Grant Quattlebaum, ‘14, is a student at Reed College in Portland, Oregon.
Q: Tell me about Reed.
A: It’s a fairly small liberal-arts college, although we still have plenty of majors—we just added computer science and mathematics.
Q: To many people who are in the know about schools, Reed has a reputation for being pretty weird. Can you confirm that?
A: There’s definitely a variety of people and things—many of them weird. The nice thing about Reed being so weird is it attracts all different kinds of weird people, so you’re more than likely to find somebody who’s your specific brand of unusual.
Q: Do you have an example of this weirdness?
A: One time, when it was late at night, I felt really hungry. I had probably forgotten to eat breakfast and/or lunch. I walked out of the dining hall and saw a bunch of naked people around a fire doing one of those pagan rituals you see in movies. I said to myself, “That’s certainly something,” and it was.
Q: Why would someone do something like that?
A: I don’t know which club did it. It was probably the dancing, religion or fire club.
Q: There’s a fire club?
A: Yes. They burn things and set off fireworks.
Q: So, what are you thinking of majoring in?
A: Either physics or math, but we have until junior year to decide on what we want to do.
Q: If you wanted to do science, why did you go to a small liberal-arts college instead of a large university with a bigger program?
A: There were a bunch of reasons for my choice. I enjoy small classes. I like the West Coast (and Oregon in general), so Reed was a good fit. Also, I’m majoring in pure science rather than engineering, so there’s not that much benefit to going to a large school for undergrad. Even if I wanted to do engineering, Reed has programs to let me do that.
Q: Do you like Portland?
A: The public transportation is great and the food is pretty darn good, but I don’t get down to the city a lot. I’ve been there maybe four times in the past semester.
Q: It sounds like you spend a lot of time on campus. What’s there to do?
A: A whole bunch of stuff, whether it’s a movie screening or some other campus event. There’s always something going on in the common rooms of the dorms. In my dorm (and my floor especially) we always have some board games going.