Connecticut College students put a lot of work into maintaining and improving our on-campus community and culture. But what about our local community? The Office of Community Partnerships connects students to volunteer opportunities with local businesses in New London and the surrounding area. I visited the office looking for more ways to get involved in the local community. I explained my interest in history and was introduced to the New London County Historical Society. The historical society headquarters is in downtown New London in a colonial-era house once owned by Nathaniel Shaw Perkins. It houses documents and records from all of New London County. Working there is a great way to learn more about the city and its history. New London was a large whaling port for many years and many captains made their money here.
In March, I accepted a position as a patron services associate with Creede Repertory Theatre (CRT) in Creede, Colorado. But I still haven’t figured out how to explain to announce to all of my friends and family that I’m doing this. Perhaps it’s that I’m going through a phase where I barely use social media right now. I’m only logging into my Facebook account a few times a week, and I don’t feel like writing a self-congratulatory post about my future.
One of the more time-consuming activities I’ve been engaged in as I prepare to graduate and move to Colorado for the summer has been changing banks. The last time I did this was four years ago as I was preparing to enter Connecticut College, when I switched my main account from a local bank in Northampton, Massachusetts, to Citizens Bank. Connecticut College has a Citizens Bank ATM. So it made sense for me to switch to this particular bank to avoid any potential ATM fees.
In June 2016, my mother and I went to the Citizens branch in Northampton to open a new checking account. After about an hour of work with a bank representative, I had a folder with details about my new checking account and other Citizens products, reminder card with my new bank account and routing numbers and receipt for a checkbook order that would arrive a week later. I was in business.
As I prepare to move to Colorado, I have realized I can’t keep banking with Citizens. The company’s westernmost branches are located in Michigan and Ohio, so withdrawing any cash while I’m in Colorado would incur needless ATM and bank fees. Before and during spring break, I started analyzing various online banking products as well as the benefits I have from bank accounts already open in my name, including one at Florence Bank, my local bank at home. I eventually settled on depositing my money with two different Internet-based financial institutions. I’ve mainly interacted with Citizens through Internet and phone-based services rather than going into any of their branches. So working with banks that do not have any public offices isn’t too concerning to me. All of these banks have little to no minimum funding requirements and usually allow me to withdraw money from anywhere in the nation without penalty. As someone who’s just getting out of College and trying to build a nest egg while also wanting easy access to my funds, this sort of set up is a relief.
I’ve also started to set up methods to save long-term including a small Roth IRA account, which allows me to start saving for buying a house and/or retirement while earning interest. One of the benefits of the Roth IRA plan over traditional IRAs is that I can withdraw money I initially put into the account (but not money earned in the account) tax-free anytime. While banking and making sure to save money can at times feel scary–knowing that I have a plan makes me feel secure about my future.
New London Hall This has become my favorite day-time studying nook. Whether I have journaling to do for my Pathway course or I need to outline a paper, it’s the perfect spot to do some work while also enjoying the view of everyone walking between classes. For me, it’s a good thinking spot where I can brainstorm and look around. It’s also usually quite easy to find a quiet spot as classes are not always taking place on each floor.
During spring break, most people want to go to a warm place to get away from the cold winters in New England. Rather than flying this typical route south, I went east to London with my senior seminar for spring break. My senior seminar in the English department is on Jane Austen. When I signed up for the class, taught by Professor of English Jeff Strabone, I knew that there was a trip to the United Kingdom planned for our two-week spring break. While this was not a determining factor in choosing the class for me, it certainly did not hurt.
Connections matter. The line has retained relevance my entire life. From the day I entered the workforce at age 17, my mom emphasized just how far a connection can take you in life. Little did I know I would end up at a college where connections are integrated into the fabric of the school’s community. In both the curriculum and Conn’s career office, faculty and staff highlight the value of a connection: academic connections, such as cross-listed classes or concepts; employment connections, such as your mom’s co-worker’s cousin. Connections can be big or small but how you utilize them determines their importance.
Earlier this semester, I wrote a post about the importance of connections and how they can spark exciting opportunities. It is all about who you know and what you’re willing to do with that knowledge. On the contrary, who you are willing to know is equally important. I am applying for a couple of internships at Showtime Networks, a highly coveted position. I knew that merely submitting my application materials was not going to help me stand out. Based on my workshop experience with the Office of Career and Professional Development, my job experiences and the advice of family members, I decided to put myself on the line. And I was pleased with the results.
It was a sad day in the middle of February 2018 when I was diagnosed with the flu. I sulked from Student Health Services back to my room in Freeman House and was left to my own devices for the rest of the week. I was required to isolate myself, so as to not spread the virus and recover in the most expedient way possible. I was initially worried about missing class, falling behind on work and just not being able to entertain myself for that long. Before I knew it, I was down a rabbit hole of internet conspiracy theories that culminated with my discovery of perhaps the most fascinating, interesting topic.
It’s opening night. The show was scheduled to start at 7:30 p.m., while the team and I arrived in the theater at 6 p.m. The cast warmed up then changed into costume while Morgan, Declan and I placed furniture, decor and did checks for lights and sound. As the hour approached, people began to arrive and wait in the lobby. Around 7 p.m., Morgan and I started pacing, anxiously floating between the lobby, theater space and the “hobbit hole”, a room in which the actors stay before the show.
Like many people my age, I can usually be found on my phone, texting, calling or staying updated on the lives of my Instagram followers. But when I was studying abroad in Havana, Cuba, I was rarely ever on my phone. Due to the Internet connectivity in the area where I was living, I was only able to communicate with my parents and friends by purchasing wifi cards and traveling to a wifi hotspot. The lack of Internet access was surprisingly one of my favorite aspects of studying abroad because I found myself experiencing each moment more. The downside was that I started to become a little homesick after a month of not being able to communicate consistently with my family and friends. My host family made me feel at home and like a member of their family, but I naturally still missed my friends and family.
When I was 5, I wanted to be an astronaut. At the age of 8, I declared to my mother that I would be as famous as Demi Lovato, disregarding the fact that I could not sing to save my life. As my career aspirations went from astronaut to black hole specialist to journalist, I entered high school and got into the sciences. If someone looked at my high school transcript, they would assume that I was headed toward a STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) major. They would be correct. In high school, I took advanced mathematics, chemistry and physics. I wanted to be a materials scientist. Back then, nothing excited me more than spending hours in a chemistry laboratory seeing what obscure material could oxidize lead.
Mondays are THE BEST. Actually, Mondays are generally the worst, but my Mondays this semester are always a highlight of my week. My schedule on Mondays is definitely hectic. The day starts at 9 a.m. with a lecture and then I have obligations with short breaks throughout the day until 8 p.m., when I finally get to rest. You may be wondering, “Daniella, what is so great about having a Monday that's packed with things to do?” Well, like every good story this one involves a dog.
Everyone has their own way of clearing their head. Maybe that’s going for a walk, playing a game or taking a drive. For me, I turn to my yoga practice. About two years ago I discovered Buti Yoga. I immediately fell in love with this type of yoga and have been practicing it ever since. With its upbeat music and incorporated dance, it helps me release energy. Buti Yoga not only puts me in a good mood but doubles as my workout. The practice also consists of breathing awareness and patterns, creating a sense of clarity and focus in times that I am stressed or feel distracted. All these aspects of the practice have taught me how to ground myself and create a better sense of self-awareness. As someone who previously struggled with injuries from sports, this has been a healthy and healing form of exercise. Buti Yoga has led me to find not only a new passion but a healthy way to de-stress after a busy day of sitting in class.
After getting back to campus from winter break, there was one major thing on my to-do list: hold auditions. The thought of auditions didn’t stir up any anxiety, but the thought of having to select a cast from a group of amazingly talented students did. For about three hours, my team and I scribbled notes on random pieces of paper as students traipsed in and out of the room with their monologues. Halfway through the evening, I got the same feeling I get during a class when I’m the only student not taking notes. I realized I was writing without a clue about what I was supposed to be writing down. I was just scribbling because that’s what I’m supposed to do, right?
For international students, choosing a college is a lot like throwing a dart in the dark. We don’t know what the college atmosphere is like. We don’t know how accessible the location is, and, most importantly, we don’t know what the weather is actually like. Why? Because we’ve never had a campus tour. Chances are the average international student has never visited the United States before either. When trying to find the right college for us, we’ve had to depend on the College’s website and whatever location-based information Google can provide. I was fortunate enough to be enrolled in an international high school in Swaziland that was on the visit list for a number of liberal arts colleges. I got to hear from admissions directors about their school’s programs, how each college environment differed from others, and what student life was like on campus.
Growing up bilingual, I don’t remember learning to speak either English or Bengali. I don’t know if I learned the alphabet first or how I knew to tell the difference between the words for a lamp and a lightbulb or how the two languages differed phonetically from one another. I don’t know how I learned and I could surely not advise someone trying to acquire a new language.
This semester has been busy and challenging for me. I’m preparing a senior recital for the Department of Music to be presented Sunday, April 14, and I’m planning to perform my Ammerman Center for Arts and Technology Senior Integrative Project as part of that recital. This decision has set a major deadline for when the majority of the projects I’m working on for senior year need to be ready to be presented. While it's daunting to realize that I’ll soon be on the stage of Evans Hall performing an hour of clarinet music and my finished project for the Ammerman Center, I’ve realized as the recital nears that preparation comes in baby steps.
On a beautiful, sunny day in Sydney, Australia, I met some of my greatest friends. While I was studying abroad at the University of Sydney, my friend Isaac from my program knew other Americans studying abroad nearby and we made plans to converge at Watson’s Bay, a popular island near the University. It was the first warm day we had seen in a while and we felt there would be no better place to spend it than at the beach. The crisp water, fish and chips by the shore and breezy ferry ride to and from the island made it was one of my favorite days abroad.
The LGBTQIA Center has always been a space at Conn where I feel comfortable and at home. As a first-year student, when I went to the Center’s annual ice cream social at the beginning of the fall semester, I walked in as a shy new student who knew no one and did not really know who he was yet. The Center’s orange walls made me feel warm inside and, while I met many new people that night, the thing I remember most was the community bond that came out of that orange space. I felt welcome. Even though I was not out at the time it did not matter. I still felt like a part of the community tightly gathered in the room. That feeling drove me to get involved with the Center more and more during my time at Conn. As a senior, I am still involved. I am in the peer mentorship program where first-years and sophomores are matched with juniors and seniors to help guide them through their college experience and answer questions. Being able to help other queer students through their college experience and being able to answer questions that I wish I could have asked someone has been rewarding, to say the least.
Every college student dreams of having a four-day weekend. In fact, most students try to plan out their schedules to avoid classes on Friday, just for that extra day. Speaking from experience, this can be harder than you’d think! I have never been one to care much about my schedule, as long as no classes overlap and I’m taking classes I enjoy. A few months ago, I sat down to plan this semester's classes with my adviser, professor Jillian Marshall. I selected all of my classes and then drew out my schedule on paper to help visualize my week. Professor Marshall read aloud the days and times each of my classes met while I color-coded my schedule, and that’s when we realized I had somehow managed to have no classes scheduled for Monday or Friday. I quickly looked back to check that I had written in all four courses, thinking perhaps I’d missed one. Nope, that was it! I was pleased with my choices and already looking forward to these continuous long weekends!
As a senior, I am an expert in all things Connecticut College. I know the best route for biking to Quaker Hill (take Gallows Lane to Bloomingdale Road on the way out and come back on Old Norwich Road/Williams Street) and that my favorite study space is an Olin Science Center computer lab affiliated with the Ammerman Center for Arts and Technology, in which I am a student scholar. I also realize my familiarity with my College whenever I open a tab while browsing the Internet on a school computer, which I do quite often, as it immediately directs me to this website: www.conncoll.edu.
When I first came to Conn, I thought I was going to double major in theater and psychology. I love acting, wanted to understand how people worked to better inform my characters, and most of all wanted to bring those two passions together.
Tuesday, February 12, was a snow day at Connecticut College; the campus closed at 11 a.m. I do not have morning classes on Tuesdays, so it was in effect a full snow day for me. I was still in my room in Jane Addams House when I heard the good news and was elated. I soon got a message from my friends asking if I wanted to do an early soup and bread lunch, a Tuesday and Thursday lunch tradition in Jane Addams Dining Hall. I was able to walk down the hall to the dining hall without having to step outside at all, which is a blessing on a snowy day. After a warm soup and bread meal, we went to the Walk-In Coffee Closet, my personal favorite coffee shop on campus conveniently located next to my residence hall. We sat down on the comfy couches and did homework. I find rotating my working locations between Shain Library and the various coffee shops on campus to be helpful—it provides a change of scenery. As we were doing homework we began to talk and time flew by. Later, we smelled an intoxicating aroma coming out of the bakery: someone was making cinnamon buns. The sweet cinnamon smell filled up the small coffee shop and soon I was really craving one. It felt like forever before they were ready but, eventually, I and almost everyone else in the Walk-In indulged. The sweet treat was a perfect complement to the cold day outside. I did not get a lot of my homework done but having a midweek day off and enjoying time with friends was definitely worth it.