Great Barrington, MA

2 Ratings

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Bard College at Simon's Rock

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Describe the students at your school.

Stoners. Hippies. Gay friendly. Insanely liberal. If you're republican/conservative, you will be talked about. Serious druggies move in packs. Besides that, "cliques" are really just groups of friends. The first week of school determines a lot. If you try to switch friends/groups a few weeks later, it will be difficult. The food sucks. The dining hall is small and is pretty cramped around dinner. The ceiling will leak when it rains. Either you get really rich snobby kids, really rich embarrassed kids, or self-righteous poor kids. There are a few normal outliers, but most students are wealthy since the tuition is obscene. If you're religious, watch out. You'll be grouped with the conservative kids. Being christian is downright strange, and don't try to convert people. We had one student who was obsessed with turning people to Islam. Another tried starting a Bible study. Both publicly and socially failed. Being an atheist is hip, not caring is accepted, and being "spiritual" is chalked up to being high.

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The people here are amazingly kind and are all gifted in their own ways, whether that be intellectually, artistically, or otherwise in just the simple care of their friends... as one of my friends described: "Sitting in the McConnell [theater] for a lecture is like sitting in a room full of 120 students who I know will be the best friends I will ever have."

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In general, I would say that the social dynamics at Simon's Rock are pretty fluid. There are groups of friends and most people have a core group, but people move between groups pretty easily. Generally, you don't sit with the same people at every meal and no one will give you weird looks if you sit down with people you normally don't. The campus is pretty left-leaning, which causes some interesting tensions. I would say most people are generally fairly open-minded about things, but not always the best at showing it. Political debates definitely happen on campus, mostly because we love arguing. Most students are from one of the coasts. The school is definitely working on attracting more kids from the places in between. It is an expensive school, but most kids are here on scholarship, aid, or both. I would have to say the biggest problem with students here is that we can be endlessly arrogant. Personally, I found coming here to be the most humbling experience of my life. I have met people who astound me with the depth of their knowledge about certain subjects. I think being arrogant is usually a protection against having to admit you don't know things. But no one knows everything, and I wish people would admit that, instead of faking it through conversations/discussions.

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The school is full of moderate liberals, which tends to be an easy group to get along with in American youth political culture, unless you're a radical conservative or radical other (marxist, anarchist, liberal, etc). The level of acceptance for marginalized identities is severely higher than most places, but again, it remains moderate. More than other schools, but not overwhelmingly, issues such as microagressions and nuanced/symbolic forms of oppression are addressed but still present here. I recommend you be willing to hear new perspectives when you arrive. There is decent diversity, considering 33% of the student body is of color, at least 30% of the students are queer (not a legitimate statistic, but not an exaggeration considering my social experience), and there is a wide variety of socio-economic backgrounds (with a skew towards middle class). Feminism in all its forms and other activist identities are easy to find on campus, and overall students tend to be more politically aware, though I'd say at least one third of the student body is not as concerned in that body. In the end, we are considered a "liberal" campus.

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