My Experience At Williams College

By Chloe Brown

(The second part in the series of an insider's account of her college admissions process and college life)

My time at Williams was exactly what I wanted it to be, even though it wasn’t what I necessarily expected it to be. But that’s a large part of what makes college so exciting—it’s exactly the sort of place where you’re supposed to surprise yourself, push your own limits, and be inspired by things you didn’t even know about. When I came to Williams, I was certain I would be an English major, learn French, and continue singing classically as I had throughout high school. Everyone else changed their minds and majors, I had heard, but I would be different. I knew what I wanted.

 Now, here is what actually happened: two weeks before my freshman fall, I transferred on a whim from French to Arabic. I got into a sketch comedy group that conflicted with choir rehearsals, and ultimately picked the former. This lead to other acting projects, and eventually I began writing my own plays. I was in an a cappella group all four years, so I still got to keep singing. After a year and a half of Arabic, I got a grant to fund a project on gender roles in Sana’a, Yemen. The next year, I spent a semester in Alexandria, Egypt, and the following summer, I went to Middlebury’s summer language intensive. I wrote for the school paper and the literary journal, and was Editor in Chief of the academic journal. My senior year, I wrote an honors thesis entitled “Graphic Violence: Representations of Terrorism in Contemporary American and Palestinian Cinema.”


The things that were important to me, like stories, languages, and the arts, were all a huge part of my college experience, but I ended up pursuing them in very different ways than I intended. I believe everyone’s college experience should be about being affected by what’s around them. It’s good to come in with a sense of what you’re interested in, but allow the things and people that inspire you to take you off your set course. For me, Williams was the perfect place to do this. My professors were amazing and accessible, and were just as happy to meet me in the local coffee shop to discuss anything I was passionate about as they were to go over edits for a paper. Furthermore, I was surrounded by brilliant, interesting people my own age that inspired me and turned me onto things I’d never heard of before. Since the school was so small and rural, it really created a sense of community.  I honestly can’t imagine having gone anywhere else.