When I interviewed at Smith College in April, the director of the M.E.D. program repeatedly stressed the fact that I would have no free time this year. I believe he used the following four phrases almost verbatim:
— “Are you seeing anyone? Because you won’t be.”
— (Gestures at lake, trees, 19th century buildings.) “It’s a gorgeous campus. Not that you’ll have any time to enjoy it.”
— “Here’s the gym. You’ll have about ten minutes a week to use it.” (Laughs). “No, but really.”
— “One girl last year didn’t take me seriously when I said she wouldn’t have free time, and she decided to stay on her softball league. A few weeks into school, she quit the league.”
Naturally, my first reaction to softball girl was “She didn’t have free time, but I’m different.”
He was exaggerating slightly, but the gist was accurate. Our Monday and Wednesdays start between 8 and 9 and end at 8 pm. (Tuesdays and Thursdays finish by 3:30 which feels like you’ve been handed a free spa session.) When we don’t have classes, we have homework. Sure, we’ve had the chance to go out a few nights, and I’ve had free time on my weekends (at the expense of some of my readings), but most of my time is spoken for. All of our classes range from 2.5-4 hours. Yes, four hours. Nobody misses a class because it’s like missing a week’s worth of information. (Also, there are only 12 of us, so it would be pretty obvious if someone wasn’t showing up.)
The workload is most apparent when I hear one of my housemates talk about going to sleep like it’s the pinnacle of existence.
OK, but to keep things in perspective, I will say that most of the classes are interactive, the girls in the program are incredibly supportive, and the workload has been manageable. (In spite of the fact that I bought a planner which is unusable because it doesn’t start until September.)
Three of my enthusiastic classmates.
I would write more, but, naturally, I don’t have time. I hope to make some time this weekend to get into the nitty gritty of the Smith/Clarke experience, mostly because I before I came I googled blogs for ages and couldn’t find anything. Future students, this is for you. And of course, mom, dad, friends, and stalkers.