University of Alabama
BackgroundInterview Date:April 2018
Gender Identity: Male
Sexual Orientation: Heterosexual
Graduation Year: 2019
High School Experience: Public school in Chappaqua, NY with a graduating class of 450 students.
Major: Marketing with a specialization in Sales
Extracurricular Activities: Participates in Hillel. Part of a fraternity and is part of different committees within the fraternity. Volunteers at food centers in Tuscaloosa.
Can you describe your weekly coursework for your major?
It’s usually just going through different consumer activity as well as creating sales pitches, like creating sales scenarios with the sales program at the University of Alabama. You prepare for a week or week and a half and you go into a room with a fake client and you try to sell a product. For instance, we did a scenario for a new turf field or a new Lay’s potato chip. We have to come up with different sales projections in terms of price, etc.
Is there anything you feel your major’s department does especially well or especially poorly?
I really like how they get us involved with companies throughout the year. They set up meetings with Fortune 500 companies and companies throughout the southeast, as well as across the country, to get a meeting or to network. They have Sales Day where they have companies come in and you can talk to them. They give you a lot of opportunities to flourish in the real world.
Can you describe the learning environment? Do you think it’s competitive or collaborative?
I think it’s a mix of both. It’s competitive in the sense of there’s always people you are competing against, whether that’s your fraternity brother who is in the same major as you or it’s some guy in your class that you’ve been with since freshman year. I think that part of it has competition. But, at the same time, there are those who those who don’t care too much about school, so you kind of feel a little bit better than most if you are doing well at Alabama like I am.
What has been your favorite class in your major?
Marketing 337, which was the sales specialization class where we did different sales scenarios. It taught me a lot about how to talk to a potential buyer. It was fun for me because it was a different type of class that I’d never really taken before. It wasn’t test based but it was performance-based, which I really liked.
What has been your least favorite class in your major?
Accounting. I did not like accounting at all. I thought it was very difficult and time-consuming.
Are you happy with your major choice?
Yeah, I’m pretty happy. This semester was when I really started to take all my marketing classes. I did everything else to get it out of the way, and now I’m only taking marketing classes and I love it because it’s just interesting. I like learning about what the consumer thinks and consumer purchasing.
Where have you lived on campus?
Freshman: Friedman, which is an older dorm that’s near the business school. I had one roommate living with me. Most of my friends lived in Presidential which are separate rooms.
Sophomore: I lived in my fraternity.
Junior & Senior: I lived in an off-campus apartment
What was your favorite living situation?
Living off campus was my favorite.
Was going to the deep south a culture shock for you?
Yeah, it definitely was a culture shock for me personally. Up north we dress pretty casually, like sports shorts and a t-shirt. When I got to school, everybody dressed preppy. They had khaki pants or shorts and a polo on. I’m used to going to Jets games where I’ll wear a jersey and jeans, but they’ll maybe wear a jacket, and khakis and a polo. It’s just totally different. I’m also not used to some of the food they are famous for, like they roasted a whole pig once and I’ve never had that before.
Pros and Cons of being in Tuscaloosa, AL?
Pros: (1) Good football on Saturday. That’s a pretty big perk.
(2) You’re a great university with a great nightlife
Cons: (1) Being from the northeast, it’s sometimes difficult to fly in and fly out of. For me personally, I have to go to Atlanta sometimes. So, I have to drive for 3 hours and then fly.
(2) There are not great restaurants. There’s not a good variety of healthy choices, it’s a lot of fast food chains.
What kind of weekend activities or nightlife do you like to participate in?
When I was a freshman and sophomore I was more interested in the fraternity scene and went to the 19+ bars occasionally. But [when I turned 21], the bar life was what I really participated in. I think the bar life is the best part. You’re with all your friends and it’s different than a club. You’re at a casual bar where there’s great music and you’re talking, rather than being stuck in a club where there’s loud music and you can’t even move an inch. That’s what I like about it. Now everybody that is in my grade is turning 21, we all go to this bar called Gallette’s. Everybody goes on Wednesday nights so you see everybody from your classes, you see your friends of friends, you meet new people, and it’s a lot of fun.
How exclusive are the fraternity parties?
You have to know somebody to get in and that can be difficult depending on what fraternity is having a party that day. I would say if someone’s a girl and they go to an SEC school, they’re set because all girls are allowed to go in. It’s just more difficult for guys to get into other fraternity parties.
What is the impact of Greek life on nightlife?
It’s huge. I think if you go to the University of Alabama you got to go into Greek life. It’s a huge part of the university, not only for football but also getting involved on campus. Like, you know that kid in your class is Phi Psi, and you know him and he’ll invite you to their parties. It’s just the whole connection of Greek life, it really connects other people.
How happy are you with the weekend options? Is there anything you would change if you could?
I’m pretty happy with it in general. Now that I’m a junior and 21, the bar scene is so much fun. This was my favorite semester because I was able to go to all the bars I wanted to. It was just so much fun. But I think the one thing I would change is everywhere else my friends go in the north they don’t need to register parties, but we need to register parties. If we wanted to have a party we have to register it with the university, it’s more of a process.
How did you meet your closest friends?
Through my fraternity. I would have to say it didn’t come until at least the second half of sophomore year. You always had good friends in your pledge class, but living with a group of people as well as living in our apartment and with a group of guys off campus, you really start to learn who your best friends are and you develop friendships that will last you a long time.
To what extent do you feel people of different races and sexual orientations mix on campus?
Pretty well. I think if you’re in an all-Black fraternity or a White or a Jewish fraternity everybody respects each other. I haven’t seen any racial tension or racial issues on campus or anything discriminatory towards any race, gender, or sexual orientation. I do think that, compared to all the universities in the south, Alabama is very progressive in that type of way. I know that if there’s any racial issue they will go into a full investigation and take action. They recently kicked out a girl for racial issues.
What is the impact of Greek life on the social scene?
It’s huge. All the parties are at Greek houses, even the block seating at football games is based on Greek houses, and when you go out to a bar you see everybody in Greek shirts. It’s a huge part of Alabama.
How would you describe the overall social scene?
Crazy. You have a mix of different people from all over the place. You have the country scene, you have the club scene, you get a mix of everything. Each aspect of where people want to party, whether that’s the laid-back bar, country music, the club bar that has Migos playing. Everybody is just always having a good time.
Has the alumni network helped you find internships or jobs?
I think they are big. But for me personally I wanted to go back up north this summer, so it was a little more difficult to talk to alumni. The alumni I did talk to helped me network down south and get me involved with companies in Atlanta and Florida, I talked to some New Yorkers as well. The alumni are always inviting people to Alabama games for networking. And I think next year I’m going to use that a lot more because this summer I just tried to get a job in New York City.
Have you used the career office much?
Yeah, I’ve been about three times.
Have you learned any computer programs that will be helpful to you professionally?
Not really. If you don’t want to take a foreign language, you have to take two computer science classes that just develop your Microsoft Office skills, like Excel. It was very helpful for Accounting and Operational Management.
Advice for Prospective Freshmen
What is something you wish you knew about Alabama before entering as a freshman?
I wish I knew a little bit more about the party scene because it was kind of a shock. Growing up in the north you’re so used to being part of the tailgates before the game that are [focused on binge drinking]. But in the south, it’s more casual. You eat good food before the game and socialize, rather than just partying and binge drinking before the game. I also wish I knew a little more about Greek life and the programs they have to offer because I feel like I was a little left behind in that. I feel like they didn’t give a lot of information or help direct kids in the right direction. I wished I rushed other [Greek] houses as well.
What is something that a student may miss on a visit that’s worth checking out?
Go check out the business school if you’re interested in business. They have sheets on the wall about what classes you have to take for each major you may want to take in the business school. I would check that out before deciding on a major because when taking classes I was a little surprised I had to take some. It’s also very easy to take summer classes and that’s something that I’m going to do this summer. Taking them online or taking them in Tuscaloosa will help you a lot with the workload. It will help split up the harder classes and the easier classes.
Reasons to attend Alabama:
1) Football. Gameday is unbelievable down there. It’s a totally new world.
2) The bar scene is unbelievable.
3) It’s one of the most beautiful campuses I’ve been to.
4) They have great speakers and great programs for students to use.
5) Great alumni base.
Reasons to not attend Alabama:
1) The police officers around Tuscaloosa are a little bit strict and something minor could put a hold on somebody’s future for something stupid. [See AL.com article.]
2) It’s difficult to go home, and expensive to fly out of Birmingham.