Bubbly, friendly, enthusiastic Jenna Starr ’15 is proud of her visibility on campus. While the semester winds down, senior class president Starr has been busy planning senior week. The English and psychology double major sat down with The Argus to talk about baby pigs, school spirit, and why transferring to Wesleyan was the smartest thing she’s ever done.
The Argus: What makes you a WesCeleb?
Jenna Starr: I guess you could say I’m pretty visible at Wesleyan. It’s the fact that I do so much on campus. People don’t really have a choice. They have to interact with me! I work for ResLife, I was on the WSA and the SBC, and I’m senior class president. Plus, I send out tons of emails and Facebook invites to events, so people readily recognize my name. People know I have a lot of access to resources, so they know they can ask me anything.
A: Can you describe your job as senior class president?
JS: My goal was to bring back the excitement to the position that it lost after senior cocktails was no longer a thing. Currently, I’m planning lots of events for the class of 2015. It means we’re going out with a bang!
A: What’s your favorite event that you’ve been planning?
JS: I’m so excited for April 27. That’s the Baby Animal Petting Zoo Day. The senior officers are putting it on, and originally it was meant to be for just seniors. But we just couldn’t deprive the rest of the school from the cuteness of baby pigs! So we opened the event up to everyone. I’m really looking forward to it. Five hundred people have RSVP’d yes, which is very encouraging.
A: You love animals, right? I hear you’ve got a horse somewhere around here!
JS: My one regret is not being allowed to bring my horse on campus. Harley’s only five minutes away and I want people to meet him. He’s my BFF.
A: When did you start getting involved with riding horses?
JS: I did it a lot when I was younger. Harley was actually my sister’s horse, but when she went abroad to Australia, I ended up keeping him here, and she ended up letting me keep him. It’s a lot of responsibility and quite a time commitment—you have to spend at least two hours there—but when I’m stressed out, I can just groom him and talk to him. He’s my bestie. And it’s so nice to take people off-campus to visit him. It’s really fun. I smell like horse a lot and have a ton of horse hair all over my clothes because of it, but that’s fine.
A: What does he look like?
JS: He’s all black and the biggest horse in the barn. He’s definitely a gentle giant. And he’s my age. He’s 21.
A: You’re graduating very soon! What did you major in?
JS: English and psychology. I began pursuing these at New York University, but I transferred to Wesleyan to complete my education.
A: What made you decide to transfer?
JS: NYU is a great school, it’s just not for me. My identical twin at Brandeis had an amazing freshman year, and I was at NYU not really killing it as much as I could have been. I needed to find a space where I could blossom in a similar way to my twin. I was between Vassar and Wesleyan. I was supposed to go to both schools in one day to compare, and I came to Wesleyan, but I never went to Vassar. It was because I met some amazing students, it was a nice sunny day, and I just felt that this was where I wanted to be. I do not regret it at all. The people here are awesome. I feel like I can [be] involved, and I have my space here. The fact that people know who I am makes me really happy, because that’s all I wanted out of my college experience. I’m just very happy how things turned out, but I have to admit I’m still sad that I got one year less here than most other people. But it’s okay, I made the most of it.
A: Any advice for transfer students?
JS: Keep on introducing yourself to people. So many people are receptive to transfer students. But be patient. Every semester it gets better. Also, don’t just hang out with the safe group of transfer kids you already know; reach out to others. At the same time, though, don’t forget the transfers, because they know what you’re going through and are great people, too.
A: What are you planning on doing after graduation?
JS: It’s still up in the air. I applied to a few jobs, and I’m still waiting to hear back. TBD. If I don’t get a job, I’ll end up being a can-can dancer or owning a bulldog farm. I love bulldogs. I love them so much.
A: Where are you from?
JS: New York. Here, I appreciate the distance because it helped me become more independent, but at the same time I definitely appreciate my family, especially my identical twin, Rachel, for helping me get to where I am today.
A: What’s it like being an identical twin?
JS: We shared a room and everything, but we are totally different. I always wanted to show people how different we were, because everyone would always assume that we are exactly the same. I didn’t want to go to Brandeis because Rachel went there, and I wanted to find my own place where I can shine. It pushes me to be myself because it shows me that I’m not exactly like her. We’ve gotten closer these past few years because we’re each doing our own thing. And it’s kind of nice. I have a built-in best friend!
A: Is there anything you would change about your Wes experience?
JS: I think that Wesleyan is great in that students want to do a million different things, but with that comes a pressure to do a million different things. Wesleyan students are awesome in that we’re so passionate and driven, but I wish there was an understanding that it’s okay to do less than others and that everyone is overwhelmed. It’s okay to take care of yourself. That’s something I wish I had been more tuned into.
A: What’s your favorite class that you’ve taken at Wesleyan?
JS: My first class ever was Prison Outreach Through Theatre with Professor Ronald Jenkins, and that will always be my favorite class, because we went to a prison and taught the inmates Shakespeare. I just remember signing up for class and thinking, “Oh my God, this is a class that’s offered at Wesleyan?!” It got me very excited.
A: Who is your favorite Disney princess?
JS: I love Cinderella! I know a lot of people have issues with how Disney princesses are portrayed and everything, and I totally respect that, but I still love Disney and I still love Cinderella. She was always my favorite because I haven’t had the best family dynamic, so I totally identified with her for that. Also, my favorite color is blue, which is a huge reason why she’s my favorite. Plus, she loves animals. She’s my girl. I really want to get a quote from Disney’s “Cinderella” as a tattoo, but I haven’t yet because I have a rule that I have to wait a year between tattoos before I can get another one.
A: Can you tell me more about the tattoo you already have?
JS: Sure! So freshman year at NYU was sort of low point for me, and when I got to Wesleyan, it was the second chance I wanted. I never want to fall back into the place I was mentally at NYU, so as a reminder I got a tattoo that says “Love Yourself” on my wrist. It’s important to take care of yourself first. It just represents something important to me. Sometimes people ask me why it faces out instead of toward me on my wrist, but the thing is, I know what it says. I think that making it easy to read for others will help them too. I really love people and I just want to help them.
A: Give me a fun fact about your room at Wes.
JS: I’ve got a Wesleyan bucket list hanging in my room of all the things that I want to do before I graduate. Some of the things on the list I’ve already completed. But to give you some examples of things that were on the list, I put sledding on Foss, attending a poetry slam, go out more, go to more sports games, and being in a dance performance and plays. I also want to do the primal scream and pop champagne on Olin. Lots of different stuff but I’m checking off my list. I’m taking it very seriously. If anyone has any ideas, hit me up.
A: Any final comments?
JS: If you want to be my friend, reach out to me. If you have any questions about the upcoming events, hit me up. If you like my body, you should WesCam me. Plus, I really, really appreciate this because the fact that I started here as a transfer student and am now being interviewed as a WesCeleb shows how far I’ve come. Some people might think it’s silly, but to me it means the world. So thank you very much.
This interview has been edited for length.