A Series of Firsts
Hey guys! My name’s Ishani and I’m a freshman in the School of Engineering. As an international student from London, England, my time at Vanderbilt could be characterized as a series of firsts, for example going to my first football game (a rite of passage, even though I had no idea what was going on and accidentally cheered for the wrong team, awkward) and eating my first s’more (and hence discovering the meaning of life). More seriously though, I’ve also learned my first important life lessons about Vanderbilt and the international student experience, and I’d like to share three of these with you today. I hope you’ll find this blog useful if you decide to attend Vanderbilt (do it!) and if you have any questions at all, please feel free to leave a comment below and I’ll get back to you ASAP!
- Embrace your culture and background – Students at Vandy are smart, inquisitive and tolerant. If you come from an unusual background or have a unique story to tell, shout it out; they want to know! I’ve had so many amazingly random conversations with complete strangers simply because they heard my accent and wanted to learn more. Sure, sometimes the conversations have involved me having to say ‘words that Brits say weirdly’ (Harry Potter, aluminium and tomato being the big favourites) but others have led to the formation of new friendships, invitations to Thanksgiving and even free food (shout out to the guy at Chipotle for giving me my meal for free because of my accent!).
- Attend ALL the CommonVU events, even the ones that sound dorky – You’ll meet such a diverse range of students (maybe even your future BFF!) and at the very least, there will always be free pizza and t-shirts. You will be exhausted at the end of the week, particularly so if you’re simultaneously dealing with jet-lag, but it will have been so worth it. My personal favourite events have been Founder’s Walk, Anchor Dash and the Theatre Department’s Ice Cream Social.
- It’s okay to feel overwhelmed – Whether you’re coming to Vanderbilt from Tanzania or Tennessee, college can be a tough transition for anyone. It’s important to know that there are so many resources available at Vandy to help you, from your VUceptors and RAs to your Heads of House and the PCC – you are not alone!