Social Life at Williams

<p>I am currently choosing between Harvard and Williams. I recently visited Harvard, and I loved how there were so many activities going on and how social life did not revolve around partying. I love the idea of close teacher/student relationships at Williams (which I feel Harvard lacks), but my biggest worry is the lack of a social life for those who do not drink. I know how big the drinking scene is at Williams, and I have been told that there is no pressure to drink. But I am just not interested in that type of culture. Are there any current students who can attest to this concern?</p>

<p>Are you an athlete? From what I understand (current Ephs, please correct me if I'm wrong!) there's a pretty big difference in the social scene for athletes and "nonners"</p>

<p>Yes I am planning on playing a varsity sport, but I do not see myself as the "stereotypical athlete" personality (if you understand what I mean).</p>

<p>I'm not a student, but the parent of one. So much of social life comes from doing activities with friends, so I'll focus on that. </p>

<p>The obvious major difference is the type of social life or events that occur on a small campus in a bucolic setting as opposed to a large campus in Cambridge-Boston. The area around Harvard simply has a wider range of more urban distractions. The environs of Williams has more outdoor activities, like hiking, skiing, etc.</p>

<p>Setting that aside, there are events on Williams campus, nearly every day. Take a look at a current schedule: Williams</a> College :: At Williams And, check other weeks in the academic year.</p>

<p>I know Williamstown primarily as a tourist for many years. So, if you're interested in art, there's MassMoca & the Clark, plus WCMA on campus. In the summer (should you be on campus doing research or working) there's the Williamstown Theatre Festival. If one had access to a car, there are side trips to Vermont and other places in the Berkshires, including Tanglewood in the summer. There are other summer theatre and dance festivals in Lenox, Stockbridge, & Lee.</p>

<p>The other opportunities on campus come from extra-curricular activities, be it sports, the student newspaper, college council, clubs, performance groups, etc.</p>

<p>As for drinking, from my son's perspective, when compared with his friends at a wide range of campuses, Williams doesn't sound much different. It might be more evident on a small residential campus, than on a larger campus, where more students might also be living off campus and drinking occurs more there, off campus. I have heard locals complain about drunken Harvard students. But, the same is true of Williams, and other campuses.</p>

<p>One thing to consider is how much time will you have to do all the things you want to do, both academically and socially.</p>

<p>So Williams has tried to do things like 'Williams After Dark' which has events like soap-making, cooking lessons, and other activities that don't involve alcohol. However, the weekend social scene is dominated by drinking/drinking games. As someone who enjoys drinking but not being drunk, and who'd rather sit down and have a fun conversation with some people than dance in a loud, beer soaked room, I find the social scene to be severely limited. That being said, you can always make friends who'll provide you with a good social scene - I know lots of people who have. Just don't expect the campus events/parties/social events (Williams After Dark excepted) to revolve around anything other than alcohol.</p>

<p>Wow. I thought I'd keep the parents out, but my S finds many things to do that aren't alcohol related. For example, he's acted in plays and rehearsals are often at night as are performances. And then the cast socializes.</p>

<p>Same with group that meets and watches movies.</p>

<p>He has yet to get through one beer and is very happy at Williams.</p>

<p>ephorcrimson - I think you would be surprised at how many varsity athletes at Williams do not have "the 'stereotypical athlete' personality." Assuming you are referring to a beer-swilling, meathead type, I'm sure there are a few of that variety, but Harvard has a few of those, too. Most of the athletes I'm familiar with (including my son), are very, very serious students who have interests beyond their sport, including the arts, politics, community service. As I've said before, it's not like high school or even a big state U. where athletes don't necessarily fit into the academic scene. </p>

<p>Have you talked to the team members of the team you would be joining? They might be your best source of information that would tell you if you would be comfortable there.</p>

<p>Although it is a little dated, I explain here why most students who are excepted to Harvard and Williams would be better off at Williams.</p>

<p>Choose</a> Williams over Harvard : EphBlog</p>

<p>Note that the student mentioned, Julia Sendor, ended up at Williams and was very pleased with her decision.</p>

<p>"Assuming you are referring to a beer-swilling, meathead type, I'm sure there are a few of that variety [at Williams]"</p>

<p>Just a few? Really? </p>

<p>I rowed my freshman year at Williams: I know exactly what the relationship between social life and athletics consists in, and it involves far more than a few beer-swilling meatheads.</p>

<p>From the perspective of diverse social opportunities that aren't on the extremes of either getting wasted at a loud party or knitting in the student center, Harvard will be much, much better than Williams. But you know that.</p>

<p>person5923 - I don't disagree that there are lots of athletes who drink beer. It's the "meathead" quality that I don't think is so prevalent.</p>

<p>Well, when the people tasked with maintaining college grounds and facilities make a point of showing up at Claiming Williams events to voice their dissatisfaction with the routine destruction/defacement of college property and the lack of personal responsibility students exercise in not cleaning up after their own drunken messes, it seems the word "meathead" might apply as well as any other, given that the worst behavior is usually attributable, even by coaches, to the members of various sports teams.</p>

<p>If you read my post, I have not disagreed with you that there is an element of the meathead type of behavior you describe, but from my source, I think it originates from a couple of sports, but not most of them. My issue with your posts is that you're painting it as a much more widespread problem than I understand it to be. The building and grounds maintenance crew is justifiably angry at the destructive behavior you described, as is, I suspect, every student except for the ones committing those destructive acts. Should something be done to curtail such behavior? I think so. But I think it's insulting and inaccurate for you to paint all, or even most, athletes with such a broad brush.</p>

I have to wonder what your goal is. Do you want to drive people to other colleges? Not to be cynical, but do you have any connections to Harvard or some other reason you want to drive away Freshman applicants to Williams?</p>

<p>Of course I am totally not disputing that Williams was not a good place for you. Only you can know what is good for you. And certainly no college is going to work for everyone; and it is disappointing when the college we hoped would be amazing, turns out not to be.</p>

<p>But how on earth can you assert that "Harvard will be much, much better than Williams?" Of course, it may, but how on earth do you know that? I myself have attended six different universities in the course of my education (BA, two masters, including overseas), and I can tell you that, even though I've actually ATTENDED the colleges, I would never, ever, say X college would be "much better" socially than Y college. That's preposterous. Every person is different; every person has his/her unique strengths and weaknesses, likes and dislikes. Then there are majors, interests, locales, and time periods. </p>

<p>YOu cannot POSSIBLY know what would be good for people at Williams, and it is equally preposterous for you to pretend to know what other colleges like Harvard are like, unless you've actually gone there as an undergraduate. Then it's your own personal experience. I'm sorry your own experience has been that socially there's getting drunk or knitting, but perhaps you might also turn some of your bitterness and bad experiences to some positive change if you really feel the college needs changing; this comes one person at a time.</p>

<p>Hoveringmom, I have no agenda other than informing people of certain things about Williams that in my experience did not come as advertised--not in admissions materials, not during Previews (which are timed to avoid the weekend scene). While I have studied at Harvard for a summer, I don't have any special attachments to the place. In fact, I think it reeks of entitlement and hubris, and it shows in Harvard's imperious relationship with its low-wage employees, whom it sees as disposable, and with the residents of Cambridge.</p>

<p>Anyway, I did <em>not</em> make the unqualified statement that Harvard is much better than Williams. That comment was confined only to the diversity of social opportunities. Almost everyone would allow that Williams has extremely limited social opportunities as compared with a large, leading university in a major city. If, however, the social opportunities at Williams, looked at with an eye for positives and negatives, do not seem limiting, personally, to a prospective student, then of course that would be a point in Williams' favor.</p>

<p>I'm a Williams alum (of a few years) who participated in two Varsity sports teams as well as a TON of music groups.</p>

<p>I hung out mostly with my music friends, and our version of "partying" involved playing Apples To Apples or singing along to Disney movies. Those of us who drank (me included) did so alongside the non-drinkers, and somehow everyone still had a good time.</p>

<p>Most social events involve alcohol. That's (unfortunately) the nature of all colleges.</p>

<p>Williams has plenty of social things to do that don't involve alcohol. But there are not many all-campus non alcoholic events after 10 on Friday or Saturday. There are plenty of shows at 7 and 8, though.</p>