BackgroundInterview Date:August 2018
Gender Identity: Male
Graduation Year: 2018
Sexual Orientation: Straight
High School Experience: Public school in Hopkinton, MA with a graduating class of about 300 students. There was a culture of going to college.
First Generation College Student: No
Extracurricular Activities: Fraternity, and I did some intramural sports
Can you describe your weekly coursework for your major?
It depended on what grade you were in. Sophomore and junior years were the hardest years. The coursework was tough and challenging but it was worth it. We had a lot of group projects, especially senior year. Most of the homework was problem sets. Some classes gave homework that wasn’t graded, so they just graded you on the tests.
Is there anything that you feel your major’s department does especially well or especially poorly?
They were really great with networking you with people and bringing people in from jobs. I got the job I’m at now from people coming in and talking about it in some of my finance classes. One negative is you have to take the right courses. Some teachers were great, and then others weren’t so great. It all depended on what kind of classes you got into.
How would you describe the learning environment? Do you think it’s particularly competitive or collaborative?
I think it was a good mix. It was competitive to the point where you were striving to do well on tests and do the best you can. It was also collaborative in that there were group projects and professors encouraged you to work with other people on your homework.
What was your favorite class in your major?
It was an investment and risk and insurance class. It was with one of the best professors I ever had, she would get you excited to go to class.
What was your least favorite class in your major?
The accounting classes, so 310, 311, and 312. I was never a big fan of accounting. I found it pretty boring.
How accessible were your professors?
It depended on the professor, but, for the most part, they were pretty accessible. In the business school at Clemson, all the professors are in one building. Some were better than others, but most of the time the professor would be in their office for most of the day.
Why did you choose your combination of majors? And are you happy with your choice?
I chose it because I thought that is where the money was initially. I know that sounds bad, but I ended up falling in love with it. I’m more of a numbers guy, so once I started taking the classes I realized that it’s what I’m into. I’m really happy with the choice I made. I got a job right out of Clemson.
How was managing being in a big South fraternity and also managing your coursework?
It’s kind of tough at first. When you start pledging it’s a lot of work, but it teaches you to handle your course load. That got snapped into me right away. I actually got the best GPA of my college career when I was pledging because I was in that mode of doing work. When I lived in the [fraternity] house sophomore year it was a lot of having fun and partying, but as I got older that dissipated and I got more focused on my schoolwork.
On and Around Campus
Where have you lived on and around campus?
Freshman: Benet Hall with one roommate. He became one of my good friends.
Sophomore: In our off-campus fraternity house. It was a pretty trashy house. I had 14 other roommates.
Junior: I lived in a really nice off-campus house with three other roommates.
Senior: In these little townhomes that I’m sure will be torn down by the time this gets posted. I had two other roommates. It was a prime location because you could throw a rock and hit the downtown bars.
What was your favorite living situation?
Definitely the fraternity house. Coming home every day and having 14 of your best friends there was a blast.
Can you describe the level of safety you’ve experienced on and around campus?
It’s very safe. I’ve never felt unsafe there. It’s been voted the safest campus in the USA.
What is your favorite off-campus restaurant?
Backstreets Pub, it’s kind of a local dive bar. They have good burgers, cheap beer, and a pool table.
What is your favorite place to get away from campus?
There are two lakes around campus, Lake Hartwell and Lake Kiwi. A few of my friends had boats so we’d take those out and go wakeboarding and wake surfing.
Pros and cons of being located in Clemson, SC?
Pros: 1) Clemson is in a perfect location where you’re not far from Atlanta and you’re not far from Charleston. It’s a great spot to be for traveling. Because of that, I was able to visit a lot of schools.
2) Lake Kiwi and Lake Hartwell are close to campus.
3) The football aspect of it. Some of the best moments were at the stadium.
Cons: 1) You’re kind of in the middle of nowhere. There’s not much going on in the towns around it. If you want a city feel you’ll have to drive 2.5 hours to Atlanta or Charlotte.
2) Downtown is fun, but it’s not as much of a college town as there is at other schools.
3) It’s a small town where everyone knows everyone. The cops don’t have much to do, so there is a lot that happens that wouldn’t happen in a big city.
What kind of weekend activities or nightlife do you like to participate in?
When you’re a freshman and sophomore it’s more about the fraternity parties and house parties. The reason is if you want to go to downtown Clemson, you really can’t go until you’re 21. The cops are always patrolling the bars and will ask to see your IDs. Once you hit junior and senior year, it’s more about the downtown scene which is a lot of fun. There are a few great bars that people flock to.
What nights of the week do you regularly go out? Are there certain places you go on certain nights?
Like clockwork, we went out Thursday, Friday, and Saturday. Thursday I would go to a bar called Loose Change where there was usually a live band. Friday was Loose Change more than not. Saturdays in the fall are game days and in the spring is day parties, and at night we’d either stay home or go out to a bar.
What have been some of your favorite times at Clemson?
Without question, tailgating. It was pandemonium every Saturday. I actually went down to Tampa Bay to see Clemson win the National Championship and it was one of the best experiences of my life.
Can you describe a typical night going out freshman year?
When I wasn’t pledging in the spring, we usually went to fraternity parties at the house. We’d hang out in the dorms a little bit and there was usually something going on there. We spent most of our time either at the fraternity house or at an off-campus house so we weren’t in the dorms.
Do freshman boys have trouble getting into parties?
When you’re a freshman boy and you’re rushing it’s easy because fraternities have a bunch of rush parties, but those only last a month. Then when you get into a fraternity you’re pledging, so you’re not going to those parties. When you’re a freshman guy in the spring it can be kind of tough to get into parties, but it’s not like other places where you need so many girls with you at the door. Fraternities would have parties with a big list and that’s how you would get into the house. I can’t speak on what the experience is like if you’re not in a fraternity, but I have made friends with a bunch of people in other fraternities, and after that it’s easy. I’d text a friend to put my name on the list and it was as easy as that.
How happy were you with the nightlife at Clemson? Is there anything you would change if you could?
When we were freshmen and sophomores it was the best thing ever. We had the big house parties and we were having a blast. Junior year I was going downtown and having a blast. By senior year I was going to the same places over and over again and needed a change of scenery. I only have little complaints.
How did you meet your closest friends?
I met them in a variety of ways. Some of my closest friends were the friends I met freshman year in the dorm, and then I met the others through fraternity life. Fortunately, some of my pledge brothers are my best friends in life and also some of the older brothers are some of my best friends. There were also friends I met through other fraternities. So, I met most of my friends through fraternity life.
What is the impact of Greek life on social life?
I think it’s a pro. People say that in Greek life you pay for your friends, which isn’t necessarily untrue. It’s like being in a club with a membership fee because you have to pay dues. Living in the house did more for my social life than anything else because you’re living with this big group of friends where people were always doing stuff and inviting people over. It also forces you to meet other people. When we had functions you’d always have to ask a girl, and that forced you to meet girls. When you end up meeting a fun group of girls you keep on meeting people through that. I would say it was pretty central to social life.
To what extent do you feel people of different races and sexual orientation mix socially?
I’m from Boston, so when I went down there I was like, “Holy crap, this place does have some racial tension still.” There were some spots that were a little tenser and held on to that old aspect of life. I would say campus itself was a very inclusive place for all races and LGBT students. Clemson, SC is a conservative area and that’s just the area you’re in. In terms of fraternity life, if you’re a cool kid nobody cares if you were Black, Asian, White, or whatever.
Has the alumni network helps you find internships or jobs?
Yes, big time. I got recruited to the bank I work at now by a guy who came to Clemson to do interviews. When I was an intern I must have met 20+ people in my department who were all from Clemson. It’s so easy to meet people from Clemson. Anytime you see somebody at a job or come in as an alum and you tell them you went to Clemson their eyes light up and they want to talk to you. I think the alumni network is fantastic.
To what extent have you used the career office? How helpful have they been?
They claim that it is the number one career office in the country. I didn’t use them that much, I just had them check my resume. What they do well is they invite as many people as they can to campus to come to career fairs and talk to classrooms.
Did you learn any computer programs that will be especially helpful for you professionally or for your course work?
We had classes specifically focused on Bloomberg Terminals. You can get your certification pretty easily there. We have a whole classroom full of them. There were also multiple classes that offered Excel training and modeling for finance.
Advice for Prospective Freshmen
What is something you wish you knew about Clemson before entering as a freshman?
This is kind of weird, but I was kind of glad I went in blind. I went in with an open mind. I didn’t really know what I was getting myself into and that is what led me to be open to everything. I guess I wish I knew that there would be a major downswing in Greek life after a student died. I don’t think it would’ve changed my outlook or decision, but it was a big factor in that everything changed after that.
What is something a prospective student may miss on a visit that’s worth checking out?
Visit the stadium and go to a place called Smokin’ Pig for barbecue. It’s some of the best barbecue in the country. You should also check out Lake Kiwi and drive around the area because in North Clemson there are the fraternity houses.
What is something a person interested in finance should know that we haven’t touched on?
If you are considering doing it, I would pick Finance at Clemson because I think it’s one of the best programs Clemson offers. They offer Bloomberg Terminals, and the professors have all worked in the industry and know what’s going on and can help you out.
Reasons to attend Clemson:
1) Football team.
4) It’s a beautiful campus.
Reasons to not attend Clemson:
1) Greek life is starting to go downhill.
2) It’s a small town.
3) You’re in the middle of nowhere in South Carolina.