Hometown: Spring Lake, New Jersey Major: Film Studies, Sociology Activities: Honors thesis in sociology, improv comedy, and manager at The Coffee Closets
Favorite aspect of Connecticut College: In all honesty, the Honor Code. I had not really understood the magnitude and great effect this policy had on the Conn community until I got here. It creates an environment where the students and teachers genuinely respect each others’ time, space and materials. It has made me feel more safe and welcome in this already tight-knit community. I think every college should strive to have as good an honor code as this one.
Favorite memory at Connecticut College: I've had so many great memories here. One that particularly sticks out is when I stayed on campus for Senior Week last spring. While I was only a sophomore, I forged such strong relationships with so many seniors that I had almost as much of an emotional stake in their graduating as they did. I got to spend a week hanging with some of my best friends, watch them cross the stage and celebrate in their accomplishment. Crazy to think that will be me before I know it!
Favorite activity in New London or the region: Taking walks in the arboretum. It is really peaceful and nice over there, so spending time there with some friends is pretty great.
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.
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.
During the summer following my first year at Conn, I embarked on a 14-state road trip with my friends Dani Maney ’20 and Samuel Piller ’20. We traveled great distances at once; at one point on the trip, we drove for 10 hours straight across the state of Pennsylvania. Since that road trip three years ago, I have not driven for longer than five hours nor have I rode shotgun or sat in the backseat for an extended period of time until now. Over Fall Break, my friends and I journeyed from Conn to Mount Desert Island in Maine. The drive was 6 1/2 hours each way, but the memories from the weekend were well worth it.
I start most days with an abrupt kick of caffeine and the wafting smells of fresh baked goods around me. I do not bake unless it’s in the microwave. But it turns out that you don’t need much baking experience to manage the baked goods schedule at a coffee shop, so long as you have a group of really talented bakers behind you. That’s one of my roles at The Coffee Closet, a student-run cafe on campus. I manage baking, as well as events and communications.
In the spring of my first year, I was hired as a barista at The Coffee Closet. Two years later, I applied for a manager position and was accepted. A lot has changed since my first days serving coffee. For one thing, I only recently learned how to brew hot coffee. When I was a barista, I worked three two-hour shifts a week. Now I work triple that amount. My new role has given me the opportunity to hone my skills in business management, and as part of that role, I thought it was important to understand the process of how every drink is made, inside and out. I can’t manage a coffee shop if I can’t brew coffee.
It’s hard to believe I am mere weeks away from being a rising senior at Conn. After a few more papers and classes, I will be entering my last year at this place I have called home for three years. One of the bittersweet parts of my transition from junior to senior is less about me and more about the people I spend my time with. I’m in a short-form improv group on campus called N20. We meet three times a week to practice our performances. Two members of the group are seniors and this month they will perform their last show at Conn. I will miss their energy and presence but am excited for them too.
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.
On a beautiful, sunny day in Sydney, Australia, I met some of my greatest friends. While I was studying abroad at the University of Sydney, my friend Isaac from my program knew other Americans studying abroad nearby and we made plans to converge at Watson’s Bay, a popular island near the University. It was the first warm day we had seen in a while and we felt there would be no better place to spend it than at the beach. The crisp water, fish and chips by the shore and breezy ferry ride to and from the island made it was one of my favorite days abroad.
When I first came to Conn, I thought I was going to double major in theater and psychology. I love acting, wanted to understand how people worked to better inform my characters, and most of all wanted to bring those two passions together.
Last semester was the first time in two years that I spent the fall months away from Connecticut College. I was anxious to embark on a new adventure but nonetheless ecstatic to explore a new country and schooling system at the University of Sydney. My semester was atypical from the start—I left for my semester abroad on July 19 and returned November 18. A typical fall semester at Conn begins in late August and ends in the third week of December. When I returned from Australia, my peers back at Conn were still engaged in their studies. I had some time to reflect and anticipate what was ahead of me. It was not easy to return from studying abroad. Life had gone on and people expected me to be the same, but I wasn't. My transition period from Conn to the University of Sydney exemplified and elucidated the ways I changed and the things I missed.
Connections matter. The line has retained relevance my entire life. From the day I entered the workforce at age 17, my mom emphasized just how far a connection can take you in life. Little did I know I would end up at a college where connections are integrated into the fabric of the school’s community. In both the curriculum and Conn’s career office, faculty and staff highlight the value of a connection: academic connections, such as cross-listed classes or concepts; employment connections, such as your mom’s co-worker’s cousin. Connections can be big or small but how you utilize them determines their importance.
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.
I was the first to arrive at Tansill Theater. This black box performing space on Conn’s campus is also home to many of the classes available in the theater department. On Mondays and Wednesdays from 1:15 to 3:15 p.m. it is home to me and the other 10 members of my Acting II class. Our first project this semester was a monologue from Jose Rivera’s “Sonnets from an Old Century.” We have been working on them for about a month now and the final showing was approaching.
It was an exceptionally busy day Wednesday: I had two classes, rehearsal for improv and a film screening. On top of all of that, I had a looming 5-6 page sociology essay that was due promptly at 1:15 p.m. Thursday afternoon. Luckily, I found time in a break in my schedule around noon to craft the bare bones of my introduction. Unfortunately, I was not able to continue my paper until 9:10 p.m. when I returned to the library after my film screening. This is when the bulk of my work began and I started to understand that the only way this paper would get done was with caffeine, motivation and a little help from my friends.
I have been involved in theater for as long as I can remember. My first official production was in the second grade and I have been in countless shows since then. At Conn specifically, I was cast in the show “Twelfth Night” last year. I had my share of interesting experiences working on the production, including adjusting to four-hour rehearsals and a much more intensive process than I was used to.
Even though I am only a sophomore at Conn, I think a lot about post-grad life and what my career will be. I have a vision of moving out to Los Angeles upon graduation and delving into the entertainment business in some capacity. So, when I heard that something called J-Day was happening at Conn and saw that a Conn alumnus who is a film critic at Entertainment Weekly would be in attendance I knew I had to go.
I’m writing this entry from one of two perspectives that I occupy within The Coffee Closet: I am either a customer or a barista. Last year, I could be found in The Coffee Closet at least once a day, considering I practically run on coffee and lived in South Campus (where this shop is located). I was hired at Conn’s newest student-run coffee shop last spring and began working there this fall.
It was yet another bright and sunny Friday afternoon at Conn, and the annual club fair was in full force on Library Green. I was running the Ski Club booth given my new position as president for this academic year. Along with the other club members, I had been recruiting new members for about an hour before I took a break to say hi to my friends at other booths. My friend and fellow blogger, Dani Maney ‘20, was running a booth at the fair for her improv group N20.