Every time I admit to someone that my favorite class this semester is chemistry, the conversation usually becomes a miniature interrogation. People don’t seem to believe that it is a possibility, and until this semester I would have vehemently agreed. Let it be known that my choosing to major in one of the natural sciences at Conn was not because I excelled at them in high school. I wasn’t the worst, but since I preferred understanding larger scale things like earth sciences and biology, I would walk to chemistry with a good deal of dread every day. I wasn’t comforted when, upon entering college, I learned that a semester of it was required for my major. I’m not a human without flaws, and I will openly admit that I waited until the last possible moment in my senior year to take the class. However, my irrational fear and shameful procrastination is validated by knowing that I am one of two seniors in my class of otherwise first-years.
On a recent Friday evening, my musicology class went out to dinner and attended a collaborative performance by contemporary string quartet ETHEL and Native American flutist Robert Mirabal. While introducing the show, our director of arts programming mentioned that the College had enjoyed hosting ETHEL for a three-day residency preceding the concert. Hearing him say this made me smile because I gained many great things out of their time here.
I’m getting ready to go abroad. Just today (Friday, November 18), I applied for a visa to live and study in Israel for four months next semester. Following my trip to the Israeli Consulate, my mom and I ventured to Aroma, our favorite Israeli coffee chain in New York City and sipped on a cappuccino for her and an iced chai latte for me. When we sat down, my mom asked me about my plans for my summer internship and if I had thought about remaining in Israel over the summer. This is where I drew a blank, and told my mom, the news most parents struggle to hear, “I don’t have plans BUT... I do have a few ideas. Don’t worry, I’ve got the funding from Conn secured and will start gathering ideas over Thanksgiving.”
As a residential college, weekly activities in the residence halls are a large part of the culture at Conn. The floor governors, student staff responsible for residential programming, make a concerted effort to create varied events every week. I’m a huge fan of this. It allows the residents to grow closer, which molds what was previously just a residence hall into an actual home. This is important, because living away from home— whether you’re a first-year or a senior— is often not as comfortable as being in your own familiar space. The events are an inclusive way to band together and become a surrogate family between the months of September and May.
This year my birthday fell on a Sunday, and my family came to Conn for most of the day. It’s a two-hour drive from my house in Northampton, Massachusetts, so while I see my family often, we agree that none of us needs to constantly schlep between New London and Northampton. However, my parents always drive to the College to celebrate my birthday with me.
I’ve said this a million times, and I’ll say it again: the community that makes up Conn is remarkably special. It’s something that I love about this college, being part of a community of people that cares for one another loudly enough that it’s unmistakably visible day in and day out. In an uncertain time, like the coming arrival of a soon-to-be president, it makes sense that levels of anxiety would rise and those affected by something so unknown could possibly rub off on others around them. In the wake of an unpredictable new era for the United States, Conn students gathered together and expressed their doubts, questions, hopes and concerns for our country.
As our nation works to understand the implications of the election results, students throughout the country have been meeting with deans and other administrators to discuss its impact. Here at Conn our administration has been proactive in learning about the needs of our community. The day after the election, less than twelve hours after Donald Trump was declared president-elect, I attended Lunch with the Deans with Jefferson Singer, John McKnight, and Victor Arcelus, the deans of the College, Institutional Equity & Inclusion, and students respectively.
One of the most magical parts of college is the ability to make your own decisions for most, if not all, things related to yourself. I enrolled in five classes this semester: Elementary Italian, Acting 1, my First-Year Seminar, Twelfth Night (a Theater Department performance that I am receiving four credits for) and Calc B: Derivatives/Integrals.
Taking a cue from a friend, well actually many friends, I decided to take Introduction to Improvisation this semester. The class is instructed by Visiting Professor of Dance Shura Baryshnikov from Brown University and, so far, it has been one of the most challenging dance classes I’ve taken in my time at Conn. It may well be the hardest because it has pushed me to think about my relationship with touch, but also the Earth.
The first time I toured Conn, it was a gray, gloomy day in the middle of February. It was probably -13 degrees outside and there was about 7 feet of snow on the ground (the average February temperature is 40 degrees, average total snowfall is 7 inches). Although the weather wasn't up to par, I still enjoyed the school, and the programs that were offered.