BackgroundInterview Date:April 2018
Gender Identity: Female
Sexual Orientation: Straight
Graduation Year: 2020
High School Experience: All girls private school in Baltimore with about 85 girls in my graduating class. There was a culture of going to college.
Minor: SLAM (School of Liberal Arts Management) which is really similar to a business minor
Extracurricular Activities: I’m in a sorority. I am a research assistant for a psychology lab. I’m also in a program called After-School Newcomb Tutoring which brings in local kids and they can get tutoring services from Tulane students.
Did any of your extracurricular activities have a particularly big impact on your experience?
I think research had an impact on what I want to do in the future career wise. It helped me grow academically because I have to do presentations at meetings. I have to develop other interpersonal skills, like doing screenings and recruiting members into the study and learning different procedures for conducting research.
Tutoring has had an impact on seeing the bigger New Orleans community. You’re in a bit of a bubble here at Tulane, so you don’t get to see the other community members without being a part of different service organizations.
Can you describe your weekly coursework for your major?
It’s mostly reading and tests, and I have to do critical summaries where I apply concepts in class to everyday cases related to different psychological things that are going on in the media and the news. For instance, my Cognitive Distortions class, which is basically a neuroscience class, where we are learning about the different effects on the brain of sex differences and how they affect people who are both with disorders in that way. They have to decide what gender they are and things like that, so we critically summarize things like that. We will do presentations on different articles.
Is there anything you feel the Psychology department does especially well or poorly?
I think they have really good teachers in the Psychology department. I’ve always had very kind teachers who are very open to seeing you outside of class. Like, one course had these different writing assignments that I was struggling with, and my teacher was very open to meeting with me and taking as much time as I needed to help me.
I also think the advisers are very good, my adviser is open to having me drop in and discuss different things or just ask questions, I never feel like I’m being a bother. They really encourage you to do research labs which I think is a good thing because a lot of people are interested in doing a honors thesis and things like. It gives you more of an inside view of like what things you could be doing when you graduate with a Psychology degree.
How would you describe the learning environment? Is it collaborative or competitive?
It depends on your major. In general, everyone kind of focuses on their own studies and are not as concerned with comparing themselves to other people’s grades and things like that. For me, it’s been very open to working together and studying together, not too individualized, but individualized enough that you’re not comparing yourself to others.
What has been your favorite class in your major?
Positive Psychology. It was a small discussion-based class. It’s a very applicable field for a lot of people because it studies what makes people happy and different dimensions of that. It was beneficial beyond the classroom in helping your own mental health and positivity. It was really hands-on too, we had presentations and discussed a lot and had to do little activities outside of class.
What has been your least favorite class in your major?
I didn’t love Personality Psychology only because I wasn’t as interested in it as I was the other classes I’ve taken. There wasn’t really a class that I hated in the Psychology department. I just didn’t really click with that one. The professor was great, I just didn’t like the topic.
What is a fun class you’ve taken outside of your major?
You have to do a TIDES class freshman year and you pick from a variety of topics, there are a few New Orleans based ones. I took Mindfulness which was cool because we had a Tibetan monk teach it. He taught us different techniques and he brought in different speakers.
Why did you choose Psychology?
I think I always had a pretty big interest in psychology. I took AP Psychology in high school and did a one month long internship where I shadowed a neuroscience investigator. I came into Tulane undecided because I still wasn’t sure. I explored public health and came back to psychology. I developed more of a love for it here.
On and Around Campus
Where have you lived on campus?
Freshman: Sharpe, it’s one of the very social dorms. It’s not that nice but it’s a very fun atmosphere. I had one roommate.
Sophomore: Irby which is a suite style room. I lived with seven other girls. It’s four doubles connected by a big bathroom. It’s a very fun atmosphere, similar to freshman year, in that if you want to live with your friends you want to live in Irby, even though it’s not necessarily very nice.
Junior: Next year I’m going abroad first semester and we haven’t figured out our housing situation second semester. I’m very excited to have an actual house.
Can you describe the level of safety you have experienced on and around campus?
I feel safe in my dorm and walking back from the library. There are lots of security guards walking around. In terms of off campus, there are some areas that you don’t want to be walking around alone at night. If you walk in areas at night and aren’t smart about it there are some incidents that you get e-mails about. There are some areas you should be in a group, but that’s something you learn for any city.
What is your favorite off-campus restaurant?
Shaya it’s an Israeli restaurant that has won a bunch of awards. Whenever your parents come to town have them take you.
Pros and cons of being in New Orleans?
Pros: (1) It’s a new culture. You get exposed to a new way of life that is very different. It feels like you live in a different country sometimes because it’s a very different culture.
(2) You have so many opportunities so close to you to do fun activities, like seeing live music in the French Quarter. You’re never bored because you can always venture off-campus to do things.
Cons: (1) The weather. It’s sometimes a pro, but there is a long rainy season. Make sure you have a good raincoat and rain boots because when it rains it floods. It’s very humid. That took some getting used to. [Louisiana is the rainiest state in the continental United States.]
(2) The on-campus housing isn’t the best in terms of just functioning well.
What kind of weekend activities or nightlife do you like to participate in?
Now that many of my friends and I are involved in sororities, a lot of our nightlife involves going to bars they rent out in the French Quarter. Bars in the French Quarter are really fun, and there are also a lot of rooftop bars we go to in that area. There’s also The Boot on campus that we sometimes end up going to. In the fall, the frats have a lot more parties. As an upperclassman, you’ll mostly go to different bars in the French Quarter or the Boot. Louisiana has a lot of bars that are 18 and up. As long as you are 18, you can get into the Boot. Any bar that is rented out by sororities have to make it so that people 18+ can get in, they just get an X on their hand or don’t get a wristband.
What nights of the week do you regularly go out?
Wednesday night is a big night, and then I have a lot of work so I’ll go out Friday and Saturday. But sometimes people will go out on Thursday. Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday are the most common nights.
What have been your favorite times at Tulane?
We have this thing called Crawfest where as a student you can attend for free and you get a thing of crawfish and there’s music. It’s a fun atmosphere. A lot of times when it’s really nice we’ll go to this area called The Fly on Friday afternoons. People will take a picnic or whatever and go hang out there if it’s good weather. Formals, in general, are really fun here. There is lots of live music around that people go to too.
How did you meet your closest friends?
My roommate and I got set up with last year because we had a mutual friend who knew we were both looking for a roommate, and we ended up becoming really good friends. She lives in my suite now. My other best friend I met at orientation. She’s my roommate this year. There’s this riverboat cruise they do freshman year to bring everybody together with New Orleans style food and things like that, so I met three of my friends from that. In the beginning, a lot of it was in terms of where we were all living and then the riverboat cruise.
How would you describe the overall social scene at Tulane?
I’d say it’s really good because it’s you can be friends with a lot of different types of people. You can have your friends in your sorority, outside of your sorority, in your classes, you could have a lot of different groups of people you have friends with and can interact with. You’re not restricted by organizations and things like that.
To what extent do you feel people of different races and sexual orientations mix socially?
It’s definitely diverse in some ways socially, but it’s probably not as much as it should be. It is an ongoing conversation we have on campus about being more diverse. People don’t really try to be diverse in Greek life. [People of different races and sexual orientations] are kind of involved in other things, but they definitely have their groups and stuff. There is a dimension of mixing, like when we go out there [is more of a mix]. There could be more of a mix socially, and I think that is also a part of people hanging out with people that are similar to them. [In the Class of 2022, 73% of students are White, 22% are domestic students of color, and about 5% are international students.]
What is the impact of Greek life on campus?
I’d say Greek life can be a big impact or a small impact depending on what you make of it. Because you rush the second semester your freshman year – or you can do it later, I rushed as a sophomore – you have the opportunity to make friends beforehand, so it doesn’t define your social group. You can have friends in your sorority and out of your sorority. It also has a good impact, like I have to do community service for mine. It’s also really good for networking. We have a Facebook group for alumni to post career opportunities and is a place to ask older students about classes and other Tulane-related things. In terms of involvement, you can be as involved as you want. You can be a leader or just attend some events. [About 42% of students are involved in Greek life.]
Advice for Prospective Freshmen
What is something a prospective student may miss on a visit that’s worth checking out?
We have a new business school that’s so nice, so definitely that. It’s a good space to do homework even if you’re not in the business school. Then The Fly, which is a pretty park area in Audobon Park. I think that would be a good place to go and have a picnic and it’s really close to campus and I think it played a part in my decision to come here.
Reasons to attend Tulane:
1) There are a lot of different academic opportunities
2) It’s a really fun culture to be a part of.
3) Really good service opportunities because there is a [public service requirement]. That is a fun aspect of Tulane.
4) There are a lot of different clubs and organizations to be a part of no matter what your interests are.
5) You never get bored. It’s a really fun city.
Reasons to not attend Tulane:
1) If you’re looking for a more diverse student body. [73% of the Class of 2022 is White.]
2) If you’re not into humidity definitely do not attend.
3) If you want a bigger school environment. We still celebrate our football team and have tailgates and stuff, but if you’re looking for a big-time football season and school spirit that isn’t here.