The Experience, Oliver Ames '17
Oliver Ames ‘17 has already become an active member of the Connecticut College community. In addition to his coursework, he is involved in numerous clubs and activities, serving as the social chair for CC Democrats and Mock Trial, a senator for Johnson House, a member of 1-in-4 and a tenor in the Williams Street Mix a cappella group. As a member of the Student Government Association, he serves on the Educational Planning Committee, working on General Education reform. Oliver hopes to study astronomy.
April 10, 2014
In the middle of November, the first semester of my first year at Conn, TEDxConnecticutCollege reached out to students who had expressed interest in getting involved with the organization. TEDxConnecticutCollege has become an inspiring example of student involvement on campus. A few meetings in, I found myself loving the team and the process.
I am honored to be on the organization’s executive board. Gearing up for our April 12th conference has been a wonderful learning experience; my education at Conn would not be the same without it. Fundraising into the greater New London area has shown me the importance of community outreach and collaboration, while my time doing marketing projects have brought me vital skills in communication. This learning experience can be said of many clubs on campus, and I’m glad Conn has made such a valiant effort to acknowledge how important extra curriculars are in a the 21st century liberal arts education.
This Saturday, I’ll be backstage with an assortment of students, professors, and speakers who have traveled from near and far. From astrophysics to deep sea exploration and the discovery of the Titanic, the TEDx theme, “not all who wander are lost” attempts to encompass “adventure, exploration, discovery, and everything along the way.”
TEDxConnecticutCollege will stream their conference live on Saturday, April 12 beginning at 10 a.m. on their website.
December 11, 2013
About a week ago, I got to see an incredible performance. I knew the topic revolved around mental health, but I really didn’t know what I’d see that evening.
What I saw was extraordinarily powerful. Charlotte Weber '16, the writer, director and lone performer, put on a show that made me think about mental health in an entirely new light. Instead of simply telling, Weber brought to life the effects of mental health issues for her audience. She portrayed her personal connection the topic and connected with each audience member.
Finally, she asked for help. Charlotte asked for all those in the audience to look around them and realize that mental health issues are not closeted in one corner of society; they are all around us. Even on campus, there are many safe spaces and professionals available to help students.
From Charlotte’s performance, I realized I could do something. Charlotte took theater, a topic she loves, and used it to educate the world about a serious issue. I left an inspired activist.
November 26, 2013
Earlier this month, I volunteered for the astronomy/physics department at our open-house. We opened our doors and invited local kids, parents and high school students to try out our instruments. Even though there were clouds covering the night sky, I got the opportunity to explain how telescopes and other astronomer tools work, helping visitors understand what goes on high above our heads. I hope that we managed to instil a sense of excitement about sciences for the young visitors.
October 25, 2013
I recently worked on an essay for a theater class questioning what makes a strong liberal arts education. This really made me think about the history of the liberal arts and where we are today.
The liberal arts came from classical antiquity and was considered to be the education any informed and responsible citizen must have. In the fifth century, there were seven basic areas of study: grammar, dialectic, rhetoric, arithmetic, geometry, music and astronomy. These areas connected with each other and provided a student with advanced critical thinking skills as well as a broad understanding of society. Today, these values haven’t really changed although the topics covered have been renamed.
In 2013, what makes a strong liberal arts education? To me, it’s an education that challenges our preconceived notions and educates us as to the complexities of our world, all while pushing us into new social situations.
Not surprisingly then, I think a lot of what makes a strong liberal arts education can be boiled down to one word: stress. Your mind is stressed in class, your body is stressed in athletics, and your identity is stressed as you go through social situations. Having to study so many areas, many of which may not be your calling, is very stressful.
You should be pushed to your limits and you should be allowed to fall so that you learn to get back up; only then can a strong liberal arts education truly teach us how to navigate the complex world we live in today. This is the way engineers build bridges and rockets and the way scientists test theories.
After all, if there was ever a time to think about who you are, what you want and where you will go, such a time is in college. Not only are classes supposed to teach you life skills, but the simple act of being social in a college situation, especially one where there is such a diverse spread of ideas, helps define who you are.