The NESCAC is brimming with talented student-athletes and the "Friday Feature" is a way for fans to get to know them throughout the academic year. The conference introduces Connecticut College's Christian Whitaker, a men's track & field student-athlete who studied abroad in South Africa.
Christian Whitaker, Connecticut College
Senior, Men's Track & Field
Dolton, Ill./Mount Carmel High School
Major: Psychology (Pre-Med)
Why did you choose to attend Connecticut College?
I chose to attend Connecticut College because I really liked the small school feeling (my high school had 700-800 students), the Office of Career and Professional Development, and the study abroad programs. In addition, Connecticut College seemed like the perfect place to immerse myself in a new environment that created exciting life experiences while attaining a great education. The Office of Career and Professional Development really stood out to me because of how well they worked to keep an open connection between the college and its alumni to bridge a path between students and the professional world. The workshops on resume writing, internships, interviews, etc. were all aspects I felt were important in my college career.
What is your dream job/career? Why?
My dream job would be to be an astronaut. Space has always captured my attention because of how vast and mysterious it is. I would love to experience traveling to space first-hand.
What has been the greatest part of your college experience so far?
The greatest part of my college experience occurred when I was camping in South Africa while abroad. It was early in the morning and I was looking in between a lake and vineyard to my left and a mountain to my right. I remember thinking "wow this place is absolutely beautiful." While most of my friends were back in the city, I was experiencing a different part of the world abroad. And in that moment, I appreciated everything that led me to this point and it made me believe I had made the right decision.
What are three top things on your bucket list?
1) Travel to every country in the world (I'd be happy traveling to 90% of them though)
2) Go bungee jumping (I've been procrastinating on this because I'm absolutely terrified of free falling)
3) Build my own self-designed house (I've already designed it)
What has been your favorite class outside of your major? Why?
Rather than a class, my favorite subject outside of psychology is philosophy because of how it challenges me to think. Thinking in a philosophical way takes practice. Although I'm not the best in the class, I thoroughly enjoy the challenge of trying to think outside the box.
Have you studied abroad during your collegiate experience? If so, where and what did you study there?
I studied abroad during the spring semester of my junior year. I traveled with six other Connecticut College students and a professor to Stellenbosh, South Africa. While there, I studied business ethics, apartheid, consumer behavior, and organizational behavior.
What has been the most interesting part of your major so far?
I love learning about the brain and all it can do. It never ceases to amaze me how people individually develop, and when we have shortcomings, our brains wire, or rewire, to operate in such a way to compensate.
What is the best gift you have ever received or gave? Why?
The best gift I ever received was a trip to Costa Rica my grandmother paid for during spring break my junior year of high school. I consider it the best gift I ever received because that experience opened my eyes to the world outside of Dolton (a suburb of Chicago) and Chicago. It was also my first time leaving the country. It made me think of attending colleges outside of Illinois as well.
What is something others might not know about you?
I LOVE to bowl. I grew up bowling in Saturday morning leagues since I was eight years old. Both of my parents are also bowlers. I was a competitive bowler all the way through high school, and have plans of joining another league when I graduate. Many people are shocked when I tell them I like to bowl, but because I grew up around it my entire life, it is something I continue to enjoy.
What is your favorite place on your campus and why?
My favorite place on campus is in front of Blaustein, on top of the green, and facing to the west toward the sunset. I love watching the sunset here because the sky turns to a mixture of red, yellow, orange, and purple. The ground, trees, and church darken in contrast to the sky and becomes one of the most beautiful scenes I have ever seen for a sunset. Watching the sunset here always brings me a sense of serenity.