Hendrix College - Comments and Student Experiences|
Academically, I hardly felt challenged by the workload here. Perhaps this can be attributed to the fact that I went to an excellent high school that prepared me well for college, but the only reason I didn't graduate with perfect grades was because I was constantly battling depression and anxiety issues that stemmed from the social climate that I described above. My last semester there, when I wasn't having as many anxiety/depression issues, I easily made a 4.0. Lastly, and this is very important if you're like me and semester study abroad is a #1 priority for you in college - the program/office here is not developed much at all (and small liberal arts schools can have robust and wonderful abroad programs all over the world - just look at Middlebury). There are not that many program options for you that are supported by the school if you want to study outside of Europe (as I did). The summer programs are good and of course there is the Odyssey program (but those are generally during the summer or during the Winter break), but as for semester or year study abroad outside of Europe, it's like Hendrix doesn't know how to deal with it, and the programs that they do offer are very low-quality (I went on one of them and had an awful time, as much as it pains me to say it). I have no idea if they're trying to improve this or not, but it's just something to keep in mind if you're serious about studying abroad for a semester or a year.
The advantages of the small class sizes outweigh the disadvantages. The smaller class sizes allow for more discussion and collaboration (and creativity). Teachers are very accessible and have time to grade your work and give you appropriate feedback. This actually makes the academics more rigorous than at a large university because more is asked of you. In essence, you don't simply learn facts; you learn how to think and effectively communicate your thoughts. At a large university where each of your classes has hundreds of students, you aren't asked more than what can be read by a machine and assigned a grade quickly. Also, teachers at Hendrix can write you letters of recommendations even after freshman year because they come to know you as a student through examination of your work and discussions with you in class and during office hours; it's hard to be just a number here. My teachers at Hendrix are all very qualified, intelligent, and genuine. It makes a huge difference in my learning experience to be taught by people whom I look up to.
It's no secret that Arkansas is mostly a conservative state, and most people in my tiny hometown view Hendrix as a "liberal party school," but the truth is that unlike many small homogeneous towns in Arkansas, people at Hendrix don't all think and act the same way. My friends here are from all over the country and all over the world. They of varying religions, races, sexual orientation, and political stances. The diversity often fosters insightful conversations.
Hendrix students tend to be nerdy and quirky. We study hard during the week and let loose on the weekends.
There's usually a party happening on or around campus on weekends, and I don't think it's not something to be looked down upon. Conway is thirty minutes from Little Rock (Arkansas's capital), and it's much safer for college students to party on campus than it is for them to take trips (and risk driving inebriated) to party off campus. At the same time, it's easy to steer clear of the party scenes if you're not into that kind of thing. I fall into the latter group, and it wasn't difficult for me to find a big group of great friends who don't drink and party.
The Hendrix campus is very beautiful, which makes a walk through campus a pleasant experience during any season. There are tons of squirrels that climb the abundant trees and other plentiful vegetation. The beautiful buildings are a mixture of new and old with a uniform architecture characterized by signature archways. The buildings are pretty close together, making the physical campus size rather small. Consequently, it a less-than-five-minute walk from point A to point B anywhere on campus. You really appreciate this when your friends at state universities are complaining about walking half a mile or more between classes.
The Hendrix dining hall is one of my favorite places on campus. The long rows of connected dining tables (which resemble the setup at Hogwarts) make it hard to eat alone; mealtimes are often a social event. The lunch ladies are some of the friendlies people who take the time to learn your name, and the food is some of the best university food there is. On Saturday nights when the dining hall is closed, I walk across the street where there is a Panera Bread, Purple Cow, and sushi restaurant.
Conway isn't the most exciting city, but it's safe and has a nice movie theatre, some shops, and plenty of good restaurants. Also, as mentioned earlier, Little Rock, where there are plenty of opportunities for entertainment and internships, is only a half hour drive away.I highly encourage visiting campus. Many of my out-of-state friends say that because Hendrix is in lame ole Arkansas, they never would have considered Hendrix if they hadn't visited, but this college is truly a hidden gem. To understand the magic of this place, you must see it for yourself.
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