BackgroundInterview Date:June 2018
Gender Identity: Male
Sexual Orientation: Straight
Graduation Year: 2020
High School Experience: Private school in Washington, DC with 83 people in my graduating class. There was a culture of going to college.
Majors: Double major in Biology and English
Extracurricular Activities: I play Club Lacrosse, I’m in a fraternity, I’m in student government, and I’m in an organization called One in Four, which is an all men’s organization working to prevent sexual assault on college campuses.
Did any of your extracurricular activities have a particularly big impact on your experience?
I feel like for me all four impacted my college experience all for different reasons. The frat has helped a lot socially, Student Government allows me to work for the school, club lacrosse gives me a good area to compete and be a part of a team, and One in Four is a way to spread a really good message to the college.
Can you describe the weekly coursework for your major?
For Biology, it’s definitely a lot of labs. I usually have two classes with a lab per semester. Then there’s a lot of reading, note taking, lecture-based. While, English is reading as well, and then more discussion-based classes and writing papers. I feel that it’s a good balance between a more factual subject and a discussion based subject with English.
Is there anything that you feel either of your majors’ departments do especially well or especially poorly?
I think the Biology department is great with letting students actually do hands-on research if they want to. That’s what I’m doing this summer, I’m doing research with my Biology adviser. In English, I think the class discussions are really, really good. I think the fact it’s a small school plays a big part in that. I can go into a class with like 15 people and everyone can speak during the class period including the teacher. The teacher doesn’t necessarily have to run it, it’s more class facilitated, which I appreciate about the English department.
Can you describe the learning environment? Do you think it’s particularly competitive or collaborative?
I’d say it’s probably more collaborative. I think Davidson has a really good community emphasis. When students are looking at where to go to college, part of their decision [to go to Davidson] is that they want to be part of a tight community. I think that learning at Davidson is more of a common effort than a competitive detriment.
What has been your favorite classes in your majors?
Biology: It was one of my introductory classes, Molecules, Genes, and Cells.
English: British Literature Up to 1800, so everything from the start of the English language up until then. I liked that a lot because the discussion was great, everybody got to play a huge role in the class and the teacher was great.
Do you feel that people are open to multiple schools of thought in the classroom?
Yes, I definitely do.
How accessible are your professors?
Very accessible. I’m working with two other students this summer, but right now it’s literally me and my advisor for three weeks working on the same exact thing. I mean that’s not really answering your question, but that gives you a glimpse of the one on one potential time you can spend with a teacher and the care the teachers show at Davidson in shaping students, versus just furthering research just to further it. The headmaster of my high school said that at Davidson there are teachers who also do research, whereas at other schools there are researchers that also teach, and that really rings true after two years there. My professors are always super accessible to talk about papers topics and the nitty gritty stuff.
Why did you choose your combination of majors? Are you happy with your choice?
I’m very happy with my choice. I came in having absolutely no idea what I wanted to study. I came in and took a bunch of random classes and in the spring semester I took that Biology class that was my favorite Biology class and loved with and went with it. That was my first major decision. Then I realized over time that English was something I had grown to love in high school and in college, so that was something I also wanted to pursue. I thought that having those two different majors, they are so different in the material you learn in the classroom and the way you are learning, I thought it would work out really well and it has so far.
On and Around Campus
Where have you lived on campus?
Freshman: Belk, it’s the biggest freshman dorm. I had a roommate I knew from high school.
Sophomore: Little. It’s a less common dorm for sophomores, but we did clustering so we could live near people we knew. A bunch of my fraternity brothers and I got a section of the hall.
How was transitioning from Washington, DC to Davidson, NC?
For me, it was pretty seamless. It was definitely different though. Davidson’s definitely different, I can’t just hop on the metro and go to a restaurant I really want to go to. You have to get in the car and drive. That was the only big thing for me. Going off campus is super easy because freshmen through seniors can have cars on campus. I’ve never had a car on campus, but most of my friends do. The thing I was concerned about before I got to school was that it was going to be different in terms of access to a city, but it’s not a problem because Charlotte’s about 30 minutes away.
What is your favorite off-campus restaurant?
Alino’s, it’s super good pizza where you would never expect to get super good pizza.
What is your favorite place to get away from campus?
One of my best friend’s parents have season tickets to the Panthers, so I go to Panthers games sometimes. We also have a lake campus. It’s really nice and like 5 minutes away.
Pros and cons of being in Davidson, NC?
Pros: 1) It’s a really great town because it’s kind of a college town, but it’s also a great population. The campus kind of runs into the town. Like, on Sundays there is a farmers’ market run by locals and a lot of students go.
2) The town and the campus has a good relationship.
3) We have access to Charlotte if we want, but we’re not in a city. We’re not walking out onto a busy road. We can be secluded if we want to. We have a lot of great nature too. There are a lot of trees on our campus and we have a lot of grass.
Cons: 1) If you do want to go to Charlotte, you have to commit to going.
2) I grew up on the east coast, so I love the beach, but a lot of people here love the lake. I would rather go to the beach. But, that’s a minor con.
What kind of weekend activities or nightlife do you participate in at Davidson?
I really like to do it all at Davidson, whatever’s really going on. We don’t have sororities, we have eating houses. A fraternity or an eating house will throw a court party [in their chapter house], which is a huge theme party and the whole campus is always welcome to go. Usually, a lot of people do go. I love court parties. There are also more casual nights in the senior apartment complex. Seniors live in the apartment complex kind of thing where there is a different fraternity in each apartment on the ground floor. If there isn’t a court party or a concert or something, everybody will just go hang out down there. I will hang out with my friends in my fraternity, but everybody is just walking around hanging out down there. The apartment complex is called Armfield, but everybody calls it “F”.
What nights of the week do you regularly go out?
Friday and Saturday for sure. We sometimes do stuff on Wednesdays and Thursday nights too.
Do freshmen boys have trouble getting into parties?
No, not at all. Davidson’s a little backward in the way we do fraternity rush. From what I’ve heard at other schools, as a freshman, you have to prove yourself. But at Davidson, there are only 250 freshman guys as it is, and there are eight fraternities. The freshmen are really welcome everywhere because all the upperclassmen guys want to get to know everybody that’s going down to F. All the freshmen are totally welcome everywhere and that kind of goes for everyone. Everyone’s welcome everywhere. It’s so small that everyone knows each other, so if I want to walk into another fraternity and hang out, it’s not an issue.
What is the impact of Greek life on nightlife?
It’s huge. It’s not limiting I don’t think. If you choose not to be in a fraternity you can still go hang out wherever you want. People say F isn’t really run by frats, but it pretty much is. Usually, fraternity guys live in those senior apartments. Parties are open to everyone even if you’re not in a frat, but they are based in fraternity events. [63% of women and 45% of men participate in Greek life.]
How happy are you with the weekend options? Is there anything you would change?
I’m super happy with it honestly. I don’t think there’s anything I would change. It’s good, open and inviting.
How did you meet your closest friends?
My initial group of guy friends I met on my freshman hall and some of them of my other really good friends pledging and through the fraternity process. My female friends I met kind of randomly. Davidson is so small that it’s like we’re all living together freshman year. If you run into someone freshman year at lunch and you sit down and start talking, they may be your best friend. There’s just not that many people. [Davidson has about 1,800 undergraduate students.]
How would you describe the social scene?
I think it’s really open and welcoming. The community is probably pretty attractive to a lot of the people that end up coming because it is very real. Everyone is willing to talk to you and be your friend. Socially, I think it’s a pretty easy place to find your niche, and, once you do, you’re off and running. I think it’s a really good environment socially for a lot of different types of personalities.
To what extent do people of different races and sexual orientations mix socially?
I think that there’s probably a little bit of work that can still be done there, but I do think that people on campus are very open and willing to be sociable and friendly with whomever, regardless of sexual orientation or race or anything like that. I do think that, maybe from an outsider’s perspective, you will walk around campus and [see that a certain group of hangs out together more], but it’s not a bad thing. I don’t think there’s any discrimination or anything like that.
How would you describe the student body?
If you ask somebody at Davidson if they know another person at Davidson, the answer is more likely going to be yes than no. So, I think that people get to know each other in so many random ways, like through class and social activities, that there are a lot of people that you would never expect to be friends that are friends. I think there is this really good mix of people all together in this weird thing called the “Davidson Bubble.” It’s a good vibe on campus always.
Has the alumni network helped you find internships or jobs?
Not yet. I have no doubt that I would be able to reach out to someone and it would be a super easy conversation. I would probably reach out to one of my fraternity brothers who’s graduated and ask them about their work. I also think there is an alumni network that’s older that I haven’t tapped into yet but is there.
Advice for Prospective Freshmen
What is something you wish you knew about Davidson before entering as a freshman?
I wish I had known how real the community is. There are a lot of selling points that schools try to get cross that tries to make them unique, and you have to take them with a grain of salt because you don’t know about a lot of those things until you get there. At Davidson, the emphasis on attracting students that are gifted and also want to be a part of a good community and a respected community. The sense of community you get is really great.
What is something a prospective student may miss on a visit that’s worth checking out?
The basketball games are pretty cool, especially the one time every three years Steph [Curry] shows up. Then Frolics, which is a weekend of partying. On the tours there is a lot of focus on academics, but not how you can have a lot of fun. I think that this weekend where we all come together and party on this one lawn is awesome.
Reasons to attend Davidson:
1) If you want to be a part of a tight-knit community.
2) Academics supported by great teachers that are always willing to be there for you and help you in whatever way you need them to.
3) There’s so much at Davidson that you can find something that you never thought you wanted to do, but can be one of your favorite things. Like, I had no idea I was going to be in a fraternity, but I love it.
4) Davidson is a small enough and open enough place that you’re not going to get lost in the shuffle.
Reasons to not attend Davidson:
1) If you felt like high school was small, don’t come to a small school because you’re going to feel the same way. [There are about 1,800 students at Davidson.]
2) If you want a really successful football team.
3) If you’d rather be in a big lecture classroom as opposed to a small, discussion-based classroom.