An Interview On
Davidson College

Background

Interview Date:May 2018

Gender Identity: Female
Race/Ethnicity: White
Sexual Orientation: Heterosexual
Graduation Year: 2018
High School Experience: I went to a private school in Atlanta, GA with a graduating class of about 115 students. There was a culture of going to college.
First Generation College Student: No
Major: Biology – on pre-med track.
Minor: French
Extracurricular Activities: I worked on the Women’s Leadership Planning Committee, I was in an eating house, and I worked on Be the Match On Campus for the national Be the Match Bone Marrow Registry.

Did any of your extracurricular activities have a particularly big impact on your experience?
The Women’s Leadership Planning Committee and my participation in my eating house’s philanthropy were big for me during college. The Women’s Leadership Planning Committee taught me a lot about being a leader and then helping plan the conference helped me learn more practical aspects of leadership.

Academic Experience

Can you describe the weekly coursework for your major?
I had a fair amount of labs. Every lab class is paired with a lecture class as well, and I felt generally in my biology classes you had your normal lecture with interactive projects spaced throughout the semester.

Is there anything you felt the Biology department did especially well or poorly?
The Biology department had a nice level of flexibility in the courses you’re required to take. The requirements they put on you are easy to achieve and self-direct your interest within them.

How would you describe the learning environment? Do you think it’s particularly competitive or collaborative?
It’s totally collaborative. That is something that I knew going into Davidson, but also is something really came to appreciate throughout my time there. There is no room for being cutthroat in Davidson’s academics and I think that benefits everyone as a whole.

What is your favorite class you’ve taken for your major?
Biochemistry, which is kind of a standard course you see at a lot of schools. I thought my professor gave a modern take on biochemistry. He covered the principles and basics we need to know, and he also did a great job of incorporating where the field is heading now and the most recent research in the field as well as his personal research.

What is your least favorite class you’ve taken for your major?
That’s tough because even the classes I wasn’t necessarily super interested in I still enjoyed because I felt like the professors were great. Nothing major is really coming to mind.

Why did you pick your major? How happy are you with your choice?
I was someone who was between a lot of different majors just because I have a lot of different interests. I also didn’t know what I necessarily wanted to do career-wise. I ultimately ended up choosing biology because I decided I wanted to pursue medicine. I’m very pleased with my major and still felt like I had room to take classes in other areas. I love being able to have a French minor and sprinkle in a little more humanities with whatever lab classes I was taking during the semester.

On and Around Campus

Where have you lived on campus?
Freshman: Watts Hall, which is your pretty standard college double dorm room.

Sophomore: Belk dorm and I also had one roommate.

Junior: I was abroad in the fall and then when I came back I lived in an off-campus apartment. There were four of us in two single rooms and one double room.

Senior: I was in a five-person apartment in Armfield, or “F”.

What was your favorite living situation?
There were pros to all of them and I had really positive experiences in all of them. There’s something to be said about having your own room. I think that’s just nice for everyone.

Can you describe the level of safety you’ve experienced on and around campus?
It’s very high. There is a running joke about how students will leave their possessions out and about because it’s a very secure campus. It’s not fenced off or anything, but there’s no one other than students there because it’s such a small town. I have never felt the need to have someone

What is your favorite off-campus restaurant?
Sauza’s, it’s a hole in the wall Mexican restaurant.

How was transitioning from Atlanta to Davidson, North Carolina?
I felt that the transition was just fine. I don’t live too far from the city, but my school was in more of a suburban area. The town itself is very small, but two or three exits down the highway there are a bunch of restaurants and shops. You get the best of both worlds in that you’re in a small town but you have access to more urban resources.

What is your favorite place to get away from campus?
Lake Campus is a really nice feature of Davidson and something I wish I took more advantage of. You can rent paddleboards or pay to go out in the boat. That’s really fun when the weather gets nice.

Pros and Cons of being in Davidson, NC?
Pros: (1) The town itself is adorable.
(2) The town and the school have a really great relationship. It’s cool to see how much the town rallies around the school.
(3) It’s really safe. You can walk anywhere on or off campus at any time of night and be totally fine.
(4) It’s nice that Charlotte’s right there. I don’t think Davidson students go into Charlotte that frequently, but having a larger city if you want to go shopping is super nice.

Cons: (1) Because it’s a small town, we have stricter rules. We have a pretty strict 2AM quiet hour rule during the weekends.

Social Opportunities

What kind of weekend activities or nightlife do you like to participate in?
Pretty much all of Davidson’s nightlife is on campus. There are two bars that we would sometimes go to, but that was mainly on Thursday nights. Almost all weekend activities are at the upperclassmen apartments or at the fraternities and eating houses. Most of the parties at fraternities and eating houses are open to the entire school’s campus. [The exclusivity of] senior apartment parties are dependent on the party, but, generally speaking, it wasn’t like you had to be on a list to get in. It’s very welcoming generally. I would do a lot of stuff with my eating house. We would have mixers with fraternities or we’d do just girls eating house activities. Sometimes fraternities would also host events for their female friends in their apartments. Alcohol is normally involved, but I don’t think you necessarily have to drink to have fun. I had friends who didn’t drink.

What have been some of your favorite times at Davidson?
I really enjoyed the week to week. My eating house’s formal was always a cherished event and was a lot of fun and something to look forward to. There’s also a big spring party called Frolics that’s kind of a whole weekend of partying. There are also a lot of fun events scattered throughout the year.

How happy are you with the weekend options at Davidson? Is there anything you would change if you could?
Personally, I had a great experience at Davidson. I really, really enjoyed being able to go out and know that wherever I was going I would know people. Because it’s such a small school, there isn’t a large number of people going out, but the people that are going out are awesome and are what made going out so much fun.

Campus Culture

How did you meet your closest friends?
A fair number of my closest friends came from my freshman hall, another fair number of my closest friends came from my eating house, and the remaining group of my closest friends were either through classes or extracurriculars that we have been involved in together.

What is the impact of Greek life on social life?
I’m a big proponent of our Greek life, though my experience as a girl is a little bit different than what my experience would have been as a guy. I think Davidson’s great because there’s a place for everyone within the Greek system. But, if you choose to not be part of the Greek system, you can have just as good of a social life if you’re not involved. From a girls perspective, I think the Eating House system has all the best parts of a sorority but takes out the annoying administrative side.

To what extent do people of different races and sexual orientations mix socially?
Our student body is not the most diverse in terms of race or sexual orientation. [Davidson’s student body is 27% students of color.] Even if the diversity isn’t reflected, I think Davidson is a very welcoming place, keeping in mind that I’m a heterosexual White female.

Do you think people are happy with their choice of Davidson by senior year?
I don’t think Davidson is the place for everyone and I can understand how it’s too small for some people. The people who transfer, it’s just very evident that it is not for them. [Davidson has a 94% retention rate]. For the people who do stay, they totally love it. My friends and I had an incredibly positive experience.

Careers

Has the alumni network helped you find internships or jobs?
Yes, in some ways. Because I’m going into medicine that can sometimes alter things. There are Davidson alumni doctors who are privy within the network.

How helpful has the career office been?
I think the career office is very helpful. You still have to put in the work yourself, they’re not going to find you a job, but I think they’re a great resource and a good starting point.

In terms of the medical school application process, Davidson is phenomenal. Going to Davidson is an advantage because of the one-on-one intimate time you get with your advisors. Davidson has the Premedical Advisory Committee, so you go through a mock medical school application process the year before you’re planning on applying.

Advice for Prospective Freshmen

What is something you wish you knew about Davidson before entering as a freshman?
This is going to sound cliché, but the quality of people at Davidson has been one of the biggest benefits of my experience. The kindness that you see on a day to day basis I think affects so many aspects of the school from social life, to academics, to extracurriculars. I really think it’s something that shouldn’t be discounted.

Reasons to attend Davidson:
1) Great academics.
2) Great relationships in terms of professors, peers, and community members.
3) Flexibility to define your experience. There are a lot of opportunities in terms of academics and extracurriculars, and there’s a lot of funding and grant money that’s accessible to students.
4) Amazingly kind people.
5) There are enough social activities outside of academics that make the hard work worth it.

Reasons to not attend Davidson:
1) If the thought of being in a small-town scares you, don’t attend.
2) If you don’t want to go to the same places for parties, don’t attend.
3) If you’re somebody who truly doesn’t like school and for whom academics isn’t a big deal, I think Davidson may not be the place for you. Davidson students spend a fair amount of time in the library.

Notice: Davidson College is a trademark. Induck uses it for descriptive purposes, not to imply affiliation with, endorsement from, or sponsorship by Davidson College.

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