Editor's Note: Guest blogger Ashley Myers '19 of Winchester, Massachusetts, is majoring in English with a concentration in fiction writing, and minoring in Classics and Psychology. She is the president of Cadenza, the literary magazine on campus, a member of Relay for Life, and an editor-in-chief and writer for the Odyssey Online. Writing is her passion, and she wouldn't want to pursue it anywhere other than Conn.
I recently completed an art history ConnCourse called Mona Lisa to Instagram, taught by Professor Karen Gonzalez-Rice, which focused on historical artists such as Leonardo da Vinci to contemporary artists like Kara Walker. In the final weeks of class, we studied Impressionism and Postimpressionism, and instead of viewing the examples on a projector, which can alter the coloration and size of art, Professor Gonzalez-Rice took us to view The Lyman Allyn Art Museum’s permanent collection of 18th through 20th century art.
Editor’s Note: Anne Holly ’17 of York, Pennsylvania, graduated in May with a bachelor’s degree in economics and a minors in mathematics. She was a captain of the Connecticut College women’s squash team, which is ranked No. 28 in the country. At Conn, she was also a member of the Peggotty Investment Club, Outdoors Club, Tennis Club, and is Green Dot-trained. She thinks Conn has a great mascot and loves being a Camel. She was a guest blogger for The Experience this spring.
One recent Thursday morning, the stars finally aligned for us to hold a sectional rehearsal for the orchestra’s clarinetists. No other wind instruments and definitely no strings present! It was just Scott, the other clarinetist, our professor, Kelli O’Connor, and me running through orchestral music together. One of the pieces we’re playing in orchestra this semester is the impressionist composer Maurice Ravel’s “Mother Goose Suite.” As is typical of his works, it features complex, mystifying and beautiful harmonies. Part of our job in a sectional is to learn to get these harmonies in tune, which helps the orchestra sound better.
This semester I decided to compete in the Concerto Competition, which gives one winning student the opportunity to be featured in the Connecticut College Orchestra Spring Concert performing a concerto or vocal piece every year. My clarinet professor, Kelli O’Connor, and I had made a somewhat spur-of-the-moment decision in late January that I should enter it this year, so I could experience competing in it.
For my History of Arts and Technology lab, we created and performed exciting group improvisations in the span of just two hours. To prepare, Professor Nadav Assor told us to bring one to three things to class that we thought might be useful in a group improvisation session. He asked us to post what we were going to bring to Moodle, a website used in many classes to foster dialogue outside of class time, so that we could see what everyone was planning to work with. The section on Moodle included some videos with examples of improvisational systems, but even after watching these I wasn’t quite sure about the exact nature of the exercise. After looking through others’ posts, I noticed that my classmates collections of objects tended to include at least one or two things that a person can easily perform with, along with something completely random. Imitating them, I decided to bring my clarinet, sheet music for Willson Osborne’s “Rhapsody for Clarinet” and an Amtrak timetable.
Guest blogger Georgia Hann ’18 is a return-to-college botany major with a strong interest in native plants, farming, and composting. She has an academic background in Environmental and Conservation Biology and a wide variety of interests that include but extend beyond languages; holistic health and nutrition; and the literary, visual, and performing arts.
As a kid, I spent a lot of time in a home that looked straight out of Country Home and Living Magazine, with many wicker baskets and an odd number of duck sculptures and paintings. (I counted once and made it to double digits for ducks/items with ducks on them.) I would meander around this home while eating blueberry pie, admiring the immense gallery of artwork that my grandma created over her 95 years of life. Her quaint yellow country home is where my love of art started.
This past fall I was accepted to the Ammerman Center for Arts and Technology as a student scholar. The Center is one of the five academic centers on campus, which provide resources to students and faculty doing interdisciplinary work on a specific subject. This is the second in a regular series of posts I’ll be writing during spring semester about finding my path as a new member of the Center (read post 1).
Typically, students who are keen on majoring in theatre and have an interest in minoring in film studies don’t leap at the prospect of studying economics. But when said student happens to join an econ course by accident, they may have their preconceived notions about the subject turned on their head.
This past fall I was accepted as a student scholar in the Ammerman Center for Arts & Technology. The Center is one of five academic centers on campus, which provide resources to students and faculty doing interdisciplinary work on a specific subject. As a scholar in the Ammerman Center, I collaborate and learn from other scholars and professors to accomplish my goal of creating connections between my major (philosophy), the arts, and technology; I will graduate with a certificate in arts and technology, which reflects my participation in classes, seminars, independent studies, center sponsored activities, and an internship relating to the field. This is the first in a regular series of posts I’ll be writing in the spring semester about finding my path as a new member of the Center.
There are many concerts and recitals at the end of each semester, produced by the music and dance departments, student bands or a capella groups, SAC (Student Activities Council), or any of the myriad student groups here. I should know because I usually end up playing in a few of the ones that the music department runs. For me, it’s a bittersweet moment in the semester. Playing in concerts is a fun and invigorating experience, but it’s usually time-consuming with rehearsals and preparation for each performance. It’s also a sign that the semester is getting close to the dreaded finals period. However, playing a concert is about more than just jumping onto the stage of Evans Hall. There are a lot of little things that go into it.
One of the strange, interesting, and unexpected experiences I have each semester at Conn is making connections across classes that initially appear to be completely unrelated. I believe that doing this is in keeping with Conn’s nature as a small liberal arts college. Many of my classes draw students from a wide variety of backgrounds and majors, which means that I get to hear how those students draw connections between their interests and the class subject material such as a biology major’s take on Aristotle’s De Anima. There are plenty of subjects that I’ll never take classes in, but I still hear how they connect from students who are passionate about them. Part of the aim of our new curriculum, Connections, is to get all students to look at the similarities between seemingly unrelated subjects. I’m envious of future Conn students because I wish I could experience some of the ways Connections will continue to transform the way we learn. The curriculum was launched in 2016, so this year’s incoming class will be the first to experience it throughout their four years.
I’ll be honest and say that senior year of college is a very wild time. Not wild as in “party party!!”, although that definitely occurs, but moreso wildly introspective as in “Oh lord, what is my life becoming and how has it ended up here?” A solid portion of my time is spent blankly staring into the distance worrying how I’m going to convince employers that I’m worth paying and why people are already sending me bills as if I can afford them. I won’t even delve into the odd transitions occurring in the amounts of body of hair I’m growing in various places, and the fact that I’m pretty sure I’m starting to hear my joints creak.
On Wednesdays and Fridays I volunteer as a mentor at Jennings Elementary School in New London with Enrichment, a program sponsored by Connecticut College Community Partnerships. Through this program I help students in third, fourth and fifth grade work on improving their math skills. Since coming to Conn, I have become very interested in the philosophy of education and the impact education has on people. I decided to volunteer to learn more and broaden my views about education.
My entire high school career was dedicated to our theater department; whether that meant taking the drama classes, acting in the productions or eventually directing a show, I was always involved in one dramatic aspect or another. So, it was only natural that I continue this level of commitment once I arrived at Connecticut College.
Every time I admit to someone that my favorite class this semester is chemistry, the conversation usually becomes a miniature interrogation. People don’t seem to believe that it is a possibility, and until this semester I would have vehemently agreed. Let it be known that my choosing to major in one of the natural sciences at Conn was not because I excelled at them in high school. I wasn’t the worst, but since I preferred understanding larger scale things like earth sciences and biology, I would walk to chemistry with a good deal of dread every day. I wasn’t comforted when, upon entering college, I learned that a semester of it was required for my major. I’m not a human without flaws, and I will openly admit that I waited until the last possible moment in my senior year to take the class. However, my irrational fear and shameful procrastination is validated by knowing that I am one of two seniors in my class of otherwise first-years.
On a recent Friday evening, my musicology class went out to dinner and attended a collaborative performance by contemporary string quartet ETHEL and Native American flutist Robert Mirabal. While introducing the show, our director of arts programming mentioned that the College had enjoyed hosting ETHEL for a three-day residency preceding the concert. Hearing him say this made me smile because I gained many great things out of their time here.
As our nation works to understand the implications of the election results, students throughout the country have been meeting with deans and other administrators to discuss its impact. Here at Conn our administration has been proactive in learning about the needs of our community. The day after the election, less than twelve hours after Donald Trump was declared president-elect, I attended Lunch with the Deans with Jefferson Singer, John McKnight, and Victor Arcelus, the deans of the College, Institutional Equity & Inclusion, and students respectively.
One of the most magical parts of college is the ability to make your own decisions for most, if not all, things related to yourself. I enrolled in five classes this semester: Elementary Italian, Acting 1, my First-Year Seminar, Twelfth Night (a Theater Department performance that I am receiving four credits for) and Calc B: Derivatives/Integrals.