Hometown: Guilford, Connecticut
Why did you decide on your major?
Communicating in a different language, I get kind of a rush out of it. The more you study a language, it's almost like a picture coming into focus. Unlike a lot of other disciplines you can study in school, there is a model of perfection, which would be someone who is a native speaker. I always feel like I'm sort of aiming to get that good.
What has been your favorite class at Bowdoin?
I'm really grateful for all the economics classes I've taken. They really changed my perspective and how I look at a lot of issues. Political issues, but also ethical and moral stuff. I can't read the newspaper or read books or listen to people talk about certain things without thinking about it differently.
I've done an independent study with [Visiting Assistant Romance Languages Professor] Alex Dauge-Roth about history and what it means to write about the past, and how the experience of reading about the past and writing about the past then compare to the event itself. [The study] was fascinating because it [dealt] with very fundamental issues.
What extracurriculars are you involved in?
It's great being on the squash team here. It's one of the things I'm going to miss the most [about Bowdoin].
I also started doing the improv group [the Improvabilities] last year. It's fun to let go and be totally goofy, which isn't easy. One of the things that drives me crazy is the more you try to be funny, undoubtedly, you will be less funny. There's only been a few times when I've been able to have the perfect marriage of complete lack of self-consciousness and energy level.
I also had a jazz show [sophomore] year [on WBOR] from 6:30-8 on Saturday mornings. Freshman year I was playing a song and the phone rang, and I picked it up and it was this older lady (I was playing a song from the thirties, kind of a Glenn Miller song), and she said, "I'd just like you to know that today is my husband's eightieth birthday and you're playing our song." That was really, really awesome. I was playing a song and it actually meant so much to these people, and I guess that's what you want to do with your show.
What's your best Bowdoin memory?
That's a really difficult question to answer, because I have a lot of memories of Bowdoin. You can go day after day after day or week after week after week and then all of a sudden, you'll just be having dinner with some people, and it'll turn out you'll have a really good conversation. You just run into somebody and you end up hanging out that night and having a good time. It's stuff like that that makes it worthwhile. Stuff you can't even plan, stuff you might not remember. I've had a few good wins on the squash team, counterbalanced by more terrible losses, but the wins are good memories.
Have you studied away during your time at Bowdoin?
I went to Senegal last year through the University of Wisconsin. I have trouble talking about it because I don't know what to say. Going to a third world country is a lot different from going to France or England. I remember when I was a kid, it was inconceivable that life could be any other way, that you wouldn't live in a nice house in the suburbs, like I did, and go to school, and play soccer and watch TV and eat cereal. When you're here, you get very comfortable in your routine. To go somewhere else, and to realize that yours isn't the only reality and that the reality for these people is as vivid and as normal to them as yours is to you, there's something disquieting about that. But also something kind of neat at the same time.
What are your plans after graduation?
I want to go live in France for a few years and probably teach English. I'm so connected to these little aspects of French culture but I've never actually spent any time there, so I'm excited to go there. It's like someone who follows baseball all the time, but never actually goes to a big league game. My plans also extend at the moment to going to the World Cup in Germany in 2006. I watched a lot of soccer in Senegal and I did a paper on soccer when I was there, so I'm very excited to do that.
Is there anything else about Bowdoin or your experiences here that you'd like prospective students to know?
I remember when I was in high school, the whole college process seemed like a really big deal and I was all stressing about it. I would always hear about other kids that my friends or parents knew who were in college, and they always seemed to be loving it, which seemed like a lot of pressure. I feel like wherever you end up going, you make the best of it. Life in college in the United States is a pretty great deal, so wherever you go, be it Bowdoin, or wherever, I think it will most likely be fine. I'm going to say this and it won't make any difference because you'll worry anyways. Just don't worry about it.