As I sat in my dorm room, waiting for the editorial assistant at Woman’s Day Magazine to call me for my interview, I remember reflecting on my desire to understand how the professional world worked. Perhaps, looking back, it was not a great time to question my lack of knowledge on professionalism. Being a 21-year-old college sophomore, I hadn’t truly experienced the serious working realm of things. Of course, I’d held summer jobs at restaurants and as a babysitter, but the prospect of launching a career felt like a distant world. As I waited nervously. I imagined sitting in a whirling office not understanding the buzz and the commotion that goes into running any kind of company or business. And then the phone rang.
I was writing the first of many final papers for my fall courses when I received an email. Thinking it was just another fake "leadership conference" spam email, I almost deleted it. But my love of procrastination got the best of me and I opened it to discover that the Career Office wanted to send me to The Washington Center, an academic seminar hosted in Philadelphia during the Democratic National Convention.
Fast-forward eight months: It is the last day of the convention and I am feeling an odd mix of exhaustion and excitement. I had never had the opportunity to watch so many of my role models speak or given out so many business cards in my life.
I have always been passionate about politics and economics. This summer, I had the unique privilege of attending the Republican National Convention in Cleveland, which was provided by Connecticut College. I was first approached by my government professor Dorothy James and was honored when I was awarded the opportunity to attend one of the conventions. Although the experience of the convention itself has furthered my interest in the political process, I was also able to take part in a lecture and academic seminar through the Washington Center on topics surrounding political parties, campaigns and elections from distinguished faculty in the field. This education opportunity has helped to shape my outlook on our current election cycle and coursework for the fall semester, and will provide me with a new perspective as I continue my studies on political science and economics.
The first day of Mythology class began like any other first day of class: Professor Papathanasopoulou introduced herself before outlining the syllabus. I eagerly fingered through it, half-listening to the introduction while making mental notes of written assignments, tests and readings we were expected to complete. Everything seemed standard until I came across two listed field trips. I was intrigued.
Professor Papathanasopoulou explained that we were all expected to attend one of the two performances listed on the syllabus; we had a choice between attending an opera or a Martha Graham dance performance. This was a no-brainer; I had to see the Martha Graham Company perform. Now, you have to know—I was especially excited for this opportunity because I danced for 13 years of my life. While I no longer dance, I still hold it near and dear to my heart and this field trip was a unique opportunity to see an influential and revered dance company perform in New York City.
This is a secret I’ve been hiding for an hour. I'm sitting in my room now, after watching David Dorfman Dance rehearse new material. It's super top secret, but I can reveal one thing: It’s awesome! Since declaring as a dance minor in March, I’ve been spending a lot more time in the dance studios and with the faculty, while I complete my department support. Today, I got to watch the company and take photos of them for their social media page. What I saw was art in the making, an unfinished piece.
When I start summer break, I will miss running up the stairs to the Dance Department. It feels like home and the wicker chairs in the office will not be the cushions for creative discussions of work in the company. I have found my support at Conn, and can’t wait to see what the rest of my department support will look like in the fall!
Starting in early February, I was a part of a workshop group working with Maia Draper-Reich on her dance honors thesis on non-verbal communication through dance movement and improv. This essay is a self-reflection of the entire process.
My movement history has mainly been sports-related. I played soccer until I was 17, even playing on a club team for a couple years. I began running track in 6th grade, and I haven’t stopped since. I did do ballet and gymnastics when I was younger, but competitive sports have always been my movement, my performance and my way of expressing myself.
Recently, I accompanied classics professor Nina Papathanasopoulou and her "Classical Mythology" class on a field trip to the Metropolitan Opera in New York to see Richard Strauss’ opera "Elektra." As a music nerd and active student in the Music Department, I really enjoyed getting to see the work of some of the greatest performers in the world; I find that watching other people play is the greatest teaching tool in music, and I’m fortunate to see a lot of performances on and off campus.
So the school year is about to be over, you’re a college student and are at a loss for what to do this summer. I’ve been there—big time—and so have a lot of my friends. It can be overwhelming to be feeling this new kind of stress that a lot of college students find themselves feeling. Post freshman year, a lot of students feel pressure to do something wildly meaningful with their summers to gain valuable work experience. Both of these reasons to find worthwhile work are valid and certainly important. However, the panic that has been circling around my head for almost four months has been over the top at points. Everyone in college feels the looming presence of a world made for adults, and we are students learning how to be those very adults who thrive in the professional world. It can be daunting.
We've recently taken on a new challenge in my Color Theory course: turning the visible into the invisible.
Using what we've learned about matching colors and textures, the class is now plagued with the task of finding a way to blend ourselves into the New London cityscape. Along with the camouflage, our groups must make a video capturing our transformation and its symbolic meaning.
My group hasn't started mixing any paints yet, so the task currently seems kind of impossible. Yet, my teacher has shown us examples from previous classes in which students' camouflage is barely recognizable—reassuring knowledge.
Each group is responsible for its own understanding of the history and significance of the area they choose to blend into. In previous years some groups went about this by interviewing the owners of local businesses. Although this approach may be outside my comfort zone, it’s a nice idea. This project really pushes us to connect with New London—a connection that colleges often struggle to have with their surrounding towns or cities. On a personal level, I've found it difficult to connect to New London as much as I'd like to. There have been times where I've forgotten that leaving campus is even a real option. And so, I appreciate both the individual and schoolwide connection that this project facilitates. Though, on a small scale, it really embodies Conn's mission to create an environment conducive to creating global students.
On April 19, the Connecticut College Hillel and Yalla Bina, the Arabic Language and Culture Club at the College, hosted the most delicious event on campus: The Jerusalem Food Tour. Because I recognize my own bias (I salivate if something is covered in tahini), I did not expect to see many people at the event. However, when I arrived at Cro, I was surprised. The room was like a falafel in pita—stuffed.