The best thing about Bowdoin is the seemingly endless abundance of student organizations. Whether its the Outing Club, the Literary Magazine, the Film Society or an a Capella group, there something for every kind of person to get involved in.
If I could change one thing about Bowdoin, I would offer class credit for laboratory time (which is currently considered as extra course time, be it biology, chemistry, math or economics).
Bowdoin has a student population of about 1700, which is just right for me. You can get to know a lot of people well and still make new friends year after year.
When I say I attend Bowdoin, most Mainers smile and talk about an art exhibit or science conference they might have seen on the campus once. I grew up overseas, so most of my other friends had not heard of Bowdoin, or Brunswick for that matter.
Where I spend time on campus varies throughout the year. I always spend a good amount of time in the library and dining halls. When its warm, I spend a lot of time running, hiking, and reading outside. During the winter I spend a good deal of time in the pool, at hockey games, and in my own very warm room.
Brunswick is the best college town you can imagine. It has great food joints for dates. It has very close pizza delivery places (they will deliver pizza straight to your room) and movie rental places. Bath, about 15 minutes drive away, has a large movie theater and a large shopping mall.
There is a great deal of school pride (GO U BEARS). The polar bear mascot makes for some creative cheers and there is always a large student crowd that attends sporting events, cheering athletes on and singing along with the pep band.
An unusual thing about Bowdoin is its proximity to the Maine coast. You can bike to the ocean in a few minutes. While the nearest beach is about a 30 minute drive away, there are some beautiful walking paths and bike routes that are easy and great to go along.
An experience I will always remember is competing the Bowdoin IronBear mini-triathlon. Students, locals, and professionals all compete in a short swim, bike, and run centered in the campus and many Bowdoin students come out to cheer on their friends and provide them with water and food when they cross the finish line. You feel like you really belong to a tight community where everyone is excited and supportive of each other.
Students usually complain most about the printers on campus, which are abundant but prone to frequent break-downs. However, Bowdoin has a vigilant Information Technology team that usually fix problems quickly. Students will also complain about the winter cold, which is tough, but outdoor skating and snow ball fights make it manageable. These same students will complain about the heat in the Spring.
The best thing about Bowdoin is most definetly the people. Everyone is unbelievably friendly and, for the most part optomistic and happy. People are active and upbeat about life and want to make the best of most situations. I suppose that is the kind of mentality needed to trudge through the difficult winter months.
If I could change one thing about Bowdoin I think I would have more dances and organized date events. Dating life at Bowdoin is tough, and people tend to hook up instead of actively date. And when I say "date" I don't mean 3-year relationships leading to marriage. I simply mean taking someone to dinner in town or going out to a movie. Bowdoin kids tend to hang out mostly in groups, and since the school is smaller even if someone is attracted to another individual in their group of friends, people tend to avoid serious relationships for fear of throwing off group dynamics. Maybe if there were more organized dances and formals students would eventually come around, get excited about them and actually start attending, as opposed to falling into the groove of one drunken social house bump-n-grind after another.
I would say Bowdoin's a bit too small. Everyone knows everyone else's business. I know what some kids did last weekend and I've never even spoken to them. If you go to school with someone at Bowdoin that you went to high school with, or that your cousin went to high school with, you know all of their high school business before they even get to school. Likewise, as in high school, people quickly become comfortable in one group of friends and oftentimes stay in that group with minimal changes for most of their Bowdoin career. However, the great think about the relative smallness of the school is that people are easy to find, and if a person is on campus they're no more than a five-minute walk away. this makes for easy lunch-dates with a friend you haven't seen in a while, and it also allows people to easily access new areas of campus and new groups of people. Likewise, it's easy to meet new people because classes are small, and people are approachable enough that if at any time a person is curious about another group of people they will most likely be welcome with open arms to party/hang out with that group. As long as a person avoids the gossip-trend and continues to pursue new and different relationships, the size of the school is not a problem. But if you're someone who socializes as though they are still in high school, your Bowdoin experience may start to resemble your high school one. It's a personal choice.
Depending on the time of year I spend my time in different parts of campus. During the fall, for instance, I spent a lot of my time at Smith Union (known by students as "The Union,") doing work over a chai tea latte, talking with friends, checking mail or buying a drink from the C-Store. I also spent a lot of my time outside playing intramural soccer on Farley field or running to the Organic garden about 2 miles from campus. The weather in the fall is so beautiful that most students spend a lot of time outside. In the winter, however, I spend a lot of time in my room to avoid traveling to much outdoors. The roads get icy and it's often difficult to navigate the ominous "black ice" that has caused a couple injuries on campus this year.It's common for more students to stick to their dorms or apartments during winter months for this reason, though everything on campus is so close that traveling between buildings isn't too terrible. However, the places that everyone spends a lot of time in are definetly the two dining halls, Moulton and Thorne. This is due to the fact that Bowdoin has unbelievable food at EVERY meal, so students opt for dining hall food over the Kraft Mac-n-cheese and pop tarts in the dorm type meals prefered by students from some other colleges. Likewise, Bowdoin students are very friendly, fairly relaxed kids who appreciate a nice, long meal and conversation with friends, so many students will meet a friend for a meal three times a day and stay until other responsibilities can be put off no longer. The longest I personally have stayed in a dining hall is 1 1/2 hours.
Brunswick is no New York City or Chicago, but it's a legitimate college town with a few bars, several nice restaurants, two killer ice-cream shops, two coffee shop, a major grocery store and a natural foods store, ethnic restaurants , clothing stores, banks, sweet shops and bakeries, unbelievable homemade donut shop to contrast a Dunkin' Donuts, discount stores, a tattoo parlor, a small record store, notorious retro movie-rental shop, a great single-theatre cinema that shows movies a few weeks after they've left the major cinema and even an adorable knitting shop, to name some. And what I just described is only off of Brunswick's Maine Street, which students can walk to. If a person has a car they can find lots of the major chains (Starbucks, Target, KFC, McDonald's), a high school, and a couple car dealerships five minutes away in Cook's Corner or in the more commercial side of Brunswick. In Brunswick you will NOT find up-scale shopping or super-chic boutiques, but the town meets most of an individuals basic needs. And for the kids craving more of a city environment, I recommend they take the 10-20 minute drives to Freeport or Portland. If 20 minutes by car sounds too far a distance to Neiman Marcus, I suggest you find another school.
I would say Bowdoin's administration is very accessible, which is inherent at a smaller school. Most any teacher, coach or administrator is easily-accessible through email or phone, and they will happily meet with students to answer questions or even to share a meal or coffee. I will say that I expected there to be more student-teacher and student-administrator interaction than there is, but that isn't due to lack of access between the two, but unfortunately possibly due to lack of interest to pursue these interactions. When it comes to legislation and changes in college life, however, Bowdoin's administration seems to be quite open to student suggestion and opinion. Overall I believe the student body feels the administration is invested in making Bowdoin the best place possible for its students and faculty.
The biggest recent controversy was the faculty's decision to eliminate Credit-D-Fail as an option for all students (starting with the class of 2012) trying to fulfill their distribution requirements with the Credit-D-Fail option. This decision was greatly opposed by many students, several of whom protested the motion before the faculty meeting during which the faculty would cast their votes. Many people were infuriated by the decision, saying that it will lead students to quit trying unique courses out of fear of doing poorly and hurting their GPA. Those who supported the decision claimed that Bowdoin students should not be exempted from working hard in classes they are challenged in and simply fall back on the Credit-D-Fail option. Supporters also believed the Credit-D-Fail option undercuts the distribution requirements instead of supporting them.
There isn't a whole lot of school pride a
The best thing at bowdoin is the combination of excellent academic and social opportunities. As a small school, students have easy access to faculty and to participating in their research, which is impossible at other larger colleges and universities. Bowdoin students are also an amazing bunch of people, and it's great to get to meet them all.
The classes are fantastic; the professors amazing. They care about their students and get to know them on an individual basis. It's awesome. The small class size makes all of that possible. The weather sucks, though and the apathetic student body leaves much to be desired. Most people, outside of academia, have not heard of Bowdoin, so if you're superficial and looking for an ego-trip whenever you mention the name of your college, Bowdoin is not for you. Brunswick is decent-lots of restaurants and small, independent shops. And Freeport (outlet capital of the USA, well maybe Maine) is just 15 minutes away. Bowdoin administrators aren't great. Their lack of attention to student issues and opinions is rather startling, but for the most part, they'll leave you alone as long as you're not tarnishing Bowdoin's pristine image. The most recent controversy was a hazing "scandal." Someone found some pictures from 2004 (good forbid) of the sailing team dressed inappropriately and the administration freaked out. The ironic thing, of course, was that this was hardly hazing. The school got so upset about a costume party, while the X-C team was forcing freshmen to swallow live fishes. There's a lot of school pride if school prides means blacking out at Bowdoin-Colby hockey games. But seriously, our two biggest rivals are Bates and Colby, which is sort of lame because all of the students there wish they could have gotten into Bowdoin.
The faculty recently voted to end our credit/d/fail options on distribution requirements; this decision outraged many student. The student government is currently addressing the problem.
Want to see Bowdoin pride? Come to the Colby-Bowdoin hockey game.
Bowdoin is an amazing school; it was my top choice and I am so lucky to be here. I think what I love most is that everyone wants to be here and takes advantage of all the opportunities Bowdoin has to offer. There is a lot of school spirit and an intimate community feel. I also love that Bowdoin is not one kind of school; it excells equally in many different areas: academics, athletics, arts, community service, etc. There is so much to do!
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