BackgroundInterview Date:April 2018
Gender Identity: Female
Sexual Orientation: Heterosexual
Graduation Year: 2020
High School Experience: I went to a private boarding school in New Jersey with a graduating class of 225 students. There was a culture of going to college.
First-Generation College Student: No
Major: Biology and I’m on the pre-med track.
Extracurricular Activities: I volunteer at a free clinic, I lead trips for Davidson Outdoors, I tutor biology and chemistry, I’m in a woman’s health justice committee, I’m in an eating house, and I volunteer with a nonprofit public health group.
Have any of your extracurricular activities had a particularly big impact on your experience?
I really like volunteering at the free clinic because I’ve [grown the most]. I started as a volunteer and now I help organize and lead the clinic. It’s been a nice progression of leadership.
Can you describe your weekly coursework for your major?
I’m pre-med so I take more chemistry and math than you would have to just for the major. For my weekly coursework, I have a few problem sets, but it’s mostly reading, lab reports, and general preparation.
What are your major graded assignments?
It’s mainly tests and lab reports. I have also had a few lab practicals.
Is there anything you feel your major’s department does especially well or especially poorly?
I think the Biology department is great. I like all the professors and I think everyone’s really approachable. I do research for one of the professors, and I have a lot of independence in my project and access to a lot of research materials. It’s cool that I’m going to be a junior undergrad and I have a pretty substantial research position. As an undergrad at Davidson, you can get a research position pretty easily.
How easy was it to get a research position?
It was pretty easy. I took a class with a professor whose research I was interested in and approached her about it. I joined the lab the semester after I asked. It was pretty easy for me, but it depends on spacing. If you really want to get involved there will be a position for you somewhere.
What has been your favorite class in your major?
I took the first semester of Organic Chemistry this year and really liked it. I think I like it more because everyone talks about how much they hate it. I was expecting it to be really bad but the teacher was really great and made it easy to follow and very logical.
What has been your least favorite class in your major?
I had to take the second semester of Physics, which was really interesting but really hard. It’s definitely the hardest class I’ve taken. I overworked myself that semester and that class was a stressor.
What made you choose your major? Are you happy with your choice?
I hadn’t Biology or anything like that before college and I took an Intro to Biology class to fulfill the lab requirement and I really, really loved it. I started taking more Biology classes and decided to go pre-med. I thought I was going to be a Physics major when I got to college, but that changed.
On and Around Campus
Where have you lived on campus?
Freshman: Watts Hall, it was really nice actually.
Sophomore: New Dorm, where pretty much all the sophomores live.
Junior: I’m going abroad in the fall, and in the spring I’ll have an apartment off-campus.
What was your favorite living situation?
I liked my freshman hall because it was more of a community and there were less people. My sophomore living situation was more of a real dorm setting and I didn’t know any of the people who lived near me. I’m living off campus in my apartment now. I really enjoy it because I have my own kitchen and my own space.
Can you describe the level of safety you’ve experienced on and around campus?
On campus is really safe. I walk home in the dark alone all the time and don’t feel threatened. I feel safe on the weekends. I feel like I could walk home alone intoxicated and I would be fine. That being said, I probably wouldn’t. It’s not an unsafe environment to walk home alone.
What is your favorite off-campus restaurant?
I love Asian food, and there’s this really cheap Asian restaurant called Sabi that’s really good. There’s also Kindred, which is a restaurant you take your parents to or go to if you’re celebrating something.
What is your favorite place to get away from campus?
Davidson has a lake campus, which I really like. It’s about a five or ten minute drive. It has a little beach and dock there.
How was transitioning from the North to the South?
I looked at a lot of the NESCAC schools and I decided not to go to them because I didn’t want to be surrounded by the same type of Northeastern student that I’d grown up with. [In the Class of 2022, 44.5% of students are from the South.] I really like the fact that I was getting a change of scenery and pace.
Pros and Cons of being in Davidson, NC?
Pros: (1) It’s not in a huge city, but it’s really close to one. If were to drive to Charlotte when there’s no traffic it takes like 15 minutes. It’s also not a rural location, so I can go to Walmart or Target.
(2) There are a lot of perks of living close to a city, like finding a position to shadow a doctor was not that hard because there are so many hospitals around.
(3) I’ve always lived in the North, so it’s kind of nice living in the South. It’s always warm and people are really nice.
Cons: (1) It would be nicer to be closer to home.
(2) There’s the small-town feel. The town of Davidson is an older community, so there aren’t really places for students to go out off campus. [About 16% of Davidson residents are 60 years old or older.]
(3) Traffic can be really bad.
What kind of weekend activities or nightlife do you like to participate in?
There is a main senior complex that most people go out at. I normally go there, and we also have court parties that are thrown by different frats or eating houses. There are sisterhood events with my eating house, which are really fun. It’s mainly on campus stuff.
What have been your favorite days or nights at Davidson?
Whenever the younger girls get inducted into our eating house it’s a whole day event that’s really fun. I love spending the whole day with everyone. There’s also a weekend in the spring that’s our spring fling weekend, [called Frolics]. People are out all Friday and Saturday.
Can you describe a typical night going out freshman year?
Before I was in an eating house I would get together with a bunch of my girl and guy friends, I would say I have a pretty big girl and guy friend group, and we’d get together and pregame in someone’s room. Depending on if it was a court party, which is what we call when a frat or an eating house has a party [in their house on Patterson Court], or if it was just everyone hanging out at the senior complex we’d go out at 11 and then normally come home around 1:30.
How happy are you with the nightlife at Davidson? Is there anything you would change if you could?
I am really happy with it. I really wanted a small school. I’m not a huge fan of going out to bars all the time, so I like that a lot of our nightlife is on campus. It makes it easier and it’s nice because you don’t have to worry about spending a ton of money or driving.
How did you meet your closest friends?
There were a bunch of people from my high school here, so I’m still really good friends with them. My other friends I continued to run into and then I became friends with them.
How would you describe the overall social scene at Davidson?
It’s really inclusive. We always joke that you could be a random person who doesn’t go to school and walk into a frat party and no one would blink an eye. I have guy friends and girl friends who are all in different eating houses and frats and no one at all feels weird about hanging out at each other’s functions. I also have friends who aren’t involved in that at all and that’s not a problem.
What is the impact of Greek life on social life?
I think it’s a good one. [63% of women and 45% of men participate in Greek life]. I like how there are frats because they host a bunch of stuff. I really like my eating house because there is no rush process or anything, it’s a really flexible process. The only thing I would like is if there were more different types of people within the frats. There are historically Black and historically Hispanic fraternities and sororities. I wish that wasn’t a choice somebody has to make because it can be segregating. It ends up being a lot of the same kind of guy in the traditional fraternities. It makes it feel less diverse. Overall, I don’t think it’s a toxic environment like it is at some schools.
How would you describe the student body?
I feel like everyone’s pretty lowkey. I don’t feel like there’s a really politically charged environment or a hardcore partying environment or an environment where everyone’s studying all the time. It’s not super competitive and I don’t feel like I’m being judged when I ask questions in class. Everyone minds their own business.
Do you think people are happy with their choice of Davidson by senior year?
Yeah, I think so for sure. I think people feel exhausted by their senior year because it’s a lot of work, but every senior that I’ve talked to is really sad to leave and has really enjoyed their time.
To what extent did you use the career office?
I have used the career office a little bit. They’re not great for people in the sciences because the internship process for a research institution is a lot different than working at a bank or a law firm or something like that. They’re pretty good with networking and stuff like that, but I haven’t found them particularly helpful for research positions.
Advice for Prospective Freshmen
What is something you wish you knew about Davidson before entering as a freshman?
I wish I started breaking out of my comfort zone earlier. I came in with five other people in my grade from my high school, which is a lot considering our grade is about 400 people, and I really clung on to them at first. They’re still my really good friends, but we started to go our separate ways and I’ve met a lot of really interesting people. I think I would have had a broader friend group if I had branched out earlier.
What is something a prospective pre-med student should know that we haven’t touched on?
To not be afraid to ask for help. My freshman year I would go to the tutoring center where I work now and the older students would help me proofread lab reports and work on problem sets and stuff. I know some people feel uncomfortable asking for help, but no one here judges you if you have a question. Also going to professor’s office hours can be really helpful. They’re always willing to help.
What is something that a student may miss on a visit that’s worth checking out?
The new science building, [the E. Craig Wall Jr. Academic Center] is really beautiful. The professors are always there and the research labs are open [so you can check them out].
Reasons to attend Davidson:
1) It’s a great place to be if you want small classes and want to know your professor.
2) The social life is great if you don’t want the really intense Greek life scene. It’s there but it’s lowkey.
3) People are always willing to help.
4) The Honor Code is really strong.
Reasons to not attend Davidson:
1) If you’re not sure if you want a small school, Davidson is really small. The people I know who have been unhappy at Davidson have been unhappy because it was smaller than they expected.
2) If you want a big crazy party every weekend. The parties are fun, but they’re small.
3) Davidson is pretty liberal and pretty progressive, but if you drive 5 or 10 minutes into the country it becomes really Southern. It’s a drastic change in lifestyle for people from big cities.