Conway, AR: I recently visited Hendrix College in Conway, Arkansas, a town of 40,000 located 30 miles from Little Rock. Conway is home to 11,000 college students who attend University of Central Arkansas, Central Baptist College and Hendrix.
Hendrix is a small liberal-arts college with an enormous sense of community. It has a small campus, so all the students know each other and their professors. There are many interesting traditions that come with being a Hendrix student. For example, on your birthday the dining hall staff bake you a cake and present it while the whole cafeteria sings "Happy Birthday."
Another tradition is the freshman orientation trip. Freshmen arrive on campus two weeks before school and select a trip - rock climbing and spelunking for the outdoorsy type, or Habitat for Humanity and even Memphis for the not-so-outdoorsy people. This allows freshmen to get acquainted before classes start and makes things a little less overwhelming.
Besides the unique traditions, the beauty of the campus overwhelmed me. All the buildings are brick with tons of windows. The landscaping was amazing, and even on a rainy day, it was gorgeous. They have unusual pecan courts throughout the campus.
I also had the opportunity to sit in on a class. I chose a psychology class, and even as a junior in high school, I was totally immersed in the class. Although it was an upper-level course, it was extremely laid-back. I was impressed that the professor knew the students' names and was so enthused about what she was teaching that there was no way not to enjoy the class.
Like many other colleges and universities, freshman must live in the residence halls their first year, but at Hendrix the majority of students live on campus anyway. They say it keeps them involved, which is exceedingly important to everyone. In fact, most social activities occur on campus.
I really enjoyed visiting Hendrix, and encourage anyone interested in a liberal-arts education to look into this great school.
Reviewed in 2003
This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.