Find out what the members of the class of 2016 are up to in their first year of college. A college freshman is featured in the Freshman Focus every week.
Emma Belliveau, ‘16, attends University of Connecticut (UConn) in Storrs and is enrolled in the honors program. She has not yet declared a major, though she plans on majoring in Applied and Resource Economics.
Q: What classes are you taking?
A: I am taking Communication 1100, which is public speaking, Political Science 1602 (introduction to American politics), a class on American popular music, French 3268W, which is concentrated on writing and grammar, and UNIV 117, a class that all freshman are required to take. It is a one-credit course, and acts like an introduction to the university for freshmen.
Q: What do you do in UNIV?
A: It’s basically a chill research course. At the beginning of the year, we picked a topic that we were interested in. I picked American politics. Some days we have teaching assistants who come in and discuss our topics with us, while (on) others the professor talks with us.
Q: Do you have any favorite classes?
A: I really like my American politics class because the teacher never discusses the readings that we have to do for homework! He just poses a lot of hypothetical questions on current topics in American politics that we discuss for the whole class. I have learned a lot more about how the government runs.
Q: How big are your classes?
A: It really depends. My public speaking class lecture has 350 students, but our discussions are around 25 people. My smallest class is French with nine people because it is a more advanced class. My music class lecture is about 125 people, though my discussions are only 25. My poli sci class is honors, so there are only about 25 people in it as well.
Q: Can you explain your intended major, Applied and Resource Economics?
A: It’s basically about how economics relates to environmental resources. There is a concentration within the major for environmental laws and policies, which is probably where I would head.
Q: How are the dorms?
A: The dorms are nice. I have no complaints, except for three times when I wanted to take a shower and the water was ice cold. I was like, “No way!”
Q: How is your roommate?
A: She is fine. We coexist. It’s not terrible.
Q: Is your dorm specific to any major?
A: No, but I am in the freshman honors dorm. I have heard from other people that our dorm is very communal and friendly compared to a lot of the other dorms on campus, and I would totally agree. A lot of the people in our dorm are in the same classes with each other, so you get to know everyone really well.
Q: What’s it like being in the honors program?
A: It’s nice because it gives you certain perks over everyone else. You get things like special housing, earlier pick for classes and smaller classes. This allows you to get to know your professors better, which is definitely a benefit. Though the honors program is a lot more demanding.
Q: How is it more demanding?
A: Well, if you want to continue to be in the honors program sophomore year, you have to obtain a certain amount of credits and attend certain honors events. I think you must get 16 credits, attend five honors events and write a paper on each.
Q: Are you going to continue to be in the honors program?
A: I’m going to try! You can stay in the honors program all four years, or you can drop out if you want to.
Q: How do you get around campus?
A: I mostly walk because I enjoy walking unless it’s really cold or rainy. Then I take the bus, which is actually not that bad.
Q: Do you frequently travel off campus to the town of Storrs?
A: Saying there is a town is untrue. There are mostly houses, and there is nothing to do. You can rent cars through Zipcar, which I haven’t done yet, but I don’t typically travel off campus.
Q: So what do you do instead?
A: Right next to our dorms there is this huge supercenter where there are a bunch of restaurants and shops for students. There’s no need to go anywhere else.
Q: Does nobody travel off campus then?
A: Some people definitely do, but if they do, they travel to Boston or New York.
Q: How’s the weather in Connecticut?
A: It’s honestly not that bad because I enjoy cold weather and came prepared with winter coats. But everyone says wait until it gets to the middle of the winter when it’s zero degrees Fahrenheit with wind gusts at negative 20 degrees.
Q: Have you gotten any snow yet?
A: Yes, twice already, although I think it is going to get a lot more frequent.
Q: How was the weather in Connecticut when you first arrived?
A: The humidity was awful. There is no air conditioning in our dorm, so it was just miserable.
Q: Do you participate in any extracurriculars or clubs?
A: I haven’t joined any yet. I wanted to give myself time in the first semester to adjust to college life. But I do tutor middle-school students twice a week.
Q: What do you tutor students in?
A: I just help them with their homework, which is mostly math. I sometimes help them with vocabulary for English too.
Q: Are you thinking about joining any extracurriculars after the first semester is over?
A: I might join the Ultimate Frisbee team, which is kind of mainstream because I feel like everyone who goes to college joins the Ultimate Frisbee team.
Q: How did you choose UConn?
A: The funny thing is that I never thought I would be here. It felt like I just ended up here on a whim. All the factors – such as the honors program and merit aid that I received – just added up to make this school the perfect place for me.
Q: What do you like most about the school?
A: I really like the general spirit at UConn. The whole school just has a really positive attitude, and everyone is very nice. The faculty all seem like they care about you and how you’re doing, which is a little bit like Country Day.
Q: Did college live up to your expectations?
A: Yes, pretty much. I didn’t know what to expect when I arrived because I was trying not to hype it up too much and scare myself. I have been really pleased with everything.
Q: What’s your advice for the class of 2017?
A: My advice would be to try not to focus on getting into the best school because there is always this pressure, especially at Country Day, to go to a top academic school. Set aside academics and take advantage of opportunities to find a good fit for you. Look for things like a nice campus, good school spirit or additional programs that interest you. Don’t focus just on academics when choosing a school, and instead find a place that will make you happy.
—By Jack Christian