BackgroundInterview Date:May 2019
Gender Identity: Female
Sexual Orientation: Heterosexual
Graduation Year: 2020
High School Experience: Public high school in Northern Massachusetts with about 400 people in my graduating class. There was a culture of going to college.
First Generation College Student: No
Major: Design & Merchandising – 4 + 1 MBA Program
Extracurricular Activities: I’m in the Retail and Design Club, and I’m joining a Women in Business Club.
Did the Retail and Design Club have a big impact on your experience? In what ways?
It’s been a good experience for outreach within my community at the school. It’s also been a good networking opportunity as far as getting us to certain events and becoming aware of opportunities.
Can you describe your weekly coursework for your major?
It’s a pretty good balance. You start off with some general education courses, but we’re also a design focused major in the beginning. We have to take a design course every term this year. We have regular work in English, math, and the regular sciences. On top of that, we have design courses that require 20+ hours a week. These include physical construction, digital design, and actual hand painting design focused on negative and positive spacing along with ink work.
For my business courses, it’s a lot of project-oriented group work. While there are tests and quizzes, it’s mainly focused on business model research projects. For the design courses, it’s a lot of individual projects.
Is there anything you feel your major’s department does especially well or especially poorly?
I think Drexel is really good at preparing you to balance your time wisely, and being able to organize your schedule not only to be able to get everything done but being able to get it done well. Also, we are a co-op school, so it’s very focused on teaching you how to be in the workforce. It’s very career based.
Can you describe the learning environment? Do you think it’s competitive or collaborative?
I think it’s competitive in the sense that we have a high dropout rate due to it being a difficult program. It’s also because Drexel doesn’t give a lot of leg room. I know that if you fail certain courses twice, you have to go on a leave of absence. I’ve never had a course that’s been on a curve, so from my experience, it’s competitive to do well for yourself. In my major, there is a sense to always watch what others are doing around you because of the competitive industry overall.
How accessible have the professors in your department been?
It varies. I’ve had professors that I’ve emailed several times and have never heard back, and then I’ve had some that are great and have even had phone calls with me over the weekend.
Why did you choose your major? Are you happy with your choice?
I’m happy with my choice so far. I was always very interested in going into the fashion industry, I just wasn’t sure what area I wanted to get into. I didn’t want to go into design from a money standpoint. I love business, so I wanted to be on this side of things. I’m able to get both aspects in my education. We learn about what I’m trying to sell, along with a lot of sides of the industry.
How was transitioning academically as a freshman? Are there systems in place that helped you transition?
There’s a whole new building this year dedicated to student resources, and there’s a good amount of them. I’ve personally never been, but a lot of people say it’s helpful. You can go online and pick out a time slot to go in for tutoring.
On and Around Campus
Where have you lived on campus?
Freshman: North Hall with five other roommates in a suite-style dorm.
How was transitioning from your hometown in Massachusetts to the University City neighborhood of Philadelphia?
I’ve always enjoyed being in the city, so it wasn’t too difficult. Learning how to navigate the city and being comfortable on public transportation is just part of being in a new city, but it’s been pretty easy overall for me.
Can you describe the level of safety you’ve experienced on and around campus?
I’ve always been safe, although I don’t think you always feel safe because of the city it’s in. On our campus, you feel safer, and they have lots of resources such as police officers that will walk you anywhere on campus at any time. They have an amnesty policy so they wouldn’t be able to get anyone in trouble. Safety is their number one priority.
Pros and Cons of being in the University City neighborhood of Philadelphia?
1) It’s super accessible to anything. You can easily use public transportation, and it’s cheap.
2) Personally, if you like the city it’s really fun to be in. I also really like that UPenn is close, so you get more than just the experience of your own school.
2) The grocery store is pretty far, but they are building a new one on campus next year.
What kind of weekend activities or nightlife do you like to participate in?
Drexel is great in the sense that it has both Greek life and a lot of going out in the city. I’ve also found being next to UPenn has been a big part of my social life. [About 1,700 undergraduate students (11%) make up the Greek life scene.]
What nights of the week do you regularly do things?
Depending on how warm it is. I’ll go out Tuesdays, but if it’s cold, then Thursday, Friday, and Saturday.
What is the impact of Greek life on nightlife?
Pretty low. I’d say if you’re friends with the people in it, then it’ll affect you maybe thirty percent of the time. It’s nice to have the option because it’s there occasionally, but not as much as at other schools.
What’s an alternative to going to a party or a bar that you like for a night out?
It doesn’t happen as frequently, but Drexel has some pretty fun things. The other night they had a Drexel Drag Show which was really popular. Concerts and sports games are also fun and accessible. My friends and I would go to the Eagles games to tailgate even if we weren’t going to the actual game.
How happy are you with the weekend activities or nightlife at your school? Is there anything you would change if you could?
I’m definitely happy with them, but I don’t know if I’d be happy if we weren’t located in University City around other schools. It’s not super budget-friendly to go to bars every weekend. There are certain terms at our school that doesn’t have as much going on. I like it when it’s good, but it’s only good 80% of the time. I found myself going to UPenn for social activities a lot more than Drexel this year.
How did you meet your closest friends?
My closest friends are my roommates. We kind of got lucky, but I met others through mutual friends and parties.
How would you describe the overall social scene?
I’d say it’s fun if you’re outgoing and can network your way into finding the people that like to find things to do all the time. You have to put some work into having a good social experience.
To what extent do you think people of different races and sexual orientations mix socially?
A very high percentage. As far as my experiences, it’s been like 90 percent. I very frequently see diverse groups of friends. [In the Class of 2022, about 50% of students are White, 22% are Asian, 10% are international students, and 6% are Hispanic.]
What is the social impact of co-ops at Drexel?
It depends. You can go on co-op in Philadelphia and still be living where you would if you attended courses, but you could also go to other states or countries. For the people who have been doing it and still live here, they absolutely love their social life because they don’t have the workload once they get home. They have a real work day, but they still have the college social life going on. It does depend on how rigorous your job is during that time, and even the people who’ve gone to other states have had good experiences.
How would you describe the student body at Drexel?
They’re pretty diverse in race, sexual orientation, and interests in general. It’s even diverse from an economic standpoint.
How has the size of your school influenced your social experience?
I like the size. I always wanted a bigger school. We have huge sports teams, and there’s a pretty big undergraduate population. [Drexel has an undergraduate population of about 15,500.]
Have you done anything career oriented in your classes yet?
One of my courses was half oriented toward general concepts of the industry. They had people come in for networking, questioning sessions about industry positions, and how to navigate your way to the position you want to be in. Right off the bat they are very focused on getting you to focus on your career.
Have you learned any computer programs or computer languages that have been or will be especially helpful professionally?
I’m currently in a course that is teaching us how to use Adobe Illustrator and Photoshop. I believe it eventually gets into other parts of Adobe, but I haven’t gotten to that yet.
Have you used financial aid? If so, accommodating was the office to your needs?
I’m here on a merit scholarship, and they’re pretty easy to contact.
Advice for Prospective Freshmen
What is something you wish you knew about Drexel before entering as a freshman?
They really don’t prepare you for the amount of money you have to spend to take the courses that are required. There’s a lot of expenses that aren’t covered by financial aid. For our design courses, we have to buy at least $300 in supplies each term. For my computer application course with Adobe, we have to pay for that as well.
What is something a prospective student may have missed on a visit that is worth checking out?
I’d so check out the area and explore Center Cities, the public transport, or kind of walk around the area. They do a good job of touring you through the actual school, so just explore the city and know what you’d be living in.
Reasons to attend Drexel:
1) If you know what you want to do career-wise, and are very determined to do it, Drexel does a great job of preparing you for being an adult.
2) If you want to have a couple of different kind of experiences. It’s in the middle of the city, but you can easily go to different areas.
Reasons to not attend Drexel:
1) After our freshman year you don’t get a summer, so you’re here year-round. We take coursework or you go on co-op and have a job fulltime. We only get a week-long break.
2) If you’re a person wanting a big Greek life, I wouldn’t go here because it’s more of an independent social life.
3) If you can’t cook and want to rely on a meal plan, Drexel’s is so bad.