An Interview On
Rhodes College

Background

Interview Date:December 2018

Gender Identity: Female
Race/Ethnicity: Asian
Sexual Orientation: Heterosexual
Graduation Year: 2021
High School Experience: A public school in Clarksville, TN with a graduating class of about 350 students. There was a culture of going to college.
First Generation College Student: No
Major: Biology
Minor: Computer Science
Extracurricular Activities: I [hold a leadership position] on the Rhodes College Crew Club, and SACA (South Asian Culture and Advocacy). I’m a big sister for Big Brothers Big Sisters of Memphis at Springs Elementary, and I’m also part of Best Buddies.

Did any of your extracurricular activities have a particularly big impact on your experience? In what ways?
All the things I do impact my day to day and long-term view on life. [having a leadership position] in SACA opened up my eyes to having Indian culture. In high school, I was the only Indian girl in my grade. I wasn’t exposed to many Indians my own age who I could relate to. When I came to Rhodes, it was cool because there are 20 or so Indian girls who are passionate. We put together Diwali performances, we go to the South Asian Fest, and do dances together. I have a sense of community I didn’t’ have in high school. I have my other White and Black friends as well, but there is also a sense that I have my Indian girls.

Academic Experience

Can you describe the weekly coursework for Biology major?
I have weekly quizzes and homework for almost every class. My class meets twice a week, and we always have something due. I only have about three exams, but I do have to study a lot for them. For my computer science classes, it’s not so bad. I took a harder computer science class this past semester, and it definitely took more effort than my biology classes.

Is there anything you feel the Biology department does especially well or poorly?
It has a bad environment. The problem at Rhodes is half the class comes in thinking they’re pre-med, and it’s the Biology departments job to weed these kids out. They do it in a really unfavorable way, by putting a lot of pressure on us. If you don’t put the right sized font, they take off 20 points for your lab report. Everything has to be exact, and they’re always out to trick you. The Chemistry department doesn’t seem to be like that at all. I didn’t have a lot of academic rigor in high school to prepare me for college, which is why I felt scared. Once you get passed Introduction to Biology, the teachers are welcoming and amazing.

How would you describe the learning environment? Is it particularly competitive or collaborative?
It’s half and half. You always have those people who want to be on top and who won’t help you, but there are also the TAs who are always helpful. The upperclassman really give a helping hand. That’s what I’ve been doing this past semester, helping out the freshman. I’d say it’s collaborative with the upperclassman, but within the classroom, it’s not.

How accessible have the professors in your department been?
They’ve been pretty accessible for all of my classes. Even in Introduction to Biology she was pretty accessible as well, I just didn’t have the tools or know which questions to ask. She would answer whatever questions I had.

Why did you choose to be pre-med? Are you happy with your choice?
Ultimately, I chose to be pre-med while debating if I should do Computer Science full time and go into programming, or whether I should become a doctor. I realized my end goal was not to be a programmer, it was to go into business. I can go into business any time in my life, so this is my only chance to be a doctor. I thought why not take the opportunity and be a doctor for 20 or 30 years, then see if I want to go into business.

On and Around Campus

Where have you lived during college?
Freshman: Williford Hall with one roommate

Sophomore: Voorhies Hall with one roommate

How was transitioning from Clarksville, TN to Memphis, TN?
Memphis has a high crime rate. At night time, I don’t go out by myself or leave my purse in plain sight in my car. If you are cautious, nothing will ever happen to you. That was a change from Clarksville where I could leave everything in plain view and go into a store. I could leave my car running and no one would take it. Memphis has also taught me how to keep myself safe, so I appreciate that. [Memphis is located in Shelby County, which has the highest crime rate of any country in Tennessee.]

What is your favorite off-campus restaurant?
Central BBQ. It’s not that expensive, but it’s really good and it fills you up.

What is your favorite place to get away from campus?
Probably whenever I go out on the water for the Rowing Club. We have 5:45 AM practices, but it’s so amazing sitting on the boat watching the sunrise. When I’m out on the water, I don’t think about college or my assignments. If I’m not doing that, I like going to Cross Town concourse to study. It’s a nice mall area where you can get coffee and hang out with friends.

What are the pros and cons of being located in Memphis, TN?
Pros:
1) We have St. Jude right down the street from us. They are a great institution and are accessible to Rhode’s students. We have lots of programs between the two of us. They’ll shuttle us out several times for tours, presentations, and to go talk with doctors there. We have a summer class program with them where we apply to do two summers and one academic year of research at St. Jude’s.
2) The University of Tennessee Medical Center is down the street as well. UT Medical Center and Rhodes have a really good relationship. They send the people on the medical committee down to Rhodes ever year, and we go and talk with them. When we meet them, they say they remember us from last year. Hopefully, when you go into your interview your senior year of college, they will recognize you.
3) The people of Memphis are the nicest people.

Cons:
1) It’s not that bad of a city. I do hear gunshots at night, but you just have to be safe.

Social Opportunities

What kind of nightlife or weekend activities do you participate in at Rhodes?
Last year I went to frat parties pretty often, but this year I enjoy hanging out and playing board games with my friends in close-knit settings at one of our houses. It’s more intimate, and I like that a lot more. Sometimes we’ll go out to Beale Street, and it’s a lot of fun. I enjoy the nightlife at Rhodes.

What nights of the week do you regularly do things? Are there regular places you go or things you do on certain nights?
Typically, Monday through Thursdays I don’t go out to different friend’s houses, but me and my suitemates will have some kind of snack together at midnight when we all come back to the room and talk about what we’ve been up to for about 30 minutes before going to sleep. Friday and Saturday are when we hang out with people outside of our suite. We’ll go to someone’s house, or a frat party.

What is the impact of Greek life on the nightlife?
Greek life is pretty much the entire nightlife at Rhodes. The Rhodes Activity Board does put on some pretty fun activities, such as karaoke night on Thursdays. The frats are really inclusive. They let anyone in, and they really don’t care if you’re Greek or not. They are really accepting which I appreciate. [52% of students are involved in social Greek organizations.]

How happy are you with the weekend options at Rhodes? Is there anything you would change?
I’m pretty happy with it. I feel like we could have more stuff like karaoke or board game night on Friday and Saturday, that could be fun. These happen on school nights, but I wish we could do them on the weekends.

Campus Culture

How did you meet your closest friends?
My closest friend was my roommate from last year, who is now my suitemate. My other closest friends I met while visiting Rhodes. We spent a night in Rhodes together, and we happened to match in the same room randomly. I also met some through Crew, and we have dinner on weeknights.

How would you describe the overall social scene at Rhodes?
I really enjoy it. We’re so small that it’s kind of like high school, but better. There’s no judgment, and no one cares what you do. Whenever I walk around campus, I always see about five people I know that I’ll stop and talk to. It’s nice knowing people who you go to school with, the people in your classes, and the people sitting near you when you’re eating. I like how accepting everyone is of each other. There isn’t a lot of judgment, and Rhodes is pretty liberal on that, which I like.

To what extent do people of different races and sexual orientations mix socially?
I’d say I have a pretty diverse friend group, and I’d expect a lot of people would say that too. There is the Black Student Association (BSA), and basically only Black people go to that, but one of my White friends goes to a lot of their events. It isn’t like high school where people tended to stick to their own races. At college, I have a lot of Asian, White, Black, and Hispanic friends. It’s pretty diverse. [30% of the student body is either multicultural or international.]

How strong is the Asian community on campus?
It’s pretty strong. We have two Asian organizations. We have A.S.I.A. and SACA. A.S.I.A. is geared toward East Asian students, and SACA is geared toward South Asians. We do mix together and collaborate on certain stuff. I’d say SACA is bigger because the South Asians are more willing to do stuff, and put more time into it. We want to show off our culture. Because most of us are Indian, we have lots of shared experiences. A.S.I.A. is a lot more diverse than us, and they have kids from everywhere. When you’re so diverse, it can be hard to collaborate when you’re all so different.

How do you like the size of your school? How has the size of your school influenced your social experience? [Rhodes has about 2,000 students.]
I love that we only have 2,000 kids. My classes are never bigger than 20 kids, so I really get to know my professors. It’s kind of like we’re in high school, except people are way more accepting and you can do whatever you want. You can start a club, or join any sport, and no one will judge you. [The average Rhodes class size is 14.]

Careers

What have you used the career office for? How helpful have they been?
I got an internship at Methodist University Hospital. Our health professions advisor sent me an email saying I should do this, so I applied and got it. I wouldn’t have gotten that [without Rhodes]. Rhodes is good about reaching out to the community and asking students if they want to be part of this or that. Instead of waiting for us to ask them, they ask us.

Advice for Prospective Freshmen

What is something you wish you knew about Rhodes before you entered as a freshman?
I wish I knew that I would have to work so hard. If I had built study habits in high school, freshman year would have gone a lot smoother. I would tell people going to Rhodes, don’t underestimate what you’re going to have to do. It’s hard work, and you have to put in long hours if you want the grades. It’s not like high school where you can just cruise by.

What is something a prospective student may miss on a visit that’s worth checking out?
I’m not sure. On my visit, I got to know what Rhodes is like. You get to sit in on a class and see how the interactions between students and teachers are. I got to go to a football game, I went to a frat party, I did it all. I think the prospective students get a perfect picture of Rhodes.

Reasons to attend Rhodes:
1) The teachers are very accessible, and really open to helping the students. You can go to them with any problem, personal or academic. My chemistry professor stayed with me until 1 AM in the morning the night before a test because I didn’t understand a concept. That’s the dedication they have.
2) The classes are really small, so you get to know the people in your class. We have a foundation of required classes that we have to take. A couple of them are Search, which is the search for Western values. We read the Bible, the Quran, and ancient Greek text. I enjoy how Rhodes makes you a well-rounded person. Even if you don’t want to be one, you’ll just become one anyway.

Reasons to not attend Rhodes:
1) If you don’t like any of the majors Rhodes has, you can build your own. Don’t say no to Rhodes became it doesn’t have the major you want. With that being said, if you’re interested in Engineering don’t come to Rhodes. Rhodes is a liberal arts school, but this is something I struggled with because I was interested in Biomedical Engineering. Now, I have to do computer science which isn’t necessarily what I’m most passionate about.
2) If you don’t like the size of the school. Some people like walking around not knowing or recognizing faces. They enjoy the comfort of being around strangers.

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

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