The Scarlet

Are Clarkies Happier?

Students Comment on Clark’s Top Ratings

Maura Weil ‘19 Marie Brouillette ‘19

Maura Weil ‘19 Marie Brouillette ‘19

Jay Sundar Rajan '20

Jay Sundar Rajan '20

Maura Weil ‘19 Marie Brouillette ‘19

Erik Boquist, Contributing Writer

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As you walk around Clark University’s campus, you might have noticed the lack of a majestic cityscape or roaring crowds from a giant 50,000-person stadium. Instead, you are met with a rundown post-industrial landscape, rugged New England weather, and the loudest roar you will hear comes from a Harley motorcycle on Maywood St. at 2am.

Seemingly, Clark University is just another small New England research university, home to a couple thousand academically-inclined, introverted, liberal-arts savvy students. But that’s where you would be wrong; Clark’s libraries, dorms, and graduation ceremonies are not just filled with accomplished academics like all the other exemplary New England universities, but they are also filled with some of the happiest students in the higher education world.

Clark University ranks higher than 366 of the United States’ top colleges in this year’s “Happiest Students” list, beat out only by Brown University and sixteen others.

According to the 2019 Princeton Review, Clark ranks 18 out of 384 of the top schools in the country for “Happiest Students.” This ranking joins the likes of Clark’s other accolades for the year, such as being named the 66th best university in the country by US News & World Report and ranked the 7th “Best Small University in the World,” by Times Higher Education.

The Princeton Review determines the list of “happiest colleges” based on how strongly students agree or disagree with the statement, “I am happy at my school.” On average, the review surveyed 359 students per college campus.

When told this, Clark student Albert Hurley (‘21) laughed, “What? How? I thought we were all sad.”

While Clark’s lackadaisical campus scene may seem boring compared to popular media portrayals of college life, the data suggests otherwise.

In addition, Worcester (compared to other cities) does not boast an extensive bar scene or cohesive college town feel. However, what Clark and Worcester lack in amenities and events that are typically synonymous with the quintessential “fun” college experience, Clarkies match with their lack of expectations.

Hurley added onto his initial comment with the hypothesis that Clark students’ willingness to just say yes to new experiences is related to campus happiness. “Like if you ask anybody to do something, they will usually answer with, ‘sure I guess,’” Hurley pointed out.  

This go-with-the-flow attitude accompanied by a lack of expectations might just be the cause for Clark’s student body feeling more content than students at other universities.

Heather Riesenberg (‘19), a first-generation philosophy major, said, “I was pleasantly surprised by college…I didn’t have that many expectations in general because I didn’t think about it [and] my parents never went to college.”

For some students like Brandon Mooney (‘19), expectations, especially for nightlife, were much higher.

Brandon explains that his initial expectations were“crazy house parties, people jumping off roofs, and everything else you see on [social media].” However, Brandon went on to explain his ever-growing “love/hate relationship with Clark parties” with each passing year. He said he finds Clark’s parties to be predictable: “everyone you party with, you’ve partied with before so you know everyone… So sure the parties aren’t like ‘woo’ ‘fun’ ‘yeah,’ but you have connections and know everyone there.”

So regardless of some Clarkies original expectations, a friendly, familiar, and united atmosphere seems to provide a conducive environment to a happy and fulfilled college experience.

Clark remains one of the only schools to be ranked top 70 best colleges by US News & World Report and “Top 20 Happiest Students,” a feat 7 out of 8 Ivy League colleges and so many other top colleges have failed to do.

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Are Clarkies Happier?