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Swarthmore isn't in a college town, which sucks, but you don't really need anything that doesn't exist on campus or the colle...
Swarthmore isn't in a college town, which sucks, but you don't really need anything that doesn't exist on campus or the college doesn't provide access too. There are weekend shuttles to Philly and Target and the local movie theater, so transportation is sometimes free here! That relates to Swarthmore's Quaker roots - Quakers are said to really highly value community, so everything on campus is free!
The Intercultural Center on campus is kind of weak because there isn't that much administrative support.
"Work" and "play" should be defined first... Students usually really enjoy what they're studying here, so for an outside observer, s/he might see a lot of studious students. It's true that a lot of students here study a lot, but they really enjoy it, so Swatties incorporate their play into their work.
Professors here definitely know your name! One of my professors had all of our names memorized for the first day of class - he looked us all up on the student directory available to professors and made an effort to be able to recognize us!
It's hard to judge "popularity" on campus because there's no real hierarchy. People are popular amongst their own friends, which tends to comprise a group. No real dating scene. Students just tend to hook-up or have unhealthy relationships that lead to them not having other friends.
Swarthmore students only work and don't play.
The best thing about swarthmore is that its small and that you can get help when you need to in your classes. There are a lo...
The best thing about swarthmore is that its small and that you can get help when you need to in your classes. There are a lot of diverse group on campus that are welcoming to all different kinds of people. The most frequent student complaints are that the parties are always in the same two places every weekend...oh well.
Swarthmore's student body is mad small. Its like 1500 people at this school. Compared to other institutions, swarthmore is really small. Different types of students do interact, but since the school is so small, u see the same people over and over again.... like u in tha pen or somethin like that. But u gotta take the good with the bad. People are very socially conscious around here which is nice, which is good because it eliminates the amount of ignorance that is expressed at Swat.
Nope...when I first got here as a freshman, i thought swat was off the hook. I knew plenty of people that hated studying...were not nerdy and were ready to get down on fridays and saturdays.
The classroom environment at Swarthmore is really nice. I feel that when i'm in class, I can express my opinions clearly and openly. All the professors encourage participation. Most swatties carry these intellectual conversations outside of the classroom, which can sometimes be wierd, but its all good.
Swarthmore activities such as clubs and organizations are very strong and informative. But when it comes to just having a strong social life...Swat isn't really the place to be, people study a lot around here.
The typical swattie has been known to be nerdy, anti-social, and real studious. Another stereotype about swatties is that they can't dance, which aint true either.
I just happened to have had a conversation during lunch about the intellectual disparities between Swarthmore and other schoo...
I just happened to have had a conversation during lunch about the intellectual disparities between Swarthmore and other schools. It seems that students at Swarthmore are constantly talking about thought-provoking ideas and theoretical situations during most of their time. My friend's sister from a different college once suitably stated as she was walking to our dining hall, "do you guys ever speak English?" Her sister was refering to the fact during her entire walk to the campus dining hall, she didn't hear a single conversation about normal, everyday topics like the sale at GAP.
I'm sure many surveyors have commented on the incredibly diversity at Swarthmore, and I completely agree. To emphasize this fact, there are, to my knowledge, 5 distinct LGBT groups on our small, 1500-person campus: Swarthmore Queer Union, Queer Straight Alliance, COLORS (Group for Queer Minorities), QAS (Queer Asians at Swarthmore, and a group for omni- and pan-sexual identifying students.
These stereotypes certainly do account for some of the student body, but definitely not all of.
There is a incredible level of intimacy between students and professors. You can be sure that at Swarthmore, you will be able to get very personal and unique recommendation letters from more than one teacher.
Swarthmores students are steretypical thought of as extremely hardworking and socially unadjusted.
Because the school is so small, the administration treats students like adults. The attitude toward drinking and parties is, ...
Because the school is so small, the administration treats students like adults. The attitude toward drinking and parties is, in my experience, very mature - that is, if you're 18, you can make your own decisions, as long as you're responsible and not bothering anyone. However, if it weren't for this openness, the social life on campus could be considered absolutely dismal. After about one semester, there is almost nothing new to do on weekends in the village of Swarthmore. That's why the train into Philly is so important: I'd say, take advantage of it as often as possible.
The student body here is so varied, it's impossible to make many generalizations. There are certainly some identifiable groups, but it's hard to ever pick out any "loners." Whether you're a political maniac or a sports nut, you'll find a circle of friends.
I'm only a freshman, so I don't have a very wide picture of what the academics are like here. I do take a lot of science classes, though, and I can say that most of the professors are top-notch. The workload, by the way, is what you make of it. It all depends on what classes you take, and how anal you are about grades (if you take a lot of science classes, be prepared to work your ass off to get an A).
There's always something to do - just not always what something you WANT to do. There far too many clubs to even begin listing, but only two fraternities. The dating scene? Unfortunately, almost non-existent (at least by percentage.)
The average Swarthmore student is what Bill O'Reilly would call a "god-damn Liberal."
Swarthmore is a great school. The greatest thing about it is the availability of its professors. I would change the food in...
Swarthmore is a great school. The greatest thing about it is the availability of its professors. I would change the food in Sharples. The school is usually just right, but can sometimes feel too small. People have no idea what Swarthmore is- they think it's an all-girl's school. I spend most of my time in SciCenter and Martin. There is no "college town." The administration wholly supports the students. The biggest recent controversy was the drug scandal with the freshman selling acid. There is a sense of school pride, but in a different degree than other universities. Everything is unusual about Swarthmore.
The student body is mostly very accepting of the differences between themselves and other people. A preppy, party-hard student would feel very out of place here. Most students look like bums when they go to class. A lot of people look like they got dressed in the dark. Sometimes different types of students interact. Four tables of students include: jock/jock-wannabees; loud people; quiet people; other. Most Swarthmore students are from PA, NJ, NY, CA, and OH. They come from a wide variety of socio-economic backgrounds. We are predominantly left.
Swarthmore students need to be less close-minded. A perfect example was the recent lecture on modesty by a woman whose name I have since forgotten. It was a controversial talk, but some people felt it was their right to blatantly disrespect her and their opinions. People need to refrain from such obscenities and respect other people's opinions just because they don't fit the general mold of a Swarthmore student's liberal mind.
For the majority of the campus, yes.
All the professors know my name. My favorite class is Intro to Asian American Literature with Mani- she is amazing. My least favorite class that I've taken has to be orgo. Students study every minute of the day- if they don't, they feel guilty about not studying. Class participation is common. Swarthmore students have [pompous] intellectual conversations outside of class. Students are competitive mostly with themselves, and not usually with each other. I am a biology major. The biology department is like a family- they are absolutely wonderful. Mani's class is the most unique/brilliant class I've taken. Swarthmore's academic requirements are really flexible. The education is definitely geared towards learning for its own sake, not getting a job.
Darfur is a very popular topic/organization. People also enjoy RnM, or at least watching them. I am involved with Pemon Health and SAO. Students usually leave their doors open in their dorms. Athletic events are popular to only a select group of people. Guest speakers and theater are usually more popular than sporting events. The dating scene is non-existant. I met my closest friends through Tri-Co and because I lived with them. If I'm awake at 2am on Tuesday, I'm definitely cramming for something. People party every weekend or not at all- there is rarely a happy medium. Frats are unimportant. Sororities don't exist. Last weekend I hung out in a friend's room. Besides drinking on Saturday nights, you can watch movies on your own. Off campus I shop in Philly and eat food.
Swarthmore students are all weird. They are unattractive and spend most of their time studying. Classes are way harder than those on other campuses. People that go here are notoriously liberal, both politically and socially.
the best things: small class sizes (i.e. the classroom), relationships on a very personal level with professors and administr...
the best things: small class sizes (i.e. the classroom), relationships on a very personal level with professors and administration, mind-expanding things i'd change: dining hall - it closes too early!, and we need a 24 hour snack bar or more vending machines, and all the delivery places close by 1.... The 4 typical reactions when people learn that i go to swarthmore: 1. Hm, i see......(end of conversation 2. Isn't that an all-girls school? 3. Oh yeah, great school! it's in New York right? 4. Oh yeah, great school, Swarthmore has a lot to offer, good for you! College town? ha. the ville hardly counts as a college town. the ville is a micro-town that feels like it is perpetually stuck in the 60's.
Everybody has a strong opinion about their group, and even strong opinions for those outside their own group. A certain few swatties will jump down your throat for an egregiously ignorant slip and put themselves on a self-righteous pedestal for being a corrective agent in making the world a more accepting place. What kind of student would feel out of place at swat?......A student that doesn't like to work, doesn't expect pressure, refuses to open up to new opinions and discuss them, expects to party it up at college without anymore parental supervision, patronizes the "harcore frat" scene....these kinds of students would feel out of place. there isn't really a way to describe what "most students wear to class". it ranges from ghetto fabolous to out of boarding school prep and all the flavors among them. There really are no "tables" at swarthmore. just the "frat table" for DU, which doesnt' really count... Most swatties are from the east coast? I'm not sure on that one though. there are a fair number from california and the midwest and the south. a fair number of international students (many of whom overwhelmingly come from south korea....? i do not know why) Students are generally very aware socially and also quite active (at least in theory and from their mouth) Most swatties tend to be fairly well off, but there are plenty who receive financial aid.
Somewhat. Swatties are not all nerds and are not all socially inept. the majority of swatties are pretty "normal" people, so to speak. The sports, while they are definitely not a major part of the college life, are important to those who participate in them. Yes, the majority of swatties are quite achieved academically and are socially conscious/informed. Swatties are characterized by passion, to the point of being overzealous in their endeavors to be a "good, benevolent person" who does not fail to see every insignificant angle to every single issue. Many Swatties tend to be highly critical of any statement or belief - If one swattie isn't offended by a statement, another will be and will not be afraid to let everone know. However, not all swatties are this way.
Yes, professors know my name. Students study often, late into the night, it's almost necessary. Class participation is common in almost all classes, and even moreso in Literature, Sociology/Anthropology, and History classes. Heated debates are common and easily ignited. yes, swarthmore students do have intellectual conversations out of class, which is usually very nice; to be able to do so on a peer level, totally without academic reason, is something i see as a positive thing....although, again, heated debates are easily ignited once a certain topic is broached and a certain line is crossed. Students generally are not competitive, although there are select few who are overly paranoid about others not working as hard as they are, and will attempt to insure that you are not gaining an undeserved advantage by adamantly refusing to share a few chemical properties of three compounds for a pre-lab assignment. this is not typical. Many do spend time with professors outside of class, for example, afternoon tea every friday with a physics professor. Swarthmore's academic requirements are, for sure, intense and rigorous, but for sure, not impossible.
Most students in dorms do leave their doors open, everybody feels pretty safe, although this year there were a rash of thefts that prompted a temporary heightened sense of insecurity. but in general, we feel pretty safe. athletic events....are not so popular. but big national events attract plenty of people. Like the NCAA tennis championships last year. Guest speakers are very popular dating can be awkward - keyword: can. it doesn't have to be. but yes, since it is a small campus everyone eventually finds out, so just be prepared to accept that. hook-ups, however, are inevitably awkward, simply because chances are, someone will see that will tell someone that your partner knows, that will go and tell someone that you know. people party healthily on weekends although there are a STRONG number of swatties who rarely ever go to parties. ...frats are not important Last weekend, I went with the tennis team to Virginia and Maryland to play matches agaisnt Mary & Washington College and Washington University. Go to downtown philly, watch a movie, organize a dinner in springfield with friends, organize a poker night, go play ice hockey for free with the Motherpuckers on Sunday night), or you can do work too.....
Stereotypes of Swarthmore: Difficult courseload, intense but not competitive (academically), nonexistant school pride/sports scene Stereotypes of Swatties: Socially awkward, nerdy, overachievers, intellectual, extremely socially conscious, super-liberal, strong opinions
The best thing about Swarthmore is the people. I love how comfortable I feel with my peers. I love that we all have shared ...
The best thing about Swarthmore is the people. I love how comfortable I feel with my peers. I love that we all have shared experiences, like being yelled at by our elementary school teachers for not knowing where the class was when the class read aloud and we read ahead. I love that I have conversations about the Oxford comma, the morality of hereditary monarchy, and a panel on U.S.-Iran relations over dinner. As a freshman, I loved that Swat was a small school, because it made getting to know people so much easier and less intimidating. Now that I'm a sophomore though, it would be nice if Swat were a little bigger, because I feel like there aren't any more people to meet. The one experience that I will never forget was the beautiful spring day I spent on Parrish Beach with my friends, "working". It was the first warm, sunny day of spring, and dozens of Swatties were spread out on blankets and towels, just enjoying the beautiful weather and one another's company.
I personally find Swarthmore very diverse because my group of friends is very diverse, racially, religiously, and economically. I count myself very lucky that I am at a school where this is not only possible but not unusual. At the same time, there are plenty of tables in Sharples with just athletes, just white people, etc. There are only two kinds of students who would feel out of place at Swarthmore: a student who didn't take academics very seriously or a student who was conservative politically or socially. In addition, I think that while there are plenty of people who are politically apathetic by Swat standards, they are still better informed about politics than your average person. Most Swatties are from the East or West Coasts and upper middle class backgrounds. A good number of students are first generation American. I receive financial aid, and while 50% of Swatties receive financial aid, there are times within my group of friends when I am made very conscious of the fact that my family is merely middle class and not upper "middle" class.
I love Swarthmore, but ultimately it comes down to what you want from a college experience. If you are more interested in extracurriculars than academics, want to join a sorority/fraternity, want to go to a school where people actually attend athletic events, or want a new and different party every weekend, then Swat is not the school for you. If you really like learning and being challenged in your learning, want peers who are passionate about their beliefs and love to talk about them, and want a school with a distinct sense of community, than Swarthmore is the right place for you.
Yes to the first two, but that's fine with me. I wanted to come to a school where the other students were equally serious about academics (aka, not a party school) and it's comfortable to be in an environment where we all joke about how awkward we are because it allows to be less self-conscious. The last two stereotypes that I mentioned - that we're really liberal and socially active - really aren't that true in my mind. Yes, most students are liberal you can count the number of people who are willing to call themselves Republicans on one hand, but one can easily avoid the social activism aspects of Swarthmore and there are plenty of times I wonder just how committed Swatties really are to the idea of social activism.
The largest class I've ever taken at Swarthmore was Intro to Psych and about 100 people were in it. My second day of class, the professor knew my name. I wanted to come to Swarthmore because I wanted to be surrounded by peers that took academics seriously, and I have been disappointed in that regard at Swarthmore. If you envision college being something substantially different than about academics, Swat's probably not the place for you. People devote Saturday and Sunday afternoons to working, and when someone leaves a conversation, it's inevitably with, "I've got work to do". This academic focus definitely spills over into the social life, where I have experienced many wonderful conversations about politics, morality, and current affairs in addition to the more banal things people everywhere talk about. The great thing about Swarthmore is that you can have both really banal conversations about celebrities or who's dating whom, but no one looks at you askance if you start talking about this book you're reading for class that has raised some really interesting questions for you. One aspect of Swarthmore that I was looking forward to but have been slightly disappointed in is class participation. I was looking forward to not being the only person who was interested in having class discussions, but I have found that there are plenty of times that awkward silences fall. I think that this is largely because people are afraid of saying something stupid, so they don't say anything at all. But that doesn't change the fact that the majority of my classes have been discussion based and/or the professor has really encouraged participation, which is plentiful, it just has its lulls at times too.
My group of friends all lived on the same hall our freshman year, which is how we met and became close. There really isn't much of a dating scene; people are either not getting any, in a committed relationship that might as well be temporary marriage, or hooking up with people they meet at Paces. But to be honest, from talking with high school friends who have gone to different colleges, I think this nature of relationships is just common to our generation and isn't limited to Swarthmore by any means. The social scene at Swarthmore is pretty much limited to parties at Paces and Olde Club or get-togethers in people's rooms. While there are some weekends that I wish that there was more going on, at the same time, I chose to come to Swarthmore knowing that it didn't have the world's greatest party scene and that was a point of attraction for me. Personally, I'd rather be at a school where my peers also enjoy just hanging out and watching a movie on some weekends rather than going out. The good thing about a small school is that when there is a really cool event, everyone goes. I really like that sense of community that we all share in the same things. An example of an event that everyone goes to is the Rhythm and Motion performance at the end of every semester or the Boy Meets Tractor shows. If you're up at 2 AM on a Tuesday, you're doing homework and so is everyone else in your dorm. As for the social life and drinking, I think that at any college you go to, it's going to be the same: if you find a group of friends that doesn't drink, then you have plenty to do on a Saturday night that doesn't involve drinking. If you don't find such a group of friends, then at least at Swat you can still go to events earlier in the evening on the weekends, like a performance or show, without drinking being an issue.
That we're socially awkward, work all the time, incredibly liberal and very socially active.
The best thing about Swat is the people. There is a huge diversity of people from different backgrounds and places which offe...
The best thing about Swat is the people. There is a huge diversity of people from different backgrounds and places which offers so many perspectives to life and in class and always makes conversations interesting. People are all very intelligent here and it's an amazing environment to foster your intellectual development and expand your mental horizons. People are also really friendly, chill, and accepting of each other. In a small school, it's good that people who see each other so often get along well. Swarthmore is a little bit on the small side. There's only so much to do on campus and parties sometimes don't start up till rather late into the night because there aren't enough people at them early. Also the city is like a 15 min train ride away and there's virtually nothing to do in Swarthmore itself so people generally stay on campus. In that sense, it's "what college town?" When I tell people that I go to Swarthmore they either react as "Wow, that's a really good liberal arts college." or "Cool. Wait... where's that?" and usually it's the latter. Either people have heard about it or they have no clue at all. The Swarthmore administration is pretty chill as far as I know. They are really flexible in terms of your education and if you have unique ideas regarding your study, they'll help realize them. Also, the administration doesn't have that hard of a policy on alcohol. If you get caught drinking underage it's because you went overboard and had to be taken to the hospital. And even then, there usually is no punishment or a very light one at that. RA's are nice about alcohol in your room too and some will even buy alcohol for you. The biggest controversy is probably when 3 kids got kicked out of the school for dealing in some hard drugs (LSD?). There's school pride but in a different way that at big universities. Swatties are proud of being Swatties but there's no football team to cheer on at big games. It's a different dynamic because the school is small and the immense unity that you see at sports games of big universities is manifested as a more invisible bond amongst those who call themselves Swatties. Students complain about work the most. That may be from Swat's more intense academic environment. It may also be because Swat has a rep of being more intense and so students can target that as an object of complaint, especially one that can be whined about collectively. But who doesn't complain about work? And chances are, if you got into this school you're smart enough to handle the work.
Swarthmore is super cognizant of racial, religious, LGBT, and socio-economic issues on campus. There are a million groups that look at the disenfranchisement and discrimination of these groups in the U.S. and the world. There are tons of activities, discussions, meetings, lectures, etc. about these issues. It really shows how tolerance and acceptance can be fruitfully realized in a community. I doubt any student would feel out of place at Swarthmore. There's always a niche to be found due to the diversity that Swarthmore provides. Unless you are a huge asshole or not interested at all in anything remotely intellectual, then you probably wouldn't fit in. That or if you were a zebra, then you would be pretty out of place. People wear all kinds of things to class, there's really no set dress because of the variety of people here. Style is unique, conformity is bland and Swat has got style for sure. Don't want to wear clothes? There's a Naked Club on campus. Different types of students interact all the time. Each student is a different type on his or her own, really. Tables of students in the dining hall: There are lot of groups on campus that will organize meals together to discuss intellectual issues or practice a foreign language. Sports team often eat together as well. Besides that, eat with your friends-that's what meals are for. Students are predominantly left but there is space for those who are right as well. There's no discrimination against any political inclination. People are very politically active, discussing political issues, organizing groups, and campaigning for Obama or Hillary.
Swatties are very intelligent and the academic environment is not a cake-walk to say the least, but Swatties know how to get it down too. Any college that has Pub Night every Thursday where unlimited beer is sold for $4 seems like it can party it up too. Life can be chilled out at Swat even though there are times where it is intense.
Classes are small, personal, professors know you on a first name basis and you know many of them on a first name basis as well. I've heard of an Arabic professor inviting students over to his house for wine and hookah. It can get pretty personal which is cool because you get a lot of attention. My favorite and most unique class was French Cultural and Critical Theory which was listed under French and an interdisciplinary area of study known as Interpretation Theory. Basically, it was a French continental professor giving you a survey on a bunch of prominent continental philosophers (French or otherwise). The continental 'canon' was huge: Foucault, Derrida, Butler, Zizek, Lacan, Freud, Benjamin, Agamben, Baudrillard, Mouffe to list a few. It was an amazing eye-opener and mind-blower into an entirely new area of thought which I hadn't explored before. There seems to be lots of classes that reveal entire fields of knowledge which you had never discovered before. It was great. My least favorite class was some Intro to Phil class. Intro classes are usually more uninteresting because they are more basic and mundane. Class participation is very common which is great because so many ideas are discussed in every class. Swatties have lots of intellectual conversations outside of class which is awesome because you can talk about classes and subjects you've never heard of before. Talking to people outside your major outside of class is one of the most enlightening things you can do. Students aren't competitive. Even though Swat can be intense, people aren't overly concerned about grades and there's no cutthroat competition amongst people. Swat's academic requirements are very minimal and you can get out of em with AP's as well. There is a P.E. requirement which can be silly but there are some interesting P.E. classes like Aikido that you can take. Swarthmore is geared more toward learning for its own sake but it also prepares you for the job market very well and the Career Center can help you out a lot in that regards. But if you want to go on to further study after college, Swarthmore is definitely the place to be. Small classes and personal relations with good professors translates into amazing preparation for grad school and connections to good letters of recommendations.
Ultimate frisbee is amazing. Practice is really chill because it's all student run and there's no coach. Frisbee tournaments are self-refereed and so most every player is a good sport and the spirit of the game is respected. The frisbee team is like a family. We practice together, eat together, party together. Mix it up, have fun, play sports, get in shape, party hard, chill out. The frisbee team gets a beach house every spring break and lives it up practicing frisbee and partying it out. Students in dorms leave their doors open definitely and people in halls can be very open to each other. The dating scene is probably more of a hook-up environment but there are definitely a decent amount of relationships on campus. It all depends on what/who you want but you can probably get it (whatever it is) if you tried. People party Thursdays through Saturdays usually. Sunday is the day of rest most of the time when people catch up with work. Frats and sororities aren't that important. Sororities don't exist because they voted themselves out of existence a while ago. There are 2 frats that are basically always open to other Swatties even if you aren't a brother. Frats provide party scenes and free booze. Saturday night can have a lot of non-alcoholic events like performances by bands on-campus, sketch comedy groups, movies, or what not. Atheletic events are not as popular because this isn't a huge school for people to rally to huge games with rivalries. But people definitely still go to games on campus and it's fun to root your school on. Off campus, you usually hit up Philadelphia or perhaps other schools around the area. Swarthmore is part of a Tri-Co Consortium with Bryn Mawr and Haverford so parties at those schools are open to Swatties as well. Philadelphia though is a good place to go on the weekends to eat good food, chill out, walk around a city, shop, and see new things.
Swatties are nerds who study too much. Swat is an overly intense academic-wise.
Swarthmore's too small for my taste. I heard (and I still sort of believe) that the more interesting and intellectual your pe...
Swarthmore's too small for my taste. I heard (and I still sort of believe) that the more interesting and intellectual your peers are, the bigger the school seems, but there's something to be said for wanting to see more than the usual faces every day. I heard Swat is cutting down on admissions even more, and I'm not happy with that decision. Diversity is born of more people, not less. Most of my problems at Swarthmore stem from the tendency of the students toward selective tolerance, which I suppose is a little bit of an oxymoron. White privilege is a big specter at Swarthmore, and most students believe it is embodied in the fraternities. I'm a brother in Delta Upsilon, one of the two fraternities, and I'm proud to say that we are the single most diverse group on campus (with the exception of women, which can't exactly be avoided in a fraternity). We have black, white, Hispanic, and Asian brothers; gay and straight brothers; Christian and Muslim, rich and poor, public school and private school grads. But our diversity and our passion for liberalism goes for the most part unnoticed at Swat, where the need for a campus scapegoat overrides the school's basic principles. It's a stigma I take as my goal to try to erase, but it's an uphill battle.
It's easy to take for granted the value of the students around whom I live every day. I'm confident that I'll never find myself in such smart, aware, and artistic company ever again (that may yet be a good thing; being around so much intelligence and talent can be smothering). We're exceptionally diverse, but several things tie us together: political leftism, intellectual curiosity, a love of irony and a loathing of the mainstream that can both become tiresome. In general, Swatties care about too many things to be efficacious about any of them, but occasionally you'll find someone with one passion who works hard and explores his or her dream, and there I believe is a product Swarthmore can be proud of. Everyone can find a place at Swarthmore. It's not hard. But moving between niches gives me a feeling of the diversity of this place, and that's the trick.
Pennsylvania weather honestly sucks. Winters are far too long but rarely snowy, which irks a Montana boy like me to know end. Rain is the eternal constant around here and the humidity is unbearable. When it's nice, take advantage. Also, thought I'd say that I didn't appreciate the arboretum until this year. As if we needed any other indication that diversity is Swarthmore College's middle name, the sight of a Japanese tree next to an evergreen is particularly smile-inducing. I don't understand biology for shit, but somehow the arboretum folks managed to grow all these trees next to each other, and for that I'm very grateful.
Some are, some aren't. I'd say that most students here came from a certain high school mold--a bit repressed socially, sexually, but certainly not academically--who have finally arrived at Swat and among peers can finally be themselves (with some interesting consequences). But saying that we're out of touch with the real world is only so truthful. Much is made of "the Swarthmore bubble," but it's not so isolated. And I'd wager that the thinking/questioning skills that Swat ingrains in us in fact help college grads be successful in the real world.
I expected the transition from high school to college to be far more intense than I experienced during my first two years here. Yes, the school work is much harder and I barely sleep several days of the week. Arabic, in particular, is a constant struggle. But studying the humanities, the field in which I've chosen to concentrate, doesn't seem to have changed since high school. I can still bullshit my way through literary analyses, hold empty discussions on nebulous topics, and get away without reading. I'm fine with it. My point is that for the most part, I stimulate my intellect, the classes don't. My own research and reading almost invariably yields the greatest rewards--at least in the humanities. And God knows I'm terrible at the natural sciences, so I won't even bother describing my experience with them. In general, however, the professors are always ready to elucidate any confusing shit, the academic requirements are reasonable, and the class selection never fails to fascinate.
I think I'm not too far from the truth in saying that the vast majority of Swatties didn't party in high school. They didn't drink until they puked, or run from the cops, or smoke weed, or vandalize property, or partake in all of the other joys of high school life that lay the groundwork for a little more balanced and mature adult life. But when all the introverts experience their first Pub Nite, or fraternity party, or Sager Genderfuck (look it up), the results can be disastrous. Inhibitions go to shit, sexual harassment/misconduct becomes a major issue, and nobody quite knows what to do. The result is a bunch of useless workshops and conversations that can do nothing to address the core issue, which, of course, has a lot more to do with basic human curiosity than social norms or any of that. That's just the way Swat is, and the way it'll remain. But social life can be chill, too. Once again, the easiest way to find satisfaction at Swat is to find your niche. For me, that's people with similar experiential backgrounds--the people who ran from the cops at their senior keggers and who still maintain a healthy affinity for breaking shit.
Most all of them are negative--that we're elitist prep school grads and/or trustafarians, sexually repressed and socially uncomfortable, and that we're far out of touch with "the real world." Consistently placing in the top three among the nation's liberal arts schools confers a prestige that probably lays the foundation for elitism, but the incredible diversity of the students makes it hard to justify most of the generalizations.
The best thing about Swarthmore is the Spring semester, when the flowers bloom and when the days get longer and temperature g...
The best thing about Swarthmore is the Spring semester, when the flowers bloom and when the days get longer and temperature gets warmer. If I could change one thing, it'd have to be the food. I think the size is perfect; it's the perfect balance between people I don't know and people I do know. Because of the size, I am on a first-name basis with all of my professors. I spend most of my time working in Hicks, the Engineering building. Otherwise, I'm found playing frisbee and playing trumpet. The college town is practically non existent, but there is the essential grocery store, pizza place and Chinese take-out place. There are also options a mile away on the Baltimore Pike, which I like to take advantage of because I have a sweet ass car. I like the administration because I feel that they actually listen to the students. It really feels like it's our school. Yes, there is plenty of school pride. You won't see it all at once place, like at a basketball game, but it's there. Yes, all of Swarthmore is pretty unusual. When everyone has a giant interest in many different things, it's bound to be unusual. There is an overload of diversity in interests.
I can't imagine any kind of student feeling out of place at Swarthmore. Unless a student has no motivation to learn, then I feel they'd find their place here. When it is cold, students wear many layers. When it is warm, students wear shorts, flip flops and a t-shirt. I've been to UPenn many times and seen what the students there wear to class. I think it's pretty ridiculous how much they dress up and it makes me appreciate Swarthmore that much more. You'll go to a random table in Sharples (the dining hall) and it'll resemble Model UN. Of these, many tend to be students that participate in the same student activities, e.g. sports teams, because many eat together after their activity. Students from the upper-middle class is most prevalent. Students are from all over the world, increasingly so with each incoming class. I've maybe run into one or two students who talk about their future income, but most people I know don't really think about that.
Nope. Nothing else.
For some people, yes. But it's hard to have an accurate stereotype about a school as diverse as Swarthmore.
Students study a lot, sometimes on Saturday nights if need be. Class participation is common; classes are highly interactive with a small number of students. Students are other Engineering programs tend to be overstressed and suicidal; however, the Engineering students at Swarthmore are encouraged to work as a team in all our assignments, which inherently removes competitive urges. The professors are very accessible and spend a lot of time with us. Sometimes, they'll even be around just to help you at 10PM on a Sunday night. The amount of personal research they do is minimal because they are mainly here to help us learn. Sometimes, I'll just be sitting in the Hicks lounge, and a professor will come by and share an article with me. 20 out of my 32 minimum credits are devoted to fulfilling my Engineering credits, which spans across Math, Physics, Computer Science, Chemistry & Engineering. But I still feel there is a lot of room to take electives that aren't directly satisfying a requirement. The education at Swarthmore is definitely geared towards learning for its own sake. However, there is Career Services to guide students to getting a job.
It seems like all of the groups are pretty equally distributed, maybe 20-30 kids in the larger groups, and roughly 10 in smaller ones. Within the music department, there is more interest in smaller ensembles such as Quartet and Quintets, as opposed to the Wind Ensemble. I am actively involved with the American Society of Civil Engineers. We recently completed a 20-foot long steel bridge and we're using it to compete against other schools. Athletics events are pretty popular, but it depends on the team and the competition (usually, Haverford games yield larger audiences). I met my closest friends through my freshman year living situation and through some of the activities I'm a part of. If I'm awake at 2am on a Tuesday, I'm probably unwinding after completing a problem set (usually watching Nip/Tuck or a foreign film with Jimmy Jin). People party every weekend, including Thursdays. Traditions?--We have the good versus evil frisbee game every Fall, in which our team is divided into "good" (high scoress on the purity test) and "bad" (low scorers) and pitted against each other. We also play Haverford every Halloween (called Haverween) and beat them. Last weekend, I was off campus at a frisbee tournament. Greek life is not a very prevalent thing at Swarthmore, because the school size is so small and it's easy to find your own natural brother- or sisterhood. Working on a Saturday night usually does not involve drinking. Sometimes, I watch movies or play video games with my friends in the Video Pit. There are also plenty of other sources of entertainment, such as the occasional comedy group performances and music performances, or even going into Philly. I often take late-night walks into the Crum with my friends without using flashlights.
We're anti-social nerds. People also think we're an all-girl school.
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