March 10, 2012
So, what is the difference between Hamilton and every other liberal arts college? I would say it is Hamilton’s academic environment - the open curriculum, the commitment of my professors, my experiences outside of the class and everything in between.
Hamilton’s open curriculum means there are almost no academic requirements. I don’t know about you, but I do not have a brain for the hard sciences. Thus, because I am at Hamilton, I never have to take chemistry, physics or any class that I am not interested in for that matter!
As a student, I have found that this really changes the classroom dynamic when you and your peers have purposely chosen to be there. (Class sizes range from as few as six and are capped at 40 for introductory courses). I have found that because my classmates are genuinely interested in the topics, classroom discussions are livelier, and students are compelled to debate and argue. If we were not interested in the class, then we would not be taking it.
Secondly, my professors have been phenomenal. A Hamilton professor is not someone who stands in front of the class and regurgitates the reading from last night. Rather, he or she complements the material with his or her own knowledge and research in the field. My History of South Africa professor had just returned from a year and a half leave during which he went to South Africa and India to do research. Ninety-four percent of professors on campus have the highest degree in their field.
Even in classes as large as 40, I still receive individual attention. I know I can reach my professors at their office hours, by email and sometimes by phone. It is nice to know that when I am struggling on a paper or not comprehending the material, my professors are highly accessible to help me.
Lastly, I do not find Hamiltonians to be extremely competitive and cut-throat. Rather, my classmates and I often help one another out and form study groups (when permitted, of course). During my first semester here, I struggle with Econ 101 but the random student sitting next to me was willing to help me with the material after class. Since then, I have found that same willingness to help one another throughout my semesters here at Hamilton.
(Cheers to the professors at Hamilton! Thanks you for making the difference in my educational pursuits and sharing your expertise and knowledge.)
Majors: World Politics, Anthropology
Activities: America Reads, Outreach Adventure pre-orientation leader, rugby and tour guide
Pastimes: Sipping chai, shouting friends’ names across the quads or the bridge, keeping in touch with friends who are studying abroad, late night studying in KJ, overindulging on McEwen stir fry, laughing
Hometown: Medford, Mass.
High School: Medford High School