Comfy chairs, Café Mac & Choir: First years on first semester
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Comfy chairs, Café Mac & Choir: First years on first semester

Fall semester is coming to a close, and the Class of 2019 has already made their mark on campus. TMW sat down with three Lives of Commitment first years, McKinley Swift, Julia Bayer and Hans Han to talk about life and likes in their first semester at Macalester.

What were your expectations coming into Macalester?

McKinley Swift.
McKinley Swift.

MS: Coming into Macalester, I was [hoping] … to find a group of people that I really connected with. From my many campus visits, I already knew that the students at Mac were a lot like me, which is probably what launched Macalester right up to the top of my list. So, when I finally arrived at Mac as a student myself, I more or less expected to become friends with everybody.

JB: I thought I would have the opportunity to meet people with varied perspectives and backgrounds as well as to be challenged academically. [I was worried that] it would be hard for me to adjust.

HH: I was expecting to meet a lot of diverse people from different backgrounds. I was also expecting to face cultural differences, for the classes to be really challenging and for the professors to be really friendly.

Have your expectations or perspectives changed at all?

HH: It is what I expected, but a bit harder … I like the challenge.

MS: My expectations haven’t really changed all that much. I’ve definitely found a group that I mesh with really well … There are perhaps too many students for me to make friends with every single one of them.

JB: It is not as different as I was expecting, and it hasn’t been that hard for me to transition, but Macalester has allowed me to engage with a greater degree of differences in perspectives.

Hans Han.
Hans Han.

How do you feel about your class being the largest in quite some time?

MS: I don’t have any particularly strong feelings about our class size. My high school actually had more students than Macalester does, so I’m no stranger to being surrounded by lots of people.

JB: It’s nice with more people. You have more diversity and more people to connect with.
HH: I feel like it’s an honor to be a part of this class because I’ll be able to get to know a lot of people and have a lot of connections. I look forward to meeting more people and getting to know them. [The class of 2019] will be gold when we graduate.

What’s the coolest thing you’ve seen or been to on campus?

MS: [Probably] a Halloween event with the Macalester choir and an outside children’s choir called Commusication. We all dressed up in our Halloween costumes and made blankets for patients at Regions Hospital in St. Paul. It was so much fun to hang out with the kids, and it made our reunion for the Fall Choir Concert extra special.

JB: I saw Sherman Alexie speak. He was supposed to speak at my high school [in my junior year] but got sick and canceled.

HH: I would say the people here [are the coolest thing]. [They] all have very unique stories and backgrounds. I want to know as many people as I can.

Favorite class or professor?

HH: I really like my International Econ class with Professor Samiul Haque. I really like my Russian lab, as well.

JB: [My favorite class is] Endangered/Minority Languages with Marianne Milligan.

MS: [Mine’s] a toss-up between Chemistry and Music Theory – two entirely different subjects, I know. But, both are incredibly interesting, and I always feel like I’m learning something new.

Feelings about Café Mac or favorite food on campus?

JB: I like Café Mac. It’s better than [people] often give it credit for. The food is pretty good and there is not too much repetition.

MS: I am a big fan of the ice cream machine.

HH: I really like the veggie quesadilla with mushrooms, guacamole, and onions [from the Grille]. I also really like Scotty’s.

Favorite study spot?

MS: My favorite place to study is the third floor of the library, especially if I have a big paper or lab report to finish up.

JB: The comfy chairs in JWall.

HH: Fourth floor of the library because it’s really quiet. Or the fourth floor of Old Main.

What are you most looking forward to in your next few years at Macalester?

JB: I’m looking forward to the opportunity to take more classes in subject areas and topics that interest me, as well as to study abroad
and hopefully develop more of an idea as to what I want my career to be.

HH: I want to explore various areas of studies, get to know as many people as I can, travel to as many states as my budget allows me to, and help others. Hopefully, by the time I graduate from Mac, I can say hi to at least one out of three people I walk past on campus, have traveled to more than 30 states, and know what I would like to do in the future and fully embrace it.

December 4, 2015

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