University of Alabama
BackgroundInterview Date:June 2017
Gender Identity: Male
Sexual Orientation: Straight
Graduation Year: 2017
High School Experience: Private school in Baltimore with about 100 students in the graduating class.
Major: Sports Journalism
Minor: Creative Writing
Extracurricular Activities: Played intramural basketball and football, served on the executive board of his fraternity and worked on committees in the Inter-Fraternity Council.
Can you describe your weekly coursework for your major?
It was all writing, about 6-7 hours a week of writing. Our major assignments were journalistic articles where you have to go out into the field and get interviews. My first semester senior year I had 2-3 articles I had to do.
What was your favorite class in your major?
Long Form Journalism. I spent the entire semester researching and interviewing people. I had to get about 17 interviews and write an article that was about 4000 words. The professor was a senior writer for Bleacher Report.
What was your least favorite class in your major?
Intro to Public Relations. I hated it because I had no interest in PR and it was a weed-out class so they made it very hard. The PR school at Alabama is very good.
Fun class outside of your major?
Intro to Learning. I had to journal every week about when/where/what I was studying. I had to lay out everything I had to do for other classes. It was all about organization and time management. I took it junior year and wish I took it freshman year.
Why did you pick Sports Journalism?
I’m not good at math or science, but am really good at writing. Looking back on it, I wish I majored in something like telecommunication film, but I think my writing background will be very helpful.
On and Around Campus
Where have you lived on campus?
Freshman: Mary Burke West in a double. The room was a closet.
Sophomore: My frat house.
Junior: Off-campus apartment in Central Park with 3 other people.
Senior: The same apartment as Junior year.
What was your favorite living situation?
Central Park was my favorite.
What was your favorite off-campus restaurant?
Moe’s BBQ, Taco Mama, or Ichiban
What was your favorite place to get away from campus?
Druid City Brewing Co. It’s a brewery over the train tracks. It’s really fun to hang out there.
Pros and cons of being in Tuscaloosa?
Pros: (1) It’s a college town.
(2) It’s small and realistically you could walk places.
(3) It’s a beautiful, well laid out campus.
(4) The campus is safe and the campus police presence is good.
Cons: (1) If you’re not from Alabama it’s hard to understand it. Alabama is a very different state culturally so being from out of state was tough.
(2) Football ruins the fall semester because everything is so expensive and hard to get to because so many people flood the town. LSU weekend you have to pay $40 to get into a bar.
(3) The parking pass is expensive.
What kind of weekend activities or nightlife do you participate in?
I’d go out to bars Thursday, Friday, Saturday, and occasionally Wednesdays. As a senior, I’d get dinner around 6-7PM, chill and see what’s going on. The thing that sucks about Alabama is that there’s cover at every bar, so we try to get to bars around 9:45-10 and then stay until 1AM. As a freshman, we’d hang out with the older guys in the fraternity and go home when they’d go to the bars. The social scene is very different for younger guys and older guys because in Alabama you need to be 19 to enter a bar, so I couldn’t go to the events when I was 18.
What’s an alternative to going to a frat party or a bar?
There are some house parties. The university also puts on events for students, but I don’t know anyone that goes to those things. There are concerts in the amphitheater and Loosa Brews has stand-up comedy.
How happy are you with the nightlife at Alabama? Is there anything you would change about it if you could?
It’s alright. There’s a lot of stuff I’d love to change, like no covers at bars. I also wish there were more bars so there is more choice because the popular bars can get crowded.
How did you meet your closest friends?
My fraternity pledge class and the pledge class below me.
To what extent do you feel people of different races and sexual orientations mix socially?
I know a lot of Black guys in frats. There have been a few gay guys in my fraternity that came out after graduation. There are out gay kids in fraternities at Alabama too. I think [social conservatism] is something that is overstated about Alabama.
How would you describe the social scene? Is it cliquey? Is there a social hierarchy?
There is 100% a social hierarchy. Old Row frats, [which are the fraternities located on University Boulevard], are known as being “better”. Greek life, in general, is a bubble. If you’re not part of it it’s harder to be social, but there are people that aren’t in frats but still go out all the time and know tons of people because they are very extroverted. [There are more than 11,500 students involved in Greek life, making up 34% of the undergraduate population.]
Do you think people are happy with their choice of Alabama?
Yeah, all my friends are.
Has the alumni network helped you find internships or jobs?
For me, my frat didn’t matter because everybody from my frat does finance or business, but a lot of my friends are getting jobs in Atlanta because [an alum] from my fraternity lives there. Also, one of my professors worked for Bleacher Report and got me an interview.
Advice for Prospective Freshmen
What is something you wish you knew before entering Alabama as a freshman?
How much what fraternity you join dictates your college experience. I’m super happy I chose my fraternity because I don’t think I would have had similar opportunities with other frats.
What is something a prospective student may miss on a visit that’s worth checking out?
On the tours they only really show the business school, the engineering quad, and the nice dorms, so if you’re interested in something that isn’t shown check it out.
Reasons to attend Alabama:
1) Football and great sports experience.
2) They are heavily increasing the out of state population, so you get to meet people from all over. [About 56% of students come from out of state.]
3) Certain programs are very highly ranked for public universities. I think it’s an underrated school because of the history of the state. [In 2016, the University of Alabama was deemed the fastest growing flagship university in the United States.]
Reasons to not attend Alabama:
1) The state of Alabama is very [messed] up. Its history shows. There are some very ignorant people in the state and on campus too.
2) The closest airport is 50 minutes away.
3) If you’re not interested in Greek life it is very hard, especially if you’re not interested in partying.
4) It’s very hot and humid here and there can be tornados.