It’s been two years since I attended Conn’s first All-College Symposium, where seniors present their integrative learning in the Connections curriculum. At that time, I found it hard to believe that I would someday have a cohesive senior integrative project (SIP) for the Toor Cummings Center for International Studies and the Liberal Arts (CISLA). In a SIP, seniors integrate their major, coursework, research, and internship experience in the form of an honors thesis or an independent study project and then present it at the symposium. It is a big undertaking and as a sophomore, I felt quite overwhelmed thinking that I’d have to have a perfectly finalized idea for my SIP by the time I would present my senior year at the symposium.
Last year if someone had told me I would not only have applied but been accepted into one of my top choice graduate schools I assure you I would not have believed them. While this pandemic has certainly taken away many good things from my senior year, it also provided me with something even bigger. During the past year, and summer, I had time I never had before. For the first time since I can remember, I had nothing going on and nowhere to go, and nothing to do other than learn to be with myself and sit with my own thoughts. This turned out to be the most productive time for me. Through my remote summer internship working for The Crisis Text Line, I discovered that I wanted to pursue my studies in Psychology. However, rest assured–– this was not something I woke up one morning and decided. It was a slow, long process of researching, thinking, and more researching.
I love a good to-do list, especially ones when there is a longer timeline. Applying to graduate school can be a months-long process, so I hope this helps! I would also like to note that timing may change based on your program of choice, school, etc. I received guidance on my timeline from the American Psychological Association’s website as I applied to Psy.D. programs. So, if your program has a website similar to this, check it out!
I can so vividly remember touring Conn as an overwhelmed senior in high school. I aimlessly wandered around after my tour and info session trying to digest everything I had just learned. I had already applied Early Decision, so there was no more thinking about applications for me. I moved on to thinking about other things like: What would a major in? Who would my friends be? What even is a Pathway? It was easy to delete the thought of a Pathway from my mind—the last thing I wanted was to add something more to my plate.
I spent last semester, the first one of my senior year, gazing at Tuscan hills and sweating the day away. (The answer to every question you will ask about my abroad experience is probably yes. Yes, it was wonderful. Yes, the food was some of the best I’ve ever had in my life. Yes, it is weird being back in the United States. Glad we’ve gotten that out of the way.)
I used to think that sophomore year was my favorite at Conn. That was the year I discovered the Department of Film Studies and gained invaluable tools for film analysis, as well as incredible insight into the world of film in general. Then, I thought junior year was my favorite year at Conn. I continued on in the film studies major and finally got to enroll in “Screenwriting,” arguably my favorite class I’ve taken both at Conn and abroad. Now, having just passed the 100 days until graduation mark, I have become more sentimental about the film department and my current opportunities within it. I am in a senior seminar, titled “Studies in Cult and Camp,” which is the perfect culmination of my learning. The class is an opportunity to think critically with my fellow majors and one of my favorite professors, Dr. M.
If you were to ask me what defines my experience at Conn I would most likely turn to my Film Studies major. I cannot imagine graduating without the invaluable knowledge and experience I have gained from this department. This semester, I took “Cinematography I” where I learned about the importance of meaningful execution with a camera.
During my first year at Conn, I took “Introduction to Film” and I noticed one of the students looked a little different than everybody else. This student was an older gentleman who was not registered as a student at Conn. He was actually a professor of film at a local community college. He decided to audit our class to learn more about film and improve his teaching skills. When our professor told us that this man was auditing the class I did not know what that meant so I did what most people would do, I looked it up. The Connecticut College website defines auditors as “special students or alumni of the College who attend the meetings of a course but receive no credit for such attendance. Students who wish to attend certain courses may do so as auditors by securing the approval of the instructor concerned.” There is also a section that states that regular undergraduates, like me, are not normally allowed to audit a class.
When an admission representative from Connecticut College came to my high school, two things struck me about their talk: the College’s Honor Code and the Integrative Pathways in the Connections curriculum. I remember thinking how cool it would be to self-schedule an exam and learn about sustainability without necessarily majoring in it. When I later figured out that I no longer wanted to major in STEM, I was pleased to find out that Conn’s curriculum is flexible for everyone to find and construct their own niche. Connections is Conn’s liberal arts curriculum which aims to give its students an integrated approach to learning.
One skill that I have cultivated at Conn throughout my four years is the ability to hold several spinning plates without letting a single one of them drop. Between three classes, an honors thesis, two jobs and being in an improv group, it is safe to say that every day of the semester is filled with challenges and commitments. Each year at Conn has added another layer of responsibilities. Whether it is taking on a new leadership position, searching for an internship, developing my writing skills or honing my career path, I keep myself busy. Having a full schedule comes at the cost of letting a few of those spinning plates go, so I have to find new ways to stop those plates from crashing.
On Nov. 7, I presented on my experience in the Entrepreneurship Pathway at the first-ever All-College Symposium at Connecticut College. Sharing my academic journey at the symposium brought back memories of my sophomore year when I decided to enroll in the Pathway. As a sophomore, I was interested in combining my major in film studies and my minor in economics. By attending information sessions I learned about the Entrepreneurship Pathway. The Pathway combined my interests in film and economics through the field of corporate video and allowed me to study the value that films bring to businesses when used as a marketing tool.
When I came to Conn, I was unsure about what I wanted to major in. I was considering biology as I had liked it in high school and had done well in it. But I was not ready to commit. I also knew that I loved Latin and classics, but I did not think that I wanted to major in those subjects because I thought I wouldn’t go into those fields after graduation. However, by the end of that semester, I changed my mind. I found myself leaning toward a biology and classics double major. The next semester I decided to officially declare those majors and made a plan to fit all the required courses into my next three years at Conn.
Last fall, prior to my arrival at Conn, I spent weeks browsing the College’s course catalog and reading the various major descriptions on the website. There were many interesting classes, but my curiosity was piqued by the College’s language requirement. Every student must complete at least two semesters of a foreign language, regardless of how many languages they already know. Over the summer, we received emails with a language study brochure (Connecticut College Language Study Brochure), which I read multiple times. The Dean of First Year Students, Emily Morash, told us that we were not required to take a language course in our first year but it is recommended so that we don’t have to worry about it in our junior or senior years. I studied French for five years and knew I wanted to start something new. But the question was: Which one? Currently, Conn offers courses in Arabic, Chinese, French, German, Greek, Hebrew, Italian, Japanese, Latin, Russian and Spanish.
My legs swing up as I try to move the top half of my body in a completely different motion than my legs. As I dance, I am listening carefully to the drums, waiting for the moment when the drummers play the break, which cues that the dance will transition to the next step. After an hour and 15 minutes of movement, our teacher, Associate Professor of Dance Shani Collins-Achille, tells us that class is over. We make our way over to the drummers and thank them by tapping the ground with our hands. Each day I leave class sweating, a little confused and smiling.
My legs swing up as I try to move the top half of my body in a completely different motion than my legs. As I dance, I am listening carefully to the drums, waiting for the moment when the drummers play the break, which cues that the dance will transition to the next step. After an hour and 15 minutes of movement, our teacher Associate Professor of Dance Shani Collins-Achille tells us that class is over. We make our way over to the drummers and thank them by tapping the ground with our hands. Each day I leave class sweating, a little confused and smiling.
New London Hall This has become my favorite day-time studying nook. Whether I have journaling to do for my Pathway course or I need to outline a paper, it’s the perfect spot to do some work while also enjoying the view of everyone walking between classes. For me, it’s a good thinking spot where I can brainstorm and look around. It’s also usually quite easy to find a quiet spot as classes are not always taking place on each floor.
During spring break, most people want to go to a warm place to get away from the cold winters in New England. Rather than flying this typical route south, I went east to London with my senior seminar for spring break. My senior seminar in the English department is on Jane Austen. When I signed up for the class, taught by Professor of English Jeff Strabone, I knew that there was a trip to the United Kingdom planned for our two-week spring break. While this was not a determining factor in choosing the class for me, it certainly did not hurt.
Earlier this semester, I wrote a post about the importance of connections and how they can spark exciting opportunities. It is all about who you know and what you’re willing to do with that knowledge. On the contrary, who you are willing to know is equally important. I am applying for a couple of internships at Showtime Networks, a highly coveted position. I knew that merely submitting my application materials was not going to help me stand out. Based on my workshop experience with the Office of Career and Professional Development, my job experiences and the advice of family members, I decided to put myself on the line. And I was pleased with the results.
It was a sad day in the middle of February 2018 when I was diagnosed with the flu. I sulked from Student Health Services back to my room in Freeman House and was left to my own devices for the rest of the week. I was required to isolate myself, so as to not spread the virus and recover in the most expedient way possible. I was initially worried about missing class, falling behind on work and just not being able to entertain myself for that long. Before I knew it, I was down a rabbit hole of internet conspiracy theories that culminated with my discovery of perhaps the most fascinating, interesting topic.