David Donahue '07
David Donahue '07
Major: Government and Legal Studies
Hometown: Ashland, Massachusetts
Why did you choose to come to Bowdoin?
I chose to come to Bowdoin because of the people. In grade school, I aspired to play college football from the first time I put my pads on. I graduated from The Rivers School in Weston, Mass., a tight-knit community with good professors and coaches. A number of Division III Colleges recruited me to play football but Bowdoin College really jumped out at me because of its similarity to my high school. The community at Bowdoin struck me as one that really cares about the development of its students. So, in the end, the people at Bowdoin are what inspired me to choose Bowdoin.
Why did you choose your major?
I am very interested in the world around me and what makes it work. I chose to major in Government because I thought I would be able to learn about what makes our country run (or not run) in addition to learning political philosophy and foreign policy. Being a Government and Legal Studies major has allowed me to enjoy taking courses that range widely in their subjects, from political theories of Max Weber and Karl Marx to the war in Iraq.
What has been your favorite course at Bowdoin?
I think one of the most interesting courses I have taken and especially enjoyed was American Foreign Policy with Professor Gerald DiGiusto. Before this class I was stuck inside the "Bowdoin Bubble" and was not too interested in the history of American foreign policy. This class opened my eyes to a lot of new things and has broadened my horizons. I still read The New York Times every day in an attempt to follow up on some of our discussions in that class.
Have you engaged in any independent research while at Bowdoin?
Last spring, I engaged in an independent study on the United States Marine Corps under the supervision of Professor Chris Potholm. This research was done as a continuation of the Government, War, and Society class I had taken with Professor Potholm the semester before. I was also interested in researching the United States Marine Corps because of my involvement with the Officer Candidate School for the Marines. I read books on Marine Corps doctrine and history, watched films, and actively communicated with members of the Corps in order to understand what makes the Marine Corps one of the most elite fighting forces in the world. I learned about the intense physical training the soldiers undergo and about how they often are put into the forefront of battle with little warning, leading to their phrase "First to go, last to know."
What extracurricular or work experiences have you had at Bowdoin?
I have been a member of both the football and lacrosse teams since my first year here. On the football team I am a linebacker and defensive back. On the lacrosse team, I am a defensive midfielder. I have spent an extended amount of time with members of both teams during the seasons and most of my teammates are my best friends at school. I have enjoyed representing my college for the past few years and I am trying to make the most of this opportunity in my last year.
I have also held numerous on-campus jobs including short order cook at Jack Magee's Pub, selling tickets at the hockey games, and working for the athletic trainers.
And starting last year, I have been involved with the Mt. Ararat Mentoring Program, where I spend time with a middle school student from the community. I really enjoy interacting with and being a role model to these younger students and plan to continue mentoring this year. The Mt. Ararat Program in nearby Topsham has had a significant impact on my life and has prompted me to possibly look for a job teaching and coaching after college.
Did you study abroad during your time at Bowdoin?
Because I have played two sports since I was a first year, I did not get a chance to go abroad. This remains one of my only regrets here, because most of my friends have gone and still talk about how studying abroad really affected them in a positive manner.
What have you done during your summers?
The summer after my first year and junior year, I spent six long weeks at Officer Candidate School for the Marine Corps (OCS). I got involved with this program because it allowed me to put my entire focus on my school work and sports during the year while actively pursuing something during the summer that I have considered doing after college since I was in high school. This program is designed to train, screen, and evaluate officer candidates to see if they have the leadership potential to lead Marines. A lot of people think that OCS is the toughest leadership school in the country. At the program, I often had to spend about 20 hours each day undergoing physical training and fieldwork. For example, we went on a "night hump" (which involves carrying a 50-pound backpack through the woods in the dark) and then continued other vigorous physical and leadership training for a 72-hour period during which I slept for only about three hours total. The rigorous schedule at the leadership school certainly made my schedule at Bowdoin seem easier.
I spent the summer after my sophomore year working for a residential fence installation company as well as working for my father's contracting business. These two jobs have taught me the importance of hard physical labor as well as removed me from the monotony of an office for a couple of months.
What is your best Bowdoin memory?
I can recall playing in a lot of games, both football and lacrosse, and winning some pretty important ones. But I think some of my best Bowdoin memories come from just hanging out with my friends. I think that the friendships I have created over the past four years will be the one thing that I miss the most about college. I may live with or near friends of mine from Bowdoin after graduating, but nothing can replace living with, hanging out with, and playing sports with people who are close to me.
What are your plans for after graduation?
Initially, I was planning on being an officer in the Marine Corps after graduation, but I am not sure if that is the right career path for me as of now. My graduation from OCS still allows me to consider that option. Right now, as I mentioned before, I am considering teaching or coaching. I am also sending in my resume to analyst and consulting positions with some Boston companies to see what happens. I am not positive which path I would like to pursue, but I would like to keep as many doors open as possible for as long as possible until I need to make a decision. I am also kind of delaying the job search in an attempt to concentrate as much time as I can with having fun and enjoying college.
What advice would you give to a prospective student or first-year about the Bowdoin experience?
Don't try and rush through things. Here I am answering these questions and I am in disbelief that I am about to graduate. I felt like it was just the other day when I was moving into Appleton Hall, and now I am applying for jobs. I would tell prospective students to get as involved with as many things as they can in whatever area they are passionate about because this is going to be the only four years that you can do that. Get involved and enjoy yourself.
What quirky or fun thing did you wish you knew before you came to Bowdoin?
You can sometimes get stuck in the "Bowdoin Bubble." As fun and important are the things that happen on campus, there is a world that exists outside of Brunswick, Maine.
I would also make sure to ask your parents to keep sending care packages after first semester. Even though most students get used to college life, it is still nice to receive brownies and chocolate chip cookies in the mail. Receiving care packages is very important at the end of a semester when your Polar Points run out and there is a lot of late night studying.
Story posted on November 13, 2006
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