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Playing with the Best

- The Experience, Saadya Chevan '19  - The Experience, Saadya Chevan '19

A view of the orchestra playing on stage at Conn.
The orchestra playing a dramatic passage at last fall’s concert.

The end of the semester is always a busy time for me, and, as I’ve previously written, one of the highlights of this period are the various music department end-of-semester concerts and recitals that I participate in. No matter how intense it gets, the end of semester orchestra concert is still a great highlight and culmination of my hard work. This past semester’s performance was particularly special for me as it presented an impromptu opportunity to play with some of the best musicians in the country—three members of the U.S. Coast Guard Academy Band’s trombone section led by Sean Nelson, who is the music department’s trombone professor, in addition to Connecticut College’s own Gary Buttery on tuba, who served as the Band’s principal tubist from 1976-1998. The group constituted our orchestra’s low brass section for our performance of Antonin Dvorak’s Eighth Symphony.

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First Semester Reflections

- The Experience, Samirah Jaigirdar '22  - The Experience, Samirah Jaigirdar '22

11 members of the International Camels Association memebers pose for a photo together in Unity House
International Students at ISA’s winter get together

Sitting on the tarmac at Philadelphia International Airport, I was frustrated, tired and jetlagged. I had been traveling for nearly 27 hours and plane food has never cheered me up. I was heading back to Conn after one month of winter break and my plane had been diverted to Philadelphia because of the winter storm. I was supposed to land at JFK by 8:30 a.m. and catch the Flying Camel (the College bus between JFK International Airport and Conn) at 1 p.m. It was now 11 a.m. Would I even make it?

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First Flurries

- The Experience, Samirah Jaigirdar '22  - The Experience, Samirah Jaigirdar '22

Samirah and her two friends pose for a photo together outside in the snow
My friends and I after my first snowball fight

Experiencing any phenomenon for the first time is always fascinating. However, experiencing something for the first time and being cognizant of it comes with its own set of feelings. For me, this happened when I first saw snow. Growing up in Bangladesh and then eSwatini, I have experienced temperatures ranging from the mid-30s to 110 Fahrenheit. But I had never seen snow.

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Passing the Torch

- The Experience, Saadya Chevan '19  - The Experience, Saadya Chevan '19

Saadya and Jack stand next to each other and pose for a photo together
Me with my former student advisor Jack Beal ‘18 who came to the fall orchestra concert to play with us.

As a sophomore, I applied and was accepted to the Ammerman Center for Arts and Technology at Connecticut College. The Center is one of the five academic centers on campus that provide resources to students and faculty doing interdisciplinary work on a specific subject. Learn more about my journey as an Ammerman Scholar.

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So, what does a dramaturg do?

- The Experience, David Johnston '19  - The Experience, David Johnston '19

A dramaturg is someone who reads plays and musicals and does an analysis of the texts to help convey messages and historical context to the cast as well as the audience. In November, I worked as the dramaturg for “Life Is a Dream,” the theater department show at Conn. I came on board in September. Most of the work I did early on was independent research, but I went to some early rehearsals when I was able to go. The show was written by Pedro Calderon de la Barca in 1635, the Spanish Golden Age. My initial research about the time period uncovered themes that were also present in the production–the basic themes of which involve religious ideals, honor and the role of women.

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Surviving my Ammerman Center Midterm

- The Experience, Saadya Chevan '19  - The Experience, Saadya Chevan '19

Saadya explaining his project using the Visualization Wall in Shain Library
Delivering my midterm presentation at the Shain Visualization Wall. Photo by Assistant Professor of Dance Shawn Hove.

As a sophomore, I applied and was accepted to the Ammerman Center for Arts and Technology, one of the five academic centers on campus that provides resources to students and faculty doing interdisciplinary work on a specific subject. This year I’m working on my Senior Integrative Project (SIP). SIPs are year-long independent studies for seniors in the College’s four center-certificate programs that culminates in a final performance or installation from each senior in the spring. My project is to develop a piece of classical music where audience members get to participate. Learn more about my journey as an Ammerman Scholar.

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Sundae Sunday: A Sweet Start to Every Week

- The Experience, Saadya Chevan '19  - The Experience, Saadya Chevan '19

Students pour toppings on top of their sundae's at Harris Dining Hall's Sundae Sunday event
The sundae bar

One night during Fall Break I decided to treat myself to a carton of Ben & Jerry’s from the corner store near my house. When I returned, my mom pointed out that eating ice cream must be a rare treat for me with my meal plan at Conn. “Of course not!” I responded, “There’s always ice cream available in the dining hall. We even have a sundae bar every Sunday.”

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My Dinner With the President

- The Experience, Samirah Jaigirdar '22  - The Experience, Samirah Jaigirdar '22

Students assemble for a photo with President Bergeron in the president's living room
Muslim Student Association Members with President Bergeron, her husband, Butch Rovan, and Dean of Institutional Equity and Inclusion John McKnight at the president’s house.

This October, President Katherine Bergeron had members of the Muslim Student Association (MSA) over to her house for dinner. The MSA at Conn aims to build a warm and comforting environment for Muslim students and to educate the wider Conn community about the nuances of the culture. Established in 2015 by a Bangladeshi Conn alum (just like me!), the MSA has introduced me to new friends and given me a wider exposure to how Islam is practiced in different regions of the world.

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Pressing Pause

- The Experience, Lexi Pope ’21  - The Experience, Lexi Pope ’21

A photo of the Connecticut College track at sunset
Getting a quick run in before sunset!

Even when you don’t have an important exam, it’s still important to reset your brain and take a break. This has been something I’ve been good at for the most part, but this year, with my schedule much heavier, it’s something I forget often. In my Psychology of Disorders and Dysfunctions class, we learned about Mindfulness Meditation— a type of meditation where you focus on nothing but the present and yourself in that moment. For a few weeks every class, we would take five minutes or so to do what was called a body scan. We all put our heads on our desks and listened to the voice of the women guiding the meditation, doing as she said, aware of our breathing and surrounding sounds. I found this to be a nice break, helping us to regain our focus for the remaining hour of class time. We were then assigned to practice this five-minute exercise, five days a week, for five weeks. After the five weeks was over I realized how helpful these types of exercises are for me, along with other breaks like running outside or going to yoga. It’s tempting to just climb in bed and take a nap after a long day of classes before starting some homework, but you end up being so much more productive if you take the time to get some fresh air or just do anything that works for you to reset your brain.

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Fall at Conn

- The Experience, David Johnston '19  - The Experience, David Johnston '19

It’s that time of year when the leaves change, and the weather cools down. In New England, we are fortunate enough to experience four full seasons, and the College is located in the perfect area to appreciate it. I’ve created a list of places and things to do during the fall season at Conn both on campus and off. Here are some of my thoughts:

 

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