Editor’s note: This article was initially published in The Daily Gazette, Swarthmore’s online, daily newspaper founded in Fall 1996. As of Fall 2018, the DG has merged with The Phoenix. See the about page to read more about the DG.
Every year, the Daily Gazette interviews a member of the newest class. This year, we caught up with Nemo Swift ’11
DG: Nemo, why don’t you tell me a little bit about home?
NS: So I’m from Sebastopole, California, a little town an hour north of San Francisco. It’s distinguished by being one of only three municipalities in America with a Green Party majority on the town council. It’s a little activist community and the climate is very habitable.
DG: How do you find the weather around here compares?
NS: Well, I haven’t had much East Coast experience with summer before this past summer. It’s humid and that’s certainly an appreciable change. I like the idea of no weather bothering me, but I do find myself a little bothered by the humidity. The greenness is a novelty. California turns gold in the summer; all the grass goes yellow.
DG: How about Swarthmore itself? Why did you choose to come here?
NS: I probably heard about it on the basis of linguistics. Studying a different language in high school I found myself very interested in expressing sound, which led me to learn about the international phonetic alphabet. When I study linguistics, I feel like my brain is just living carefree. I feel on fire when working with phonology. I’m interested in doing close technical work mostly. There’s just an excellent flavor that phonology has. Everything else went along with that. Also, the way people behave here seems familiar to me, more similar to my way of thinking.
DG: What were your first impressions of this place last week, then?
NS: I got here late Monday night, two students came and got me from the airport. I brought my bags up to Mertz 338, put my stuff away, and slept. When I woke up, I felt- well, I have friends at other schools, especially one at Brown, and he said at school he finds people like him and closes himself away and converses with them. Here I feel if I find good conversation, it’s limitless. I want to interact with everything, otherwise I feel like I’m cheating myself.
DG: Do you feel things have changed since you first got here? Orientation is only a week, but it can seem like a long time.
NS: It definitely feels more like my home. I feel quite a connection with all of my freshman hallmates. My spatial, practical situation is something I never had. I never had siblings, never cohabitated with people my own age. Now, you’re not going to get me to admit that these new people are my siblings, but they’re certainly closer than anything I’ve had before. There’s something here that feels massive now because there’s so much here and so much to do. I feel nervous and anxious, but it’s a positive reaction and I’m very eager for the future.
Welcome to Swarthmore, Nemo.