When I graduated from high school in New York two years ago (yikes!), it never occurred to me just how far my closest friends would be traveling for their respective undergraduate educations. Some of my friends committed to schools as far as California, while others (like myself) decided to stay a bit more local to the tri-state area of New York, New Jersey and Connecticut.
The Lyman Allyn Art Museum, located just past the southern tip of Conn’s campus is a quiet little gem. At Conn, the kinds of external cultural experiences the students here cultivate are on a smaller, more intimate scale. This has always been special to me and The Lyman Allyn is a perfect example of this. The museum was donated to the City of New London by Harriet Allyn, the daughter of Captain Lyman Allyn. The family were long-time New London residents, and Harriet donated the museum in her father’s memory. Everything about this story is New London-esque, and it speaks well to our region of Connecticut: a richly historical area with prominent nods to the sea.
In high school, I joined the cross country and track and field teams initially in an attempt to find something to do between basketball seasons. I ended up loving running so much that I quit basketball to do winter and spring track. One of my favorite parts of being on the cross country team was the summer captain’s practices that would prepare us for the season. Every Wednesday at 6 p.m. we would drive from Marblehead to Lynn, Massachusetts, to run in the Lynn Woods Races. There is nothing not to like about the Lynn Woods weekly races. They are donation-optional races organized by local runners who set up a new course each week through a large section of woods in the middle of the city. Each race gets a huge turnout of friendly runners ranging from young kids to people much older than me. After each race, people usually stick around to chat and have some of the free post-race snacks, like Gatorade, oatmeal raisin cookies and fruit. Every summer I look forward to running these races, which embody the best aspects of cross country: running through woods and community.
On the first day of my first year at Conn I was intent on declaring a double major in Art and Chemistry. Things don’t always turn out how you planned. I am now a double major in Psychology and Africana Studies and minoring in Gender and Women’s Studies. This change was a result of finding interests I did not know I had and connecting with students and faculty in each major. Despite not being an Art major, there are still a lot of opportunities for me to produce art and share it around campus. I often draw in my room while I am (mildly) procrastinating or as a way to de-stress. If I like what I make, I sometimes post it on Instagram and Facebook. Three seniors at Conn, Gabby Schlein, Catherine Healey, and Katie Soricelli, saw some of my drawings and asked me to produce a few pieces for their senior theater capstone. Senior capstones are final projects that are the culmination of a senior’s work in their major. Capstones are great because they give people outside of the major an opportunity to be involved in and meet new people in different areas.
The bowl of assorted chocolates greets me as I walk into the second-floor office of Student Accessibility Services in Shain Library. It is a sweet, and sometimes bitter reminder of my struggles with a Non-Verbal Learning Difference. I always wanted to be a “normal” kid but as I advanced in my education and sought out accommodations, my perspective changed.
In the past two weeks, I’ve started the majority of my interactions with people by saying, “Hey, I’m doing a shoot for the Communications Office, would you mind if I took some pictures of you *insert activity*?” Each time, I hoped that what started off as a semi-awkward interaction between a group of strangers would result in pictures that showcased students using some of the most charming spaces on campus.
This winter I called my dad bragging that my normally weak immune system had beaten off whatever seasonal sickness was going around. I was convinced that I had miraculously improved my ability to fight off colds and the flu without changing anything about my lifestyle. Almost a week later I was in the Coffee Closet, doing homework with my friend Mark, when my head started feeling really groggy. So naturally, I bought three different teas and poured in significant amounts of honey and lemon to try to stop my impending sickness. The next day, I woke up with a fever, feeling like I had been smacked in the face. One of my friends took me to Student Health Services on campus. The nurses there told me I had the flu and prescribed me some medicine.
Recently, a dream of mine came true. Acclaimed author and journalist at The New Yorker David Grann (‘89) joined us in our "Narrative Nonfiction" class. Being able to speak to a writer for The New Yorker was a cool opportunity, but what made the day special was being able to sit with an author and inquire about their entire writing process. When reading, I often compile a long list of questions in my head asking why the author decided to make the decisions they made. The list usually stays unanswered. However, that particular day Grann answered certain questions I’d been eager to know, such as: what does the organizational process look like when writing about a subject laden with so much historical background? My classmates and I also asked him to talk about how he became a writer and how one knows what path to follow in such broad industry. Blanche Boyd, the writer in residence at Conn and the professor of my writing class, assigned The Lost City of Z by David Grann for us to read over spring break. Though not typically the kind of thing I read—a story about adventure, disease and death in the Amazon—I enjoyed this fast-paced tale. It made me want to ask questions.
Jai Gohain '19 is an international student from Kolkata, India. He is a classical studies major, with minors in dance and mathematics. He is also a member of the Connecticut College Dance Club and Connecticut College men's rugby team.
Taste of Harris only comes once a year, but, like any holiday, its arrival is always met with anticipation and excitement. Each year, Harris, the main dining hall on campus, hosts different food vendors and restaurants in the area. They take over the dining hall and introduce new cuisine. The school brings some of the same vendors back each year. One that I am particularly fond of is locally made artisan bread. Arguably the most important part of this event is to get actual feedback from the students. During the Taste the dining hall is filled with surveys that students can fill out after they’ve tried each dish. The dishes with the most votes will likely make their way to Harris the following school year. Conn prides itself on shared governance. By asking students what they want to eat this practice is enacted in yet another corner of campus. This year at the Taste there was a falafel bar complete with tzatziki and all of the fixin’s, jalapeno tater tots, Philly cheesesteaks, an artisan bread car, plant-based dishes, delicious sesame noodles, fun salads, unique teas, watermelon cake, new ice cream flavors and so much more. The day is fun for obvious reasons (delicious food, exciting variety), but I also like it because the dining hall is abuzz. Everyone feels the same way: overwhelmed in the best way, filled with laughter about all of the weird combinations of food they have on their plates, eager to fill out the surveys in hopes that their favorite dish will make it onto Harris’ new menu, and thankful that dining services at Conn cares to enhance our eating experiences at college.