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The Experience, Saadya Chevan '19

Hometown: Northampton, Massachusetts
Major: Philosophy
Certificate Program: Ammerman Center for Arts and Technology
Activities: The College Voice, Philosophy Club, Hillel House

Favorite aspect of Connecticut College:  Blogger head shot

Whatever you want to do with your life, you can do it here at Conn. Even with our small size, we have many professors who will go the extra mile to help you achieve your goals as well as a campus with very diverse interests. Our faculty is interested in everything. If you don’t know someone who shares your interests, just ask anyone you do know, and they’ll point you in the right direction. I have new and stimulating experiences every day through my relationships with people all over this campus!

Favorite memory at Connecticut College: 

Playing principal clarinet in the pit during the opening night of the College’s production of Rodgers and Hammerstein’s classic musical Carousel. It was a moment when seven weeks of hard work, long nights, and many discussions on the direction of the show finally paid off, and it was a pinnacle of a freshman year with many high points. We also hosted a group of scholars and professionals whose work involved Carousel, so getting to play for them and hear their opinions on and experiences with the show was a real treat! One of the things about the spring musical that’s unique to Conn is that it involves the music, dance, and theater departments; it’s a great way of getting a lot of students including myself involved in the production who might otherwise miss out on the opportunity. 

Favorite activity in New London or the region:

Catching a film or show at the Garde Arts Center, a beautiful old movie palace and auditorium in the center of town.

What It Takes to Survive Concert Season

- The Experience, Saadya Chevan '19 

There are many concerts and recitals at the end of each semester, produced by the music and dance departments, student bands or a capella groups, SAC (Student Activities Council), or any of the myriad student groups here. I should know because I usually end up playing in a few of the ones that the music department runs. For me, it’s a bittersweet moment in the semester. Playing in concerts is a fun and invigorating experience, but it’s usually time-consuming with rehearsals and preparation for each performance. It’s also a sign that the semester is getting close to the dreaded finals period. However, playing a concert is about more than just jumping onto the stage of Evans Hall. There are a lot of little things that go into it.

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Touring the Ammerman Center

- The Experience, Saadya Chevan '19 

‌This past fall I was accepted to the Ammerman Center for Arts and Technology as a student scholar. The Center is one of the five academic centers on campus, which provide resources to students and faculty doing interdisciplinary work on a specific subject. This is the second in a regular series of posts I’ll be writing during spring semester about finding my path as a new member of the Center (read post 1). 

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The Election at Conn

- The Experience, Saadya Chevan '19 

This election year is an incredibly important and educational moment for the country and in my Conn experience. Like many of my fellow Camels, this is my first time voting in a major election, and I enjoy the support that we as students give each other as we make important decisions about casting our ballots. If you have the opportunity to vote this election you may feel, like I do, that selecting candidates who will do the things that you want them to do is tough, no matter how clear the outcomes appear. I have had several conversations with friends about the importance of learning about the candidates and issues when voting, no matter how polarized our politics. These conversations are important as I learn about becoming an informed and responsible citizen.

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Staying Positive with Green Dot Training

- The Experience, Saadya Chevan '19 

Go Green 7! (the name of my group at the training)

“You must be the change you wish to see.” – M. K. Ghandi

I live my life by this quote because it challenges me to take action to make the world a better place. Its philosophy is also a driving force behind Green Dot training here on campus, which I recently completed. Green Dot is a national organization that works to prevent power-based personal violence, such as sexual assault, domestic and dating violence and stalking, in communities throughout the country. I’m glad that Connecticut College has a robust Green Dot chapter, with about a quarter of students who have undergone training. My friends who completed the training encouraged me to do it for months, so when I got an email about a session that worked with my schedule, I signed up for it.

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Returning to my Origins

- The Experience, Saadya Chevan '19 

For two weeks in November, Connecticut College Asian & Asian American Students in Action (ASIA) hosted ORIGINS: An Asian Arts Festival, a first for both the club and Conn. The festival brought many amazing cultural opportunities to campus, including a lecture by internationally renowned Chinese artist Xu Bing, a food making workshop, and a student art exhibition in Coffee Grounds, one of the coffee houses on campus.

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Making Connections Across Classes

- The Experience, Saadya Chevan '19 

Some material from my Confucian Traditions and Ancient Philosophy classes.

One of the strange, interesting, and unexpected experiences I have each semester at Conn is making connections across classes that initially appear to be completely unrelated. I believe that doing this is in keeping with Conn’s nature as a small liberal arts college. Many of my classes draw students from a wide variety of backgrounds and majors, which means that I get to hear how those students draw connections between their interests and the class subject material such as a biology major’s take on Aristotle’s De Anima. There are plenty of subjects that I’ll never take classes in, but I still hear how they connect from students who are passionate about them. Part of the aim of our new curriculum, Connections, is to get all students to look at the similarities between seemingly unrelated subjects. I’m envious of future Conn students because I wish I could experience some of the ways Connections will continue to transform the way we learn. The curriculum was launched in 2016, so this year’s incoming class will be the first to experience it throughout their four years.

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Lunch with the Deans

- The Experience, Saadya Chevan '19 

As our nation works to understand the implications of the election results, students throughout the country have been meeting with deans and other administrators to discuss its impact. Here at Conn our administration has been proactive in learning about the needs of our community. The day after the election, less than twelve hours after Donald Trump was declared president-elect, I attended Lunch with the Deans with Jefferson Singer, John McKnight, and Victor Arcelus, the deans of the College, Institutional Equity & Inclusion, and students respectively.

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Learning about Learning

- The Experience, Saadya Chevan '19 

On Wednesdays and Fridays I volunteer as a mentor at Jennings Elementary School in New London with Enrichment, a program sponsored by Connecticut College Community Partnerships. Through this program I help students in third, fourth and fifth grade work on improving their math skills. Since coming to Conn, I have become very interested in the philosophy of education and the impact education has on people. I decided to volunteer to learn more and broaden my views about education.

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ETHEL

- The Experience, Saadya Chevan '19 

On a recent Friday evening, my musicology class went out to dinner and attended a collaborative performance by contemporary string quartet ETHEL and Native American flutist Robert Mirabal. While introducing the show, our director of arts programming mentioned that the College had enjoyed hosting ETHEL for a three-day residency preceding the concert. Hearing him say this made me smile because I gained many great things out of their time here.

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Elektra

- The Experience, Saadya Chevan '19 

The class visited the Metropolitan Opera to see a production of "Elektra."

Recently, I accompanied classics professor Nina Papathanasopoulou and her "Classical Mythology" class on a field trip to the Metropolitan Opera in New York to see Richard Strauss’ opera "Elektra." As a music nerd and active student in the Music Department, I really enjoyed getting to see the work of some of the greatest performers in the world; I find that watching other people play is the greatest teaching tool in music, and I’m fortunate to see a lot of performances on and off campus.

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Curating for Beginners

- The Experience, Saadya Chevan '19 

Curating for Beginners blog post

This semester, I’m taking a Sophomore Research Seminar called “Secrecy: Power Privilege and the Invisible,” taught by Lucy C. McDannel ‘22, Professor of Art History and Anthropology and Director of Museum Studies Christopher Steiner. The Sophomore Research Seminars are a set of classes at Conn designed to let students get a head start at doing in-depth research by giving us demanding inquisitive assignments and culminating in a 15-page original research paper. 

My seminar is an interesting interdisciplinary look into the many different topics and perceptions surrounding secrecy; some topics we’ve covered include secret societies, magic, and surveillance. Recently, we had the exciting opportunity to curate a small exhibit in the display cases outside the Linda Lear Center for Special Collections and Archives titled “Photography, Trickery, and the Invisible.” The exhibit focused on three types of photographs common in the late 19th and early 20th centuries: hidden mother, spirit, and trick photography. Most of us had never curated an exhibit before, so it was a new and fun experience for the class.

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Accepting the Challenge of Physical Computing

- The Experience, Saadya Chevan '19 

A top down view of my prototype for a motion sensor, the photovoltaic sensor I used is peeking out of the box on the hole to the right with two strips of electric tape attaching it to the box.

This past fall I was accepted as a student scholar in the Ammerman Center for Arts & Technology. The Center is one of five academic centers on campus, which provide resources to students and faculty doing interdisciplinary work on a specific subject. As a scholar in the Ammerman Center, I collaborate and learn from other scholars and professors to accomplish my goal of creating connections between my major (philosophy), the arts, and technology; I will graduate with a certificate in arts and technology, which reflects my participation in classes, seminars, independent studies, center sponsored activities, and an internship relating to the field. This is the first in a regular series of posts I’ll be writing in the spring semester about finding my path as a new member of the Center.  

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A pleasant plate, a pleasant skate

- The Experience, Saadya Chevan '19 

This year my birthday fell on a Sunday, and my family came to Conn for most of the day. It’s a two-hour drive from my house in Northampton, Massachusetts, so while I see my family often, we agree that none of us needs to constantly schlep between New London and Northampton. However, my parents always drive to the College to celebrate my birthday with me.

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11 Tips for Getting your Books: Not just at the bookstore anymore!

- The Experience, Saadya Chevan '19 

A selection of books for this semester’s classes at the college bookstore

I was asked to purchase six books for a single class my first semester at Connecticut College. Being overwhelmed by the sudden onslaught of assignments in my first week of classes, I decided to purchase the books for that class one-by-one. A couple of weeks later, I walked into the bookstore and discovered that the lovely piles of books had transformed into empty shelves featuring a couple of incredibly tattered, used copies and many order forms. I’m always a little averse to used books because I want my books to look nice; I don’t like having books that have been marked by other people or treated roughly. I chose to buy new copies of most of my books for that class online, which only cost a few extra dollars, something I could afford.

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