Inside 'Dores

Home » Academics » How Do I Know?

How Do I Know?

Anne Walker

So I was talking to my younger sister for a while last night, and naturally she asked me how my first year was going, if I liked it, if I really did have friends, what was so great, and all the other typical sibling questions. And obviously I answered them all, but she seemed to be looking for a totally different explanation: how I could like it here.

You see, my family’s from Massachusetts, so naturally we have this notion that everything is better in New England. It was kind of a surprise to my family when I chose to come here to Vanderbilt in what might as well be another country to a New Englander. I think my sister, along with many other relatives and friends of mine, is still trying to figure out what makes this place so great, how I could possibly be so happy here in a place that is not New England.

Well, Sarah (and all other people who are too proper to ask me outright), here’s how I know I’m in the right place.

I know I am getting an incredible education here, both inside and outside of the classroom, and I know I am surrounded by incredibly talented people. But, and this is a big deal to me, I don’t feel like I walk into classes trying to compete with my classmates. When I’m confused in class, there is no shame in asking questions, no matter how simple, and I feel comfortable turning to the people next to me and asking for help. Your classmates are actually not secretly rooting against you or waiting for you to fail; we help each other here.

This kind of collaborative studying is the norm here at Vandy.

This sounds really strange, but it makes a big difference. I loved my high school, but it was a competitive college-prep school. People were willing to help each other to some extent, but it often felt like we were trying to outdo one another. Maybe it helped motivate us or better prepare us to get into college, but the collaborative environment here is doing far better than that: it’s preparing us for the real world, to work in teams and for a common goal rather than selfishly. It’s teaching us the value of supporting our colleagues, and it makes a world of difference when I walk into class each day. My Organic Chemistry professor brings in cookies after our exams for the student(s) with the highest grade and student(s) with the most improved grade. And we clap for them rather than sitting in our seats and pouting that we aren’t receiving the cookies. When students have a relevant insight from another class they’re taking, they can speak up without feeling like a show-off, and we all benefit and learn from it.

It really is 1,100 miles from my house to my new home at Vandy. And somehow it is totally worth every mile. Thanks, google maps, for the illustration.

It doesn’t hurt that Vanderbilt also provides endless opportunities for activities, adventures and concerts (yes, I’m seeing Taylor Swift with my roommate tonight!!!!) Also, I’m 1,100 miles from my house and, though I do miss my family and friends, I feel completely at home.

So, to pull a Breakfast Club here:

Dear family and friends,

I accept the fact that I had to sacrifice seeing your beautiful faces daily for whatever it was that I saw in Vanderbilt. I think you’re crazy to make me try to explain why I think I’m here. You think what you want to think, in the simplest terms, in the most convenient definitions. But what I’ve found out is that each student here is a genius and a supporter and a Vandy fan, a friend and a Commodore. Does that answer your question?

Sincerely yours, the Breakfast Club (fanatic)

  • Carolyn Pippen

    Great post Anne! We’re so glad you’re enjoying Year 1 :-)

  • Diane Turner

    My son was just accepted ED for next fall. Reading this blog post made me cry. God, I hope he has chosen the “right” place for him. Only time will tell.

  • Anne

    @dianeturner:disqus Congratulations to your son!!! The first-year experience is truly incredible, and, while I can’t guarantee anything, I am confident that your son will find his place at Vanderbilt and hopefully fall in love with it like myself and so many of my classmates!

Back Home   

we're talking about

a cappella a-capella Abroad Academics acceptance activities admissions admissions office advice alpha chi omega Alternative Spring Break Alumni alumni hall Alumni Lawn anchor down AOII Applications applying to college Art ASB athenian sing Athletics AXLE AXLE requirements backpacking Baking balance basketball BCM belcourt Belcourt Theater bid day Big Brothers Big Sisters Bike biology biomedical engineering birthday Blair Blair School of Music blog Blogging Bluebird Cafe BME Bolivia Books Branscomb break Breakfast brevard Bridgestone arena British broadway busy BYX Cafe Coco Café con Leche caitlyn's catch-ups California camping campus campus dining catch-up chronicles cello Centennial Park Central Library CFHI Chancellor's Scholars Chicago child development children China choosing a major choosing Vanderbilt christian christmas Circuits class Class of 2016 Class of 2017 class of 2018 class of 2019 class of 2020 Classes Club Soccer Club Sports Clubs coffee Cognitive Studies College College Halls College Life college of arts and science college sports Commencement Commodore Card Commodore Cruise Commodore Quake commodores commons Commons Ball Commons Center Commons Cup Commons Dining Commons Mix Up Commons Seminar community Community service competition Computer Science concert Concerts Cooking Corporate Strategy Country Music creative writing Culture dance Dance Marathon dancing date party dean wcislo decisions derby days Dessert Dining Dinner disney Diversity diwali Dorm Rooms dorms downtown downtown nashville Early Decision East Nashville Economics ed sheeran Edinburgh education End of Semester end of the semester engineering English exam exams exercise exploring Extracurriculars fall Fall Break family family weekend Festival fido finals finals week financial aid first semester First Year five days of harry Florida food football founder's walk franklin fraternity free food french freshman Freshman Life Freshman Year Freshmen friends fun GEO global education office goals graduate school graduation Greek Life Grins guatemala HAC Halloween happiest students Harry Potter health Health Care High school highland quad hiking hillsboro Hillsboro Village hockey HOD holiday holidays home homecoming Homework honors seminar Housing houston how to study for finals Human and Organizational Development ice Ice Cream IFSA-Butler Inside Dores International International Student internship internships Interviews Intramurals james franklin Jeni's job Jobs Kappa Kappa Gamma Kentucky kissam Kitchen Laundry leadership Libraries library list London major making friends managerial studies marketing Masala-SACE math Mayfield Maymester MCAT meal plan Mechanical Engineering Mechatronics medical school medicine Megabus mellow mushroom melodores Memorial House memories MHS Midterms MOSAIC Move Crew Move-In movies Munchie Mart Music Music City Music on Campus Nashville Nashville Predators Nashville sports Nashville Symphony Nationals nature neuroscience new semester new york city NYC OACS off campus Office of Active Citizenship and Service on campus events on-campus opportunities Orchestra organizations orientation original cast Outdoors Packing pancake pantry Pancakes panhellenic recruitment parent's weekend Parking PCC Peabody performance Performances performing arts Phi Lamb philanthropy philosophy physics poetry Poland Political Science practicum pre-med procrastination professor professors questions rand Reading Rec Center recruitment redpepper Reflection Registration relaxing Religious Life research restaurant retreat Rites of Spring Rome roommate ROTC Running rush ryman Schedule School school spirit Scotland season sec Semester senior Senior Year Service shadow shakespeare shopping sick sigma phi lambda sleep snow snow day soccer social life sororities sorority South Africa Spanish speakers SPEAR sports Spring Spring Break Spring Semester squirrels Stambaugh Stevenson Stevenson Center stress student health Student Life student organizations Student Orgs Study Study Abroad Study Break studying Summer Summer Break Sustainability Sweet Cece's Swing Dancing Switzerland tailgating Taste of Nashville Taylor Swift teaching Tennessee Tests Textbooks thanksgiving Thanksgiving Break The Music Group The Pub The Vanderbilt Hustler theatre Time time management tour tour guide towers tpac training transfer transfer students travel trees tutoring ultimate frisbee undergraduate research university catholic University College London University of Edinburgh vacation Valentine's Day Vanderbilt Vanderbilt Admissions vanderbilt athletics vanderbilt football vanderbilt medical center Vanderbilt Programming Board vanderbilt student government Vanderbilt University Theatre Vanderbilt Visions vanderbubble Vandy Vandy Bubble Vegetarian Victory Victory A cappella VIDA Visions visiting home volunteer Volunteering VPB vsg VSVS VUcept VUceptor VUT Weather weekend Weekends Why Vanderbilt Wilderness Skills WilSkills win winning winter winter break work Writing YES Zanzibar


Recent Posts

  • Screen Shot 2016-10-27 at 11.24.22 AM Claudia Willen’s Day Off » 10.27.16
  • cope 1 The Road to Copenhagen » 10.21.16
  • Ah yes, the classic celebrity ambush selfie, my favorite A Variety of Speakers » 10.16.16
  • They play the music, I do the PR, now we just need a manager! Welcome to the Mayborhood » 10.16.16
  • Screen Shot 2016-10-16 at 10.41.30 PM The Vanderbilt Balancing Act » 10.16.16

Browse by Month