awkward silence that some students don’t want to break. After this class, I know there is definitely a reason for people to feel uncomfortable, and I’m just satisfied with the fact that this discomfort is not concrete. You can make people feel comfortable by opening up. When you’re willing to discuss topics openly, even ones that may pertain to you personally, you become even more interested in what your classmates have to say.

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Freshman Turntables and Sophomore Speakers

November 8, 2013 | The Experience, CJ Robinson '16

Last year when I arrived at Connecticut College, I lived in Burdick House,  the “quiet house” on campus. Throughout the year I lived there with my closest friend, we were somewhat loud ourselves. I guess it was just too quiet for me. No one on our floor made much noise though. I love to listen to loud music and that isn’t allowed in Burdick. When choosing my room for sophomore year, I wanted to move somewhere else on campus so I chose to live in Hamilton House.

In this dorm, I can’t be as loud as I want all the time, but I have fewer restrictions depending on the time of day. I bought some new speakers, and I love love love to play them loudly. A lot of people on my floor have often said that they have “mini dance parties” when they pass my room, which is really cool.

This week, however, I found myself studying for the one thing that turns me white in the face: an organic chemistry test.

It’s really convenient to have a single room, because there’s no one else to bother you. That doesn’t mean, however, the entire floor is quiet. While studying for this test, I found myself noticing my neighbors' music, people having small gatherings, and even a quick game of ball-bouncing in the hallway. In short, I was going insane. It’s really cool to live in a quiet house sometimes, but at other times… not so much. Now that the tables have been turned, I’ve realized that studying can be a little bit rougher. No matter though, because after this test the volume is going on max, and I’m going to fist-pump in my room to my favorite songs.

Editor’s note: All houses set hours at which noise should be kept at a minimum. Residents are expected, at all times, to be courteous and must ensure that their noise does not disturb the studies or sleep of their neighbors.

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Campus secret

November 5, 2013 | The Experience, CJ Robinson '16

This week, I was named “campus cutie” by HerCampus, an independent online student publication which, each week, profiles a campus cutie. The articles normally go out on Friday mornings, and you never know who is going to be next!

I was sitting around on Wednesday night and, while studying for my organic chemistry test, an email popped up from HerCampus. I was pretty shocked as I read through the email saying I had been nominated. I didn’t think I would ever be considered for such a thing.

There were questions about my idea of a perfect date, my favorite types of candy, my celebrity crush, and even my response to learning about my nomination.

As you can imagine, I remained humble throughout the entire thing. The really weird part about the publishing of the article is that I knew before everyone else on campus did. I had to keep it a secret for two whole days. That may not seem long, but to not tell something to anyone (despite the fact that you want to!) is super hard. Anyway, I obeyed, and no one knew but my best friend.

What has been even weirder is that people actually recognize me from just this article. Little do they know that for, to me, it started as just a campus secret.

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V-Day reflection-100 men rising: is a man’s treasure really booty?

October 25, 2013 | The Experience, CJ Robinson '16


What do vaginas mean to you? It’s a simple question at first sight, if you’re just thinking on the surface. Vaginas are so much more than the surface, especially for me. I am an only child, and my mother was a single mother. There, I said it. I hope you feel the emotion I have towards vaginas through the computer screen, and what they mean. This year, Alia Roth ’14 is producing the Vagina Monologues. It is a show that happens annually at the college during the spring semester, this year on February 20-22.

To promote the show, Alia decided upon a video. She reached out to a group of us students via email. She asked if we wanted to participate in this video. She told us she was going to ask us each a question when we arrived to do the filming, and it was going to be a surprise. I immediately accepted. Never have I been so thrilled to have the opportunity to work on this type of project.

The day of recording came, and I told the camera-no, the world-what vaginas truly mean to me. After I was done I left Alia and John, the videographer in shock. They were amazed at what I had to say. Everything I said was true. We were emailed and told to prepare ourselves for the release. I was sitting in my room watching the video alone, and there was a smile from ear to ear on my face. I was happy.

The video was posted on major media websites and YouTube the following day. It has over 100,000 views at this very moment. The world and our campus really got to see what other students and I had to say. I have always been proud of the role my mother has played in my life. For being able to deal with me and be successful, but now I am also proud of Alia. I am proud of her for showing the world that there are men who really do understand that there is more than a face value to a vaginal treasure, which the world must learn to respect.



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Legally bond

October 31, 2013 | The Experience, CJ Robinson '16

This week in my philosophy class, we took quite an interesting spin: We wrote law briefs. You know those things that I guess lawyers use when they are looking at cases? Yeah, I had to write one of those. Roe vs. Wade was my choice of topic.

I’ve always thought something about the law. On a very basic level, lawyers go to court, and they want to win. No one wants to lose, especially when your life sentence is on the line.

After reading the case I have to say that I think otherwise, and for good reason.

For me, Roe vs. Wade was about more than going to court and winning. It was about formulating an argument and bringing to light issues about law and society. I was able to identify and formulate both sides of the argument, which to me is really cool problem solving.

Don’t get me wrong: I love science...I don’t plan on changing that perspective. In the back of my mind now I think about the question “can I integrate this science perspective into law?” Soon, I plan on talking with a pre-law adviser about what types of classes I should think about taking, and how I should go about possibly self-designing a major. This all developed from me writing one brief, but you better watch out; I’m very competitive.

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Wake up and smell the coffee

October 23, 2013 | The Experience, CJ Robinson '16

I hated open house in high school. Mom always had to come with me to all the classes I really didn’t want her at, and it was super boring. All I can think of is disgusting stale cookies, and cold coffee. Things have changed… at Connecticut College’s open house this year, I was chosen by the admission office to give an opening address.

So I sat down and wrote my speech, corrected the grammar, and asked my best friend to read it a couple times before I sent it back to the admission office. After a short time, I got a very calm reply from them asking for me to come in and talk about my speech. I had a very eye-opening conversation: “It wasn’t me,” they said. I had written a story that was out of my character, and had a lack of my personal charisma. I wasn’t surprised. I had lied to myself. They asked me a couple questions about my experiences to pick at my brain, and I began to talk. I spoke of love, laughter, happiness, all my friends, and the tears began to flow. I had written my speech in real time.

I didn’t immediately write what was the second, revised edition of my speech. I waited a while for the emotions to cool, and I began again, this time alone. I didn't ask my best friend to read it for me, but instead I read it to her. I had to trust myself that what I had written was my voice.

All weekend, I read my speech over and over to myself to draw out my tears, and make sure I didn’t cry on that stage. The last thing I wanted was pity from the crowd of parents and prospective students with whom I wanted to connect in a much deeper way.

By Monday morning I was ready to speak. I was very nervous leading up to the moment of performance, but I know it didn’t show during the speech. To get myself through it I just imagined no one was in the crowd. I just wanted to get on that stage and tell my Conn Coll story. I’m not perfect. I’m no superstar. I learned a lot about myself, how I deal with my emotions, but most importantly, I learned that open house now means something else to me; even if the cookies aren't great.

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Tags:  |  The Experience, On Campus

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Fall Break in real time

October 18, 2013 | The Experience, CJ Robinson '16

Oh fall break, how we were excited when you arrived. I have waited for the day when we would have our first break from classes, a break also from society. Classes can really take it out of you. Fall break, from Wednesday evening through Sunday, was amazing to say the least. It’s the time when people have some serious life changes.

The number one question on Monday is definitely “So how was fall break?” Some went apple picking, got haircuts, visited family, dentist appointments, traveled, held Netflix marathons and indulged in fast food.

Of course, not everyone can do life-changing things over fall break. Like me: I  just sat around with my best friend, ordered food, and let fall break go by without a care in the world. That is why we love fall break so much in the first place, right?

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Tags:  |  The Experience, Miscellaneous

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You’re not alone in the vicious cycle of procrastination

October 10, 2013 | The Experience, CJ Robinson '16

We all procrastinate. It’s something that’s built into our lovely college student nature. Don’t get me wrong, I saw all the signs. The excess sleep, more time spent on Facebook, and the all-of-the-sudden newfound interest in a certain youtuber’s daily vlogs that you have to watch before next Tuesday when a new one is uploaded. I’d like to consider myself an avid learner. New things inspire me and make me realize how much there really is to learn in the world.

Anyways, I had a test this week. No big deal, it was just the first test in my organic chemistry class. Those are only worth a whopping twenty percent of your grade. It wasn’t a surprise test to everyone else, just to me. Little ol’ me that forgot to pick up the syllabus. So I can definitely tell you that stress is very real. It’s not going to disappear into thin air, and it’s actually going to make you feel like the air is getting thinner as you read this.

It’s a vicious cycle of love and hate. Loving the free time you think you have and hating yourself for thinking you had free time. A strategy I like to use to make sure I keep everything under control, even surprise tests, is to just stick to what I know. Stay with your normal flow of daily life. Don’t skip class, unless you wake up late, and don’t miss any assignments while you’re catching up. Things like this only stress me out more. Stick to your guns and make sure you aim high. At the end of the day there is one thing I do know for sure, and it’s that I am not the only one who fell in love with procrastination. It likes to get around; it’s no secret.

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Tags:  |  The Experience, Academics

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