Education Without Boundaries
From his blue fingernail polish to his role as the captain of the Goucher Pyrate Alliance, it's obvious that Eli Cohen enjoys being different. And at Goucher that's OK. Cohen says the college's community encourages students to figure out who they are and embraces their unique characteristics.
"If you have an interest, there will be a way for you to pursue it here. Whatever box you think you fit into in high school has no meaning here. If you thought of yourself as a nerd, or a punk, or whatever, those labels don't have power at Goucher," Cohen says.
In high school, Cohen knew he wanted to attend a small, liberal arts school, but he was overwhelmed with options. Goucher, however, stood out from the pack because it "just seemed to be a little bit better at a lot of things," he says.
He felt that, at Goucher, the people seemed friendlier; the student-to-faculty ratio was better; the study-abroad program had more options, and there seemed to be so much to do.
In high school, Cohen had a casual interest in theatre. He figured he would have to give that up in college because it wasn't going to be his major. But he not only has acted in several productions at Goucher, he has also directed and performed in pieces that appeared in the first-year class production.
"It's nice that there are opportunities for people who want to be in main-stage productions at Goucher who aren't theater majors," Cohen says. "There are also smaller productions that are more manageable for people who have less time."
Cohen also joined the Goucher Pyrate Alliance. The group sells baked goods while dressed in pirate garb to raise money for trips to the Maryland Renaissance Festival and for its annual pig roast, which is open to all students. Cohen serves as a guitarist and singer in the group's band, which performs sea shanties and Irish folk music.
"We're a goofy bunch," Cohen says. "That's one of the things that I like about Goucher -- there are a lot of wacky people. Of course, not everyone feels like they have to be part of a wacky group, but people do accept that these groups exist, and everyone lets each other do their thing."
Cohen was chosen to serve as a member of Goucher's Orientation Committee, which helps to welcome new students to campus throughout the summer.
"I like being approachable, and I like answering people's questions," Cohen says. "If I can help someone out, I'm glad to do it."
Cohen was also one of the sophomores who were chosen to write a blog on Goucher's website about their experiences during their first year here and share advice with new students.
"I really try to pick things that apply early on rather than talking about finals week or stuff like that," Cohen says. "I'm trying to stick with topics that will seem relevant, and I try to talk about things that students may have concerns about. There is no issue that addresses everyone, so I try to pick issues that are at least somewhat universal."