Shabbat dinners

January 21, 2014 | The Experience, Alexis Cheney '16

Often on Fridays, my friend Joanna will invite me to a Shabbat dinner, hosted by Hillel, the Jewish organization on campus.

Although I am not Jewish, these dinners have become one of my favorite weekly traditions. A group of about 15 people (often including “Coasties,” our affectionate name for students from the Coast Guard Academy,) gather around tables pushed together in the Jane Addams dining hall.

One of Hillel’s leaders guides us in song and, once we’ve finished singing, we pass around challah and share snippets of our week with one another.

I am grateful to Hillel for providing me a calming space to reflect on my week, catch up with friends, and meet new ones. With the new Hillel House opening this month, I’m excited to be part of more Jewish cultural events.

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Tags:  |  The Experience, Clubs & Orgs  |  The Experience, Dining  |  The Experience, On Campus

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Bed vs. bed

January 17, 2014 | The Experience, Marina Stuart '16

While I’m here at school, guests occasionally stay in my room at home. Almost everyone tells me how great the room is and how much they enjoy the bed. When I’m home during break, however, it doesn’t really feel like my room anymore. It’s not that I don’t feel at comfortable there, but I long for my dorm room.

People forget that going to college nowadays involves bringing more than just clothes. We bring posters, knickknacks and pictures to make our dorm become our home.

To me, my little dorm room at Conn is my bedroom, study, kitchen and living room. My bed is covered with pillows and blankets I’ve had since childhood. (My purple striped duvet cover is hiding a Little Mermaid comforter.) It is strange, yet oddly comforting, that overtime, my dorm room has begun to feel a little more like home than where I grew up.

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Tags:  |  The Experience, On Campus

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Run and fun: track camp

January 15, 2014 | The Experience, Alexis Cheney '16

I returned to Conn last Sunday and hit the ground running. Literally.

I dropped my bags in my room and ran to track practice for a timed 5k. Athletes return to campus a few weeks before classes start for training camps. As much as I have loved getting back to my running routine, I have also enjoyed the non-running aspects of being back on campus.

After our first practice, my friends and I ate a leisurely dinner while filling each other in on our winter breaks. We ended the evening in true slumber party fashion — sprawled out on couches and a jumbo beanbag chair while laughing and watching TV reruns. But unlike at regular sleepovers, we hit the sack early in preparation for our morning wake-up call.

At 7:30 a.m. the next day, the entire track team gathered in the Athletic Center. Instead of our usual morning jog and weightlifting, we played water polo. When not playing, we cheered loudly from the sidelines. The matches got pretty intense (by our standards at least).

Evenings are also active. The past week, we’ve played ping-pong and air hockey at game night, gone bowling, acted out charades, and crossed over an 8-foot vertical string in trust-building exercises. My friends and I also spent an evening making Mediterranean soup and fudge brownies.

For our first meet of the season, we headed off campus. On our way to Bowdoin College, we stopped in Freeport, Maine, to eat lunch and, as our coach called it, “shop ‘till we drop”. We ate crab cakes and lobster sandwiches at Linda Bean’s Tavern and then meandered through L.L. Bean’s factory store. After a practice at Bowdoin, we settled into the quaint Inn at Brunswick Station. I enjoyed meeting some of the sprinters over a dinner of chicken marsala and baked ziti.

Pretty soon, everyone will be back on campus, classes will start, and college will be back to normal. It’s been awesome to have a few weeks just to focus on running and building relationships with my teammates.

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Tags:  |  The Experience, Athletics  |  The Experience, On Campus

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Advocating for a different way of learning

January 13, 2014 | Guest Blogger

Occasionally, The ConnCollegeLive Experience will invite guests to blog about their experiences as a Camel. The following is the first in this guest blogger series.

I’ve been a tutor at Conn for the past three years. I work with students in the Science Leaders program in one-on-one and group sessions in chemistry, organic chemistry and biology. The tutoring program was started as a way to ensure our Science Leaders excel, but after last summer, I saw it also as an opportunity to experiment with new teaching techniques.

Traditionally, our group tutoring sessions work this way: Students arrive with their problem sets complete and ask the tutor any questions they have. Faculty and students approve of this type of setup because students can try the problems on their own, and anyone who needs extra help attends the tutoring sessions.

Unfortunately, the system never seemed to work out this way. Many times, students come to sessions without the problem set complete, either because they couldn’t find the time, or worse, they became irreversibly stuck at some point in the assignment.

This summer, while I was applying to medical schools, I found that most incorporate problem-based learning (PBL) into their curriculum. I sat in on a PBL class for biochemistry at the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania, and it was incredible. Students worked together on complex problems in teams of five, always making sure everyone was on pace and fully understood the question at hand. The strangest thing was, they seemed to actually enjoy it.

So I gathered up our Science Leaders in organic chemistry, and I tried it. This year, rather than stringing together a number of chapter-related problems each week, we started designing problems that pull from multiple chapters and allow the students to make connections between what they are currently working on and older material.

These new sessions foster collaboration between students and teach them that even in organic chemistry, each one of them can benefit from working together.

Yumi Kovic ’14 is a biochemistry major, a Science Leader and the winner of the prestigious Goldwater Scholarship, which encourages outstanding students to pursue careers in science, mathematics or engineering.

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Tags:  |  The Experience, Academics  |  The Experience, On Campus  |  The Experience, Research

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On The Can, our most unusual publication

January 10, 2014 | The Experience, Matteo Mobilio '16


On The Can, the weekly publication by the Connecticut College Student Government Association, is, without a doubt, one of the most-read publications on campus. It's a little bit quirky, and filled with upcoming event advertisements, student profiles, puzzles and trivia.



Tags:   |  The Experience, Clubs & Orgs  |  The Experience, On Campus  |  The Experience, Video

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Working with the administration

January 8, 2014 | The Experience, Marina Stuart '16

As a member of the Sustainability Representative Program, I get to work hand-in-hand with many staff members to implement new sustainable initiatives on campus.

It’s pretty cool to think about: an idea that my group comes up with may be implemented in the day-to-day lives of Conn students, and we get to work with the college administration to make it happen.

Our program has been working with a variety of groups around campus including Dining Services and the new Camel Card office, and we’ve also been working with the City of New London itself.

I think it’s amazing that as nineteen- and twenty-year-olds, we are given the power to literally change the face of this campus. Granted, we had to work for the power, and we work even harder to get the projects done, but the fact is that it’s possible. It’s a kind of power I’ve never felt before. That’s what shared governance in action looks like.

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Tags:  |  The Experience, Clubs & Orgs  |  The Experience, On Campus

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An hour of CELS

January 2, 2014 | The Experience, Laura Cianciolo '16

Just before break, I attended CELS (Career Enhancing Life Services) Workshop Four, which focused on professional communication. The CELS staff showed us techniques for writing cover letters, sending professional emails, and interviewing. Each of the seven workshops have a different goal, from completing your resume to finding your internship. If we attend all the workshops and fulfill separate requirements, we are eligible for a $3,000 stipend for an internship during the summer of our junior year.


Tags:   |  The Experience, Career & Internships  |  The Experience, First Year Experience  |  The Experience, On Campus

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Thanks, Conn

December 30, 2013 | The Experience, Alexis Cheney '16

After Thanksgiving, and now with the New Year right around the corner, I found myself thinking about the semester ending. I am particularly thankful for a wonderful first semester at Conn. Here are ten reasons why:

  1. The comfort to strike up conversation with anyone.
  2. The willingness of professors to meet with me, even if I’m not taking one of their classes. (One professor even gave me her personal phone number to help answer my questions.)
  3. Friday night Shabbat dinners (complete with challah). I’m not even Jewish, but everyone goes!
  4. The openness of my friends.
  5. The new Science Center in New London Hall provides me an inspiring place to think.
  6. The arboretum bog loop … perfect for running
  7. The view of the Thames River when working out in the fitness center
  8. Facilitating Friday morning creative writing workshops at Sound Community Services, a nearby non-profit dedicated to educating and assisting individuals with behavioral health needs
  9. The hot cocoa at Blue Camel Café when I’m in need of a boost during late nights in the library
  10. The Amtrak train that goes from downtown New London to Boston, bringing me home. (And also to NYC and DC!)

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Tags:  |  The Experience, On Campus

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Making up your mind... too soon?

December 27, 2013 | The Experience, CJ Robinson '16

So I admit: I like knowing what my next step of life will hold. In high school, I definitely enjoyed the challenge of science and solving problems, so I decided to pursue the topic in college. Now that I’m beginning to set my sights on graduation (which, fortunately, is still a few years away,) I’ve been thinking about what I really want to continue studying. I enjoy learning and graduate school is an option, but I don’t know what type. Law school, medical school, or just graduate programs in biochemistry/chemistry are all on my list.

Just recently, I spoke with my minor advisor and she gave me some pretty good advice, suggesting I sample all of my interests. Often, topics on paper can seem really fun or cool to study, but might not pan out.

Is there a point to medical school if you absolutely hate the smell of hospitals? Do you want to go to law school if you think lawyers are really liars? Do you think you can even do four more years of school?

The answer to that last question is yes! I just can’t wait to figure out how much I can learn. Don’t stop opening new doors.

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Tags:  |  The Experience, Academics  |  The Experience, On Campus

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Full speed ahead

December 25, 2013 | The Experience, Calli Reynolds '17

I'm a planner. I schedule everything I can think of and I try to plan so far ahead that, besides an occasional monthly update, I only change my calendar for last minute events.

What am I majoring in, you ask? Well, I plan to major in environmental studies with a focus on water (because I would like to be a marine biologist) and minor in Italian Studies. Still, I realize it can change at a moment’s notice. Most first year students like myself aren’t ready to make these sorts of decisions just yet.

People often ask me how I have it all planned out so soon. For me, it’s feels right to plan my academic schedule and declare as a first year, even though the declaration isn’t required until second semester of sophomore year. I love knowing where I would like my path to lead and how to reach my goals. It makes the obstacles along the way that much more manageable.

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Tags:  |  The Experience, Academics

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