|By Interesteddad (Interesteddad) on Saturday, October 09, 2004 - 03:05 am: Edit|
We picked up my daughter at the airport tonight -- home on break from Swat for the first time since the start of freshman classes. We hadn't heard much from her for a couple of weeks, so were curious how things were going, so we got caught up over dinner.
She had definitely gotten a taste of the academic workload with two papers and mid-term exams this week. She said she had pulled no all-nighters, but had gotten a little behind in her sleeping! She did get the one large paper done in time for review and editing by a Writing Associates tutor. Her roommate read and commented on the other. She felt like exams had gone well.
Does she like Swarthmore? Loves it. She commented that it was so lame when her visiting "spec" asked what was the worst thing about Swarthmore and all any of her friends could come up with was the dining hall closed too early for dinner.
She said that she was sad thinking that the semester is already half over...because she's having so much fun.
|By Momofthree (Momofthree) on Saturday, October 09, 2004 - 10:33 am: Edit|
Interesteddad, I know it is thrilling to know that your daughter is so happy at Swat. I remember several vacations that my DD became positively depressed to have to separate herself from the place. Good to know the environment is all you both had hoped it would be. Sounds like she is thriving!
|By Itsrainingpants (Itsrainingpants) on Saturday, October 09, 2004 - 11:33 am: Edit|
<<I remember several vacations that my DD became positively depressed to have to separate herself from the place.>>
Even after a rough two weeks, workload wise, I started missing Swat the moment I got home!
Funny that ID's daughter would comment about dining hours- when a spec asked me about the worst aspect of Swat the other day, I told him that Sharples closed too early for dinner. And maybe the food itself, which many upperclassmen have told me, is the worst in recent memory.
|By Nceph (Nceph) on Sunday, October 10, 2004 - 07:33 pm: Edit|
We've been following with great interest your daughter's experiences through your postings on these boards. I'm especially glad to hear she hasn't pulled any all-nighters yet. I'd really like to hear what she has learned from her friend at Williams (differences? similarities?) and whether her friend is just as happy. My daughter still has a year or more before she has to make any final decision about where to apply, so we'll be checking back for updates as often as we can.
|By Cangel (Cangel) on Sunday, October 10, 2004 - 08:25 pm: Edit|
ID, so glad your daughter is happy, we're hoping for that same feeling this time next year.
|By Interesteddad (Interesteddad) on Sunday, October 10, 2004 - 09:02 pm: Edit|
>> I'd really like to hear what she has learned from her friend at Williams (differences? similarities?) and whether her friend is just as happy.
Her friend is also home from Williams and they had a long talk today, of which I only get bits and pieces. They are quite different personalities, her friend being somewhat more "nose-to-the-grindstone" in terms of studying and quieter, less outgoing socially.
Her friend is enjoying Williams, as I expected she would. The only two differences that I heard about were:
a) a difference in math offerings. Both girls were in the same AP AB Calc class in high school that covered the first two "sections" of calc, but not the third (points and series?). Swat divides up their calc classes into half-semester sections, so my daughter could drop into a freshman calc class on the stuff she hadn't covered in high school. It doesn't sound like Williams has this option, so you are stuck either taking freshman calc and repeating most of the stuff from high school to get to the third segement or placing out into multivariable calc and never really getting the six weeks of "points and series calculus". My daughter is actually finding the "points and series" stuff to be pretty difficult (not doing the problems by following the rules, so much as trying to get some mental concept), so she's glad to be able to drop into exactly the right class.
The only other report my daughter mentioned was that her friend said the drinking at Williams is "crazy". 30 of the 32 kids in her freshman entry are "drinkers" -- although I have no idea to what extent other than it must be enough for her (one of the two non-drinkers) to mention it. She felt that, as one of the two non-drinkers, she felt like the oddball.
Quizzing my daughter about drinking at Swat...all 14 of the freshmen on her hall basically run in a pack, so she knows them all pretty well. They usually go to one of the weekly parties in a group. Four or five in the group don't drink at all, the others pay their $2 and drink beer from the keg at the party while dancing -- no instances of not being able to walk back to their dorm and no "drink 'til you puke" episodes among the group. Campus-wide, she's only seen one episode of someone unable to walk under his own power -- a varsity sports team trying (largely unsuccessfully) to walk a team member across campus.
My daughter's hall RA (a senior) told the freshman right up front that he could not and would not purchase alcohol for them.
In the dorm, my D's freshmen group usually studies together in one of the dorm lounges during the week -- easier to stay awake than the old lie down on the bed and try to read trick! They play cards, watch movies, etc. together. For example, on Saturday, the group had a Kill Bill marathon, watching Kill Bill 1 on DVD in the dorm and then going to see Kill Bill 2 in the campus theater.
They've hosted a steady stream of "specs", which they entertain as a group, especially if the designated host has a paper due the next day.
|By Interesteddad (Interesteddad) on Sunday, October 10, 2004 - 10:51 pm: Edit|
"so glad your daughter is happy, we're hoping for that same feeling this time next year"
Your D will be happy no matter where she ends up. I have been really impressed with the way you guys have gone about putting together a college list and the obvious talks you've had on the pluses and minuses of the various schools on her list. I think that actually recognizing that all schools HAVE pluses and minuses is the key to a successful college hunt!
|By Cangel (Cangel) on Sunday, October 10, 2004 - 11:38 pm: Edit|
ID, that's very kind. She doesn't have time to go up to Swarthmore for an overnight (too bad Ivan didn't warn us, she could have gone to Philly on her hurricane break ). The big local college night is tomorrow night and, will wonders never cease, a Swarthmore rep is on the schedule! Hopefully she will get to chat, its one of her top choices.
|By Interesteddad (Interesteddad) on Monday, October 11, 2004 - 12:20 am: Edit|
>> She doesn't have time to go up to Swarthmore for an overnight
I think the only key thing that might be missed without an overnight is the palpable sense of community among the students in the dorms. My daughter sensed it on her overnight last fall, when she felt like she was hanging out with old friends. She sensed it even more during the pre-frosh visit last spring. And, it shows up here and there in admissions office PR stuff. But, the instant friendships and closeness of the people on her hall (including the interaction between the seniors/juniors and the freshmen) has clearly been the dominate impression I get from my daughter.
We talked about it the other night when I said it sounded like she had picked up where she had left off in high school, making a new circle of close friends. She said that it was even better than that...that she already felt as close to the people on her hall as she had with best friends from high school that she had known for years.
|By Achat (Achat) on Monday, October 11, 2004 - 07:40 am: Edit|
I agree about the sense of community. My son has been making calls to his friends at Swat here and his away message on IM right after he got back was 'missing Swat already'. (I inherited his computer, that's how I know).
|By Nceph (Nceph) on Monday, October 11, 2004 - 09:06 am: Edit|
The sense of community you all have spoken about is definitely going in our "plus" column for Swarthmore. I hope you both (Interesteddad and Achat) will continue to keep us apprised of your children's impressions. We are going to have a difficult time arranging for any overnight visits next fall before a decision about early decision will need to be made, and at this point, I'm not sure how we'd narrow down a list that would make visitng feasible. In the meantime, we're going to be asking a lot of questions and doing a lot of listening -- mostly from a distance.
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