One of Thirteen - Devin Forgue 19F
HAMPSHIRE COLLEGE - Studying International Relations, Devin Forgue 19F is one of the thirteen first year students admitted to the fall 2019 class at Hampshire College. We are fortunate to have the opportunity to interview Forgue and feature his story showing the experience and story of a first year student at Hampshire during this time. This one student from Belchertown, Massachusetts is not afraid of Hampshire and here's why.
Where are you from and what is your concentration?
I’m from Belchertown, Massachusetts and I’m primarily studying classes that encompass the scope of international relations. I knew the general direction I wanted to go which was international relations, anthropology, history and political science.
What made you interested in International Relations?
I’ve found myself to be incredibly intrigued by the workings of international systems. I love history and have always enjoyed reading documents that concern international political affairs. Although this may be off topic, I’m just as passionate about International Relations as I am the topic of space, but I’ve chosen International Relations as my area of study because I believe that Astronomy, and many areas of study and research alike, are often bound to international systems and hit roadblocks concerning general resource, monetary and allocation. Maybe someday I’ll learn how to, and be able to, make some of these obstacles less present in the pursuit of expanding our knowledge.
What class did you take last fall semester?
I am currently taking four Hampshire classes, I enjoyed all of them a bunch, way more than I could have anticipated. I’ve been able to learn more, in one semester, than I ever thought I could have learned in a semester. As long as I’m learning and challenging myself, and getting a moderate amount of sleep, I’m a very happy fellow. I think that should be my motto.
Why did you choose to come to Hampshire?
The most appealing thing to me about Hampshire was the educational model and the way you can passionately pursue what you want and take the risks that you might not be able to take in other educational structures.
How have you enjoyed Hampshire so far?
It’s been great! I have been able to push myself academically in ways I didn’t think was possible and I‘ve had constant support in doing so. This challenge spans from professors to interactions with students.
What was orientation like?
If I remember correctly, it was three or for days long. There was a lot of discussion about resources on campus to help us get through the year like support lines and general rules of campus. We were introduced to our advisor and all given the opportunity to learn about each other, albeit in an environment telling you to learn about each other, it’s a little weird, but it worked. A lot of first years are pretty close. We were also fed pretty nicely. At the Dining Commons during breakfast, I remember going up for fourths every morning. I didn’t think I could eat that much.
What was going on in your head when first coming to Hampshire?
I wonder what type of person or people the other first years are because knowing what was happening at Hampshire and still deciding to attend, there’s got to be some sort of pattern or reason for that. I was curious to learn some of their reasons, if I was able. I can say that from my experience, all of the first year students are very passionate about learning and have very, very cool interests and I enjoy talking with them about their interests.
Did you have a tutorial?
This year we didn’t have tutorials. From what I remember, it may have something to do to the fact we were confirmed late in the game. So they didn’t have time to make a tutorial. I’m sure there are other reasons, but that’s what I’ve heard through the grapevine.
What is it like being in a class of thirteen students?
I’ve had people in the middle of class sometimes say, “you’re a first year?” followed by several heads that turn and jaws drop. “You’re one of the risk takers!” There are a bunch of nicknames we’ve been called. It usually passes really quickly though. As a student, I feel like I’m just another student normally attending. Knowing I’m one of the thirteen that had the privilege to attend Hampshire, it’s something I do think about quite often. And I’ve always wondered what it was like for people last Spring during the uncertainty. A lot of people say, "you must be taking a risk and you must be worried?” I visited campus four times and got to visit the President's Office where students were sitting. That was admirable to see the extent in which students and faculty took up working to help the college maintain an operating pace. I offered to bring in food, but then a few days later, President Nelson stepped down and I didn’t get the chance. I guess I’ll add that back to my bucket list of things to do.
What was your take on the protests last spring?
I supported the students. I thought, a very large extent of what they were advocating for seemed more than valid. I thought that their opinions and emotions shown through the efforts they put forth. That’s something that can draw a lot of people. I was one of them. There were some straggling opinions that weren’t the main ones that I thought could be argued and in some cases I think emotion took priority in those augments. In general, I supported a large amount of their arguments and would’ve stood on their side. I can’t be more thankful to the students and faculty.
Favorite part about Hampshire?
I don't think I have a favorite thing about Hampshire College. There are a lot of things about Hampshire College that I’m thankful for. For instance, being able to take part in the community. Right now I am a student representative for CSI. That’s a new development, but I’ve enjoyed it so far. I’ve also enjoyed learning from my mistakes and getting feedback from professors. Also, having ideas that I put out respectfully pushed back, so I have to engage in discussion, is something that I’ve found to be really exciting. I also can’t ignore the salads. My favorite one, so far, is the Italian one with the peppers, olives, mixed greens, and chicken.
Do you miss living on the campus?
My choosing to commute has been an ongoing discussion until a week ago. I chose it because it was presented as an option to me that would save money. It was right before school started that it was confirmed I could live off campus. Although it was initially my intent to live on campus for second semester, due to my daily schedule, it seems more logical to live off campus for now.
Do you wonder about what graduation will be like?
I was laughing about the idea, not in a bad way though. The prospect of having some sort of celebration that most colleges might have, that Hampshire has had, for a few dozen people, is something that I haven't seen myself and I found fun to think about.
Where do you see Hampshire in the next 50 years?
When I think about where Hampshire will be in fifty years, I often find myself thinking about where other colleges will be in 50 years. There might be more of a bend toward liberals arts teachings, in which case Hampshire might start to look less of a separate institution in its methods, or they may bend away from liberal arts. In general, I don’t know where Hampshire will be in 50 years. I hope, like many others, that it’s operational, preferably thriving, and continuing helping students explore the fields they want to explore, and maybe still introducing them to new things and new ways of thinking. Only time will tell.
Are you ready for winter break?
I’m so ready! I have a lot to look forward to. The second half will mostly be work, though. I currently work in the Financial Aid Office and I’ll be working starting January during break from 9pm to 4pm. It keeps me on my toes and keeps me from sleeping in too much, so my schedule won’t get super “out of whack” before next semester. But it’s going to also keep me busy during break. I’ll have my financial aid, my martial arts training, and as much sleep as I can fit in between the two; that sounds like a nice break. My family is a little spread out, but mostly find their way into this area during this part of the year. I’ll be able to see the majority of my family, for which I’m very thankful to have the privilege of.
What would you want to tell first year students coming next year?
You know the saying, “you get out what you put in?” That applies to Hampshire, but on the extreme. So you may have the opportunity to put a lot less in and get very little, but you’ll definitely have the opportunity to put in the effort to challenge yourself. If you let the model work by putting in the effort, you will be challenged and pushed out of your comfort zone. In turn, you will learn a lot.
Update: At the time of this interview, only thirteen first years were enrolled for fall 2019. As of January 23rd, Hampshire enrolled more students for Spring 2020 that are not reflected in this article. We only know thirteen first year students were enrolled last semester since the college has not announced the spring enrollment numbers.