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The Experience, Saadya Chevan '19

Hometown: Northampton, Massachusetts
Major: Philosophy
Minor: Music performance
Certificate Program: Ammerman Center for Arts and Technology
Activities: The College Voice, Philosophy Club, Hillel House


Favorite aspect of Connecticut College: 

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Whatever you want to do with your life, you can do it here at Conn. Even with our small size, we have many professors who will go the extra mile to help you achieve your goals as well as a campus with very diverse interests. Our faculty is interested in everything. If you don’t know someone who shares your interests, just ask anyone you do know, and they’ll point you in the right direction. I have new and stimulating experiences every day through my relationships with people all over this campus!

Favorite memory at Connecticut College: 

Playing principal clarinet in the pit during the opening night of the College’s production of Rodgers and Hammerstein’s classic musical Carousel. It was a moment when seven weeks of hard work, long nights, and many discussions on the direction of the show finally paid off, and it was a pinnacle of a freshman year with many high points. We also hosted a group of scholars and professionals whose work involved Carousel, so getting to play for them and hear their opinions on and experiences with the show was a real treat! One of the things about the spring musical that’s unique to Conn is that it involves the music, dance, and theater departments; it’s a great way of getting a lot of students including myself involved in the production who might otherwise miss out on the opportunity. 

Favorite activity in New London or the region:

Catching a film or show at the Garde Arts Center, a beautiful old movie palace and auditorium in the center of town.

The Election at Conn

This election year is an incredibly important and educational moment for the country and in my Conn experience. Like many of my fellow Camels, this is my first time voting in a major election, and I enjoy the support that we as students give each other as we make important decisions about casting our ballots. If you have the opportunity to vote this election you may feel, like I do, that selecting candidates who will do the things that you want them to do is tough, no matter how clear the outcomes appear. I have had several conversations with friends about the importance of learning about the candidates and issues when voting, no matter how polarized our politics. These conversations are important as I learn about becoming an informed and responsible citizen.

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Returning to my Origins

For two weeks in November, Connecticut College Asian & Asian American Students in Action (ASIA) hosted ORIGINS: An Asian Arts Festival, a first for both the club and Conn. The festival brought many amazing cultural opportunities to campus, including a lecture by internationally renowned Chinese artist Xu Bing, a food making workshop, and a student art exhibition in Coffee Grounds, one of the coffee houses on campus.

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Lunch with the Deans

- The Experience, Saadya Chevan '19 

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.

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Hearing Overtones

One recent Thursday morning, the stars finally aligned for us to hold a sectional rehearsal for the orchestra’s clarinetists. No other wind instruments and definitely no strings present! It was just Scott, the other clarinetist, our professor, Kelli O’Connor, and me running through orchestral music together. One of the pieces we’re playing in orchestra this semester is the impressionist composer Maurice Ravel’s “Mother Goose Suite.” As is typical of his works, it features complex, mystifying and beautiful harmonies. Part of our job in a sectional is to learn to get these harmonies in tune, which helps the orchestra sound better.

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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.

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The class visited the Metropolitan Opera to see a production of "Elektra."

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.

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Curating for Beginners

Curating for Beginners blog post

This semester, I’m taking a Sophomore Research Seminar called “Secrecy: Power Privilege and the Invisible,” taught by Lucy C. McDannel ‘22, Professor of Art History and Anthropology and Director of Museum Studies Christopher Steiner. The Sophomore Research Seminars are a set of classes at Conn designed to let students get a head start at doing in-depth research by giving us demanding inquisitive assignments and culminating in a 15-page original research paper. 

My seminar is an interesting interdisciplinary look into the many different topics and perceptions surrounding secrecy; some topics we’ve covered include secret societies, magic, and surveillance. Recently, we had the exciting opportunity to curate a small exhibit in the display cases outside the Linda Lear Center for Special Collections and Archives titled “Photography, Trickery, and the Invisible.” The exhibit focused on three types of photographs common in the late 19th and early 20th centuries: hidden mother, spirit, and trick photography. Most of us had never curated an exhibit before, so it was a new and fun experience for the class.

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A pleasant plate, a pleasant skate

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.

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