I am now a Junior at Swarthmore College and I love it here! I have to admit, I handled the application process to college all wrong, but I am so happy that I ended up where I am now! This school has helped create lasting friendships and connections that I will carry with me for the rest of my life and has helped me to better appreciate the beauty of education for education’s sake, not necessarily for just getting a good grade. There are many wonderful things about Swat that I could go on and on about, but I’ve narrowed it down to the top 3 things that I love about Swat!
I was so incredibly scared to go to college. I had struggled and pushed myself a lot in high school in order to get into a prestigious college and now that I had been accepted into one, I wasn’t sure where to go from there. I was going to a school that was entirely across the country from my hometown and I didn’t know anyone there. I was prepared to flounder a lot and really put myself out there in order to make friends. And then I went to Swatstruck where I met my host/future close friend, Alex! They were so incredibly welcoming and kind and genuinely excited at the possibility of me attending Swat. They even let me sit in on their screenwriting class and answered any and all of my questions. We talked for hours on end about nothing and everything. I felt like if everyone at Swat was even ⅛ as wonderful as Alex, then this must be the school for me. And I was absolutely right! I’ve met some of the most kind-hearted, caring, intelligent, funny, and just overall wonderful people at Swat that I am so grateful to call my friends. Alex and I are still friends to this day even after they graduated, and I have made so many wonderful friendships at Swat that I wouldn’t have made anywhere else!
The Professors and Class Sizes
As I said earlier, I was incredibly scared to be going to Swat. When I first started attending classes, I struggled with participating in class a lot. I was just so anxious and intimidated by the intelligent and eloquent way my fellow classmates would say things that I just stopped trying to say anything at all. Every single one of my professors noticed this and did their best to make space for me in the class which was absolutely incredible and really helpful. I was never pushed to speak or aggressively thrown outside of my comfort zone, but my professors just really helped open up space for me to speak and add to the discussions in my own time. I had never had such individualized attention before when it came to class, but this makes sense given the small class sizes. I’ve had classes as small as only five people and so far I think the biggest class I’ve been a part of has been thirty people. I really appreciate these small class sizes because it really allows me to get to know the professor and vice versa!
The Emphasis on Learning
I had a very toxic mindset on learning when I was in high school. I focused on studying and doing my essays and homework in order to get an A in whatever class I was taking. It was never about actually learning or retaining information, but I focused solely on getting the highest letter grade I could. Then I came to Swat and for my first semester, there were no grades. Everything was pass/fail and suddenly I had to learn how to measure my success not by a grade, but on my own improvement and mastery over the material. I felt so freed and like I actually cared about my classes and I was surrounded by others who felt exactly the same way as I did. Even when grades did become a thing second semester, I didn’t stress over them in the way I did when I was in high school. I still strived to do my best in class but I didn’t have a meltdown over a low grade. I became really passionate about the classes I was taking and what I was learning. And if I ever really did struggle, my professors were always more than happy to help me. Whether through office hours or just a quick chat after class, I felt incredibly supported in all of my academic pursuits.
Swat is a very unique and incredible place. You truly get to learn and explore and meet all kinds of people and form lasting relationships. I feel supported academically in a way I never have before! The people around me are all so incredibly talented and smart and hilarious and just make me want to do my best here as well. There are so many passionate people here which I adore as this makes me feel fired up about everything too! I have made some of my closest friends at this school and I hope you get to make these connections here as well!