Washington University in St. Louis
BackgroundInterview Date:Summer 2018
Graduation Year: 2020
High School Experience: Public school in Chappaqua, New York with a graduating class of around 300 students.
First Generation College Student: No
Major: PNP (Philosophy, Neuroscience, and Psychology). It is a major that Wash U created where students take classes in all three subject areas but eventually focus on one in particular. I am focusing on psychology.
Extracurricular Activities: Greek Life; Synapse, a neuroscience club that provides me with shadowing opportunities at the medical school and allows me to go to into local elementary schools to teach kids about the brain; MedEd, another club where we go into St. Louis public schools to teach the kids about hygiene and overall health; City Faces, a program where I go to downtown St. Louis to mentor a young girl and explore the city with her.
Did any of your extracurricular activities have a particularly big impact on your experience?
City Faces has had the biggest impact on me because we go into a low-income housing community and see a lot of the problems that St. Louis has while also hanging out with the kids and becoming a role model for them.
What is your weekly coursework for your major like?
For PNP it depends on the area you are talking about. Psychology classes consist of a lot of tests whereas philosophy classes require more writing. I have yet to take a neuroscience class, so I am unfamiliar with that coursework. Because I am Pre-med I also have labs for that.
What are your major graded assignments?
Is there anything that you feel your department does especially well or especially poorly?
The PNP program does a great job with advising, telling you where you’re at and what you need to do regarding completing your major. I also enjoy the three different disciplines because you never get bored.
Can you describe the learning environment? Do you think it’s particularly competitive or collaborative?
I was surprised at how collaborative Wash U is as a whole, even in my premed classes.
How accessible are your Professors?
They are pretty accessible during their office hours.
Why did you choose PNP?
I ended up choosing PNP because I was in a freshman program called Mind, Brain, and Behavior which counted as an introductory course for the major. It was convenient the way it worked out, and I am happy with my choice.
What kind of nightlife do you participate in at Wash U?
Most of it is through my sorority, be it mixers with fraternities, date parties, or formals.
What nights of the week do you regularly go out?
I mostly go out Friday and Saturday, but sometimes we have mixers on Thursday as well.
What did a typical night out look like your freshman year before joining your sorority?
Freshman year was always hard because you had to ask to be let into the frat or you had to know someone. Usually, we would just go as a big group and see if someone would let us in. A lot of times you would get turned down and end up wandering around which was a lot less fun. Sometimes there would be open parties that would be crazy crowded, and those weren’t that much fun either.
How happy are you with Wash U’s nightlife? Is there anything you would change?
I’m overall happy with it. That being said, it is definitely based on Greek life, and I think if you weren’t in a fraternity or sorority it would be a lot more difficult. I guess I wish that it was more inclusive.
What have been some of your favorite times at Wash U?
The beginning of the semester is always fun because that’s before everyone is stressed and crazy. Welcome Week is always one of my favorite times.
What’s an alternative to going to a party or bar that you like for a night out?
My friends and I like going to dinner or the movies.
On and Around Campus
Where have you lived on campus?
Freshman: Double in the Nathan Dardick House [on the South 40]. Most people share a bathroom with three other people (four total people per bathroom).
Sophomore: Four singles with a common room and a bathroom in Gregg House.
What was your favorite living situation?
So far, my sophomore year living situation has been my favorite because I like having my own room, but I am looking forward to living in an apartment on Washington Ave. Next year, I will share the apartment with three of my friends, and each of us will have our own room and bathroom as well as a shared kitchen so I think I’ll like that even better. The Washington Ave. Apartments are off campus but are owned by Wash U.
How was the transition from Chappaqua, NY, to St. Louis?
Just being away from home and meeting new people is obviously difficult, but I like St. Louis and the area that the school is in. It had less to do with the cities and more to do with leaving home.
Were there any cultural changes?
The school is more diverse. I have also been exposed to more issues in society through clubs and other activities.
Can you describe the level of safety on campus and around campus?
I think Wash U is very safe and I’ve always felt safe walking home alone at night. Wash U has a blue light emergency telephone system, but I’ve never had to use it. I wouldn’t consider safety to be an issue.
Favorite off-campus restaurant?
Pastaria on Forsyth Boulevard
Favorite place to get away from campus?
Forest Park is a nice place to walk around.
Pros and cons of being in the St. Louis, MO area?
1) Easy access to a lot of restaurants, shops, and other nearby businesses.
1) St. Louis isn’t really a walking city, so you have to Uber or use a car share to get to most places.
How did you meet your closest friends?
Through my sorority and then through friends of friends.
How would you describe the social scene?
Everyone definitely cares about their work first, so the social scene is secondary to that. There aren’t a lot of parties during finals, and even during normal weekends most people are in the library all day before they go out.
To what extent do you feel people of different races and sexual orientations mix socially?
There is some divide racially, especially in Greek life where there is a lot less representation, but I think that there is a lot more mixing regarding sexual orientation. [The undergraduate population of 7,715 is 8% Hispanic, 30% Black or African American, and 51% White].
How would you describe the student body?
It is very collaborative, and everyone wants the best for everyone else even though it is a competitive school. People are less cliquey than they were in high school, I think especially since there are more people.
Do people seem happy with Wash U by the time they graduate?
Yes definitely. It seems as though all the students love Wash U and want to be there.
Advice for Prospective Freshmen
Something you wish you knew before entering?
Initially I thought that everyone would be fighting each other and competing for grades, but in reality, it’s way more collaborative, even in the pre-med track. I wish I had known that all the students and teachers want you to do well.
What is something a prospective student may miss on a visit that’s worth checking out?
They should check out Ibby’s which is one of the on-campus restaurants. It’s amazing.
What is something someone interested in Greek life should know?
The process of getting into a sorority is the worst thing ever, but it’s definitely worth it. It’s important to find a place where you feel you belong. This shouldn’t be based off what your friends are doing or other stereotypes, just do what feels right for you.
Why is rushing the “worst thing ever?”
It was just a really stressful situation because everyone is comparing who got invited back where. It is especially stressful because you have to go back to campus early from winter break, so it is only girls on campus, and all they talk about is Rush. I really hated it.
Reasons to attend Wash U:
1) It’s an academically rigorous environment, but at the same time everyone is friendly and welcoming.
2) The genuinely great people here who are nice, welcoming, and caring, and not materialistic.
3) It is an amazing school with great teachers.
Reasons to not attend Wash U:
1) Not a lot of school spirit.
2) Not a big party school. People don’t go out five days a week.