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First Year @ Vandy: Expectations V. Realities

Posted by on Saturday, May 14, 2016 in Academics, Admissions, Blair School of Music, College Life, College of Arts and Science, Commons, Culture, Dining, Diversity, Exams, Family, Food, Freshman Life, General Information, Health, Housing, Nashville, Pre-Med, Religious Life, Student Life, Student Organizations, Studying, VUcept.

Hey y’all! I asked the members of the Vanderbilt Class of 2020 what they would like to read from Inside Dores, and one very sweet first-year asked me to write about my expectations of Vanderbilt versus the realities. These are just my thoughts, but there will be a subsequent post from my friends about their own expectations versus their realities. If you have anything you’d like to ask me about, let me know! I love Vanderbilt so much and I’d love to answer anything you have to ask! Just shoot me an email at

  1. College dating: Kind of, not really. More people are doing long-distance than you would think, and the reality of people breaking up with high school boyfriends and girlfriends midway through first semester is less than you would think. Also, going on dates is definitely less of a thing. The basic idea here is: it’s different than you would think… in other words, “it’s complicated.”
  2. It’ll be hard (but not that hard) to get A’s: This is true. It’s not stay-up-til-4-am wake-up-at-7-am difficult, but it will require some early mornings and late nights on the 6-8th floors of Central, the Stevenson library, Peabody, or your dorm room (although in the last, SO many distractions). Don’t take on too many extracurriculars, know where your limits are, and the A’s will be yours. For the record, it is possible to take Math 2300 (Multivariable Calculus), the premed Biology and Lab, the Gen Chem lecture and lab, and earn a 4.0. One of my amazing floormates did it. (Love you, Teresa!) Decide where your priorities lie early on, and then stick with them. (For instance, you’re struggling in a math class that you don’t technically need to be in. You can be in a lower math class and still get the same credit. For goodness’s sake, take the lower math class. If you’re struggling a lot, consider dropping the class or withdrawing from it if you happen to miss the drop-add period).
    I don't actually know who these people are, since this was from the archives. But look at them, they're studying! #priorities :)

  3. I’ll switch out of Math 2500/01: I remember the comfort I felt when my counselor told me that I could drop Math 2500 if it were too hard. Well, it was too hard, but I didn’t drop it. And somehow, I managed to finish with a decent grade. For more info, check out this post on Math 2500! If you’re fortunate enough to take this class (and I say this with all sincerity), you’re going to have so much fun! Professor Bruce Hughes is an AMAZING professor. <3
  4. Dorm decorating will be easy to coordinate: Your roomie and you will both like flowers… but different styles of flowers. Your favorite colors will be the same, but different shades. You might agree on a theme, but have different interpretations. It’s okay, you’ll work it out. And if the room appears to be split in half, that’s okay too. Worried about posters? Vandy has an awesome poster sale at the beginning of the year (on the card!) where you can get posters for around $10 each.
    A Dorm room! From the archives <3

  5. My roomie will be not my best friend, but a good friend: Your roomie should be someone you can live with. That’s all. You don’t have to stay up til 3 am with the late night talks… if you don’t click with each other that well, you’ll find other people to talk late with you. You don’t have to get every meal together (or any meals together) to be good roomies. All you have to do is take out the trash and recycling, know that there’s enough outlets for everyone, sweep the floor once in a while, and don’t let your mess invade the other person’s space. Also, try really hard to coordinate sleep schedules and be honest if you’re a light sleeper/messy or if you might come home drunk/with someone else. Be honest with your roomie. Be very honest. This is what good roomie relationships are made of. (Also, the Facebook Roomie Search with the cute little bios is a wonderful way to find a roomie. It’s probably the best way that you’ll know a lot about a person at a glance. Just truth though, the times that a person says that they’re going to go to sleep/wake up are not realistic (like ever). A person will probably be different on Facebook chat than in person. I know this is commonsense advice, but it’s all true.
  6. Roomie stuff will be easy (after all,  I’ve lived with my sister for 17 years): So, taking out the trash will seem harder than it really is. Your roomie might put half-full or nearly-full bottles of water in the trash. Or microwavable containers with food still in them. In other words, the trash might get gross/become really heavy/break. The recycling will also become annoying to sort at a certain point. You may not realize there’s four outlets in one spot and be passive-aggressively competitively using two because the other two were blocked by your (now dented) drying rack. (This is a very specific situation, so obviously it’s happened… maybe even to me ;)). One person’s mess might stress out the other (And the other will suffer in silence before saying anything). So the reality? Roomie stuff is definitely a little more difficult than you thought it would be.

  7. My floor will be super-tight/I’ll know the girls on the other side of the hall/I’ll know everyone’s name on my floor by end of first semester: For some reason, there were two roomies who looked very much alike. For fear of calling them the wrong name, I never called them anything at all. Those five-minute bathroom conversations were feats of courage. Inter-floor bonding became the right side getting super close… and the left side becoming super close. Lots more people will hang out in the common room than you think, though, so definitely spend some time there to meet some awesome people. And it’s okay if you never learn anyone’s name. I’m sure the two girls never knew mine either.          On the other hand, there were the 3 AM and 5:30 AM conversations with the sweetest girls ever on my floor and some of the guys from the floor below. We shared chocolate, chips, stories, and parts of our lives. We traded shoes, brooms, detergent, and silly videos of our siblings. I’ve always wondered what it was like to go to a boarding school, and Stam5 & 4 really gave me that feeling during those moments when I came back late from Stevenson and couldn’t go to sleep. There’s nothing like lying on your floormate’s bed, totally exhausting, talking about nothing with the nicest people ever. Stam5, love y’all!
    My GORGEOUS floor!!!! Shout-out to Rita, Veronica, Colleen, Emily, Anne, Shreya, Abby, Julianna, KJ, Alice, Teresa... I actually can't name all of y'all because there's too many. But I love everyone and thank you for being the best floormates ever!!!

  8. The 4.0 GPA is impossible: The 4.0 GPA is definitely possible (shoutout to my roomie! <3). It just requires strategically planning your classes so you don’t take my math class and doing well in GenChem. But the 4.0 GPA is definitely possible. (Good luck!!! You can do it!!!)
  9. Drinking is kind of a thing: Although I have lots of friends who do drink, I have lots who don’t. If you don’t drink, you’ll find friends who also don’t drink. If you do drink, you’ll find the friends who do. People kind of find each other. I don’t drink because I don’t go to parties where there’s alcohol; I definitely don’t think drinking is bad (in my family, there’s usually a glass or two of wine or champagne at special family dinners). I do think being drunk can be dangerous, though, not only because you might end up in the hospital, but also because you’re not outwardly turned towards others when you’re drunk, and you may not be able to help a friend who may need help during a party or afterwards. So everything in moderation, dears.
  10. Missing real plates isn’t a thing: Oh my goodness… real plates! I love them so much. Commons is great but real plates (thank you, Sitar!) are so much better. #appreciation
  11. I’ve wanted to leave for 18 years… I won’t be homesick: Sophie’s family promises to come to Family Weekend. Sophie tells them not to come because she will have just seen them last month. Sophie then tears up when she sees all the families together and ends up hugging someone else’s family when she was supposed to go to a party. Yeah.
  12. “Exploring Nashville”: Less of a thing than you would think. There’s so much to do on campus, and honestly, sometimes you’re just too tired to bus/Uber anywhere. These are the times when curling up in Cohen and talking with friends is just so much better. On the other hand, this lazy/talk feeling thing does not diminish the totally free feeling of walking on the streets of Nashville, hearing the music from the bars and deciding which restaurant to go to, nor the freedom of hiking through Radnor, trees everywhere, no Vandy columns. Nashville is awesome :) It just can be tiring.
    This is the Symphony! The Symphony is awesome and beautiful and one of the best things in Nashville!

  13. Rain is not a thing: Rain is TOTALLY a thing. Don’t lose your rain boots. I’m still unsure as to how exactly I did this, but I lost them. I also have learned that sneakers do not substitute for rain boots. Only rain boots substitute for rain boots. Also, have two umbrellas. Umbrellas are the type of thing that people feel okay about taking if one is left somewhere and doesn’t seem to have an owner. Rain jackets are nice, but if you have rainboots and an umbrella, then you’re pretty set.
  14. I’ll become super toned because of walking: Actually, yes. But then, cookies in Rand. So, kind of.
  15. I’ll know a lot of people: This is true, because there’s so many people to meet! People on your floor, people in Visions, people in your sorority/fraternity if you rush, people in your religious life group if you choose to join one, people in your classes, people in your labs, people in your clubs… meet ALL the people! Because it’s definitely awesome to be able to say “Oh, I know them!” because you had the privilege of meeting that lovely person. Three questions you’ll hear in the first few months are: “Hi! What’s your name? Where you are you from? What’s your major?” Try to elaborate when you answer these questions so y’all don’t sound repetitive. Also, try really, really hard to remember that person’s name. If you really like them and think “potential friend!”, get their number and get lunch with them later.
  16. I want to know a lot people, but I don’t know how I’m going to make friends. I kind of forgot how . How did I make friends in high school? I really couldn’t remember. But friendships are natural things, and in college, because of the amount of time y’all can spend together, people get very close, very fast. Just realize, though, there’s no replacement for the amount of years you’ve known someone, and each person has had lots of past experiences and friends that you know nothing about because you weren’t there. So keep an open mind, keep your perspective, excel in real conversations, and make an effort to learn names. Chat with everyone: the person behind you at Munchie, the person waiting in line for the printer with you, the person at the Stevenson library desk. Friendships are built on casual conversations which become deep talks. Start the casual conversations, and find a friend for life. :)
  17. I’m an… okay violinist?: Revelation: Oh my goodness. I really, really need to practice. Like a lot.
    This is where I recently had my violin jury! This is the reason I need to practice a lot :)

  18. Seniors have their lives together: Revelation: No one has their life together. Ever ever ever ever.
  19. I probably won’t rush (I’m just not the blond type): Revelation: You don’t have to be the “blond type.” Everyone can join a sorority, and if you’re intimidated because of what a sorority looks like on the outside, don’t let that stop you if you like the girls. It matters much more what’s on the inside than what’s on the outside. I didn’t go Greek not because of the type of girls, but because I wanted something more out of a sorority: something that would shape me spiritually as well as emotionally, or physically (although, my big and I do “Workout Wednesdays” <3) That’s why I joined Phi lamb, the Christian sorority. For my post on Phi Lamb, check out this post!
  20. Vanderbilt is AWESOME: Sure, there were those days when I walked past Stevenson and I regretted ever saying yes to Vandy. But those days numbered about two. When asked what I don’t like about Vandy, I can’t think of a thing. I love Vanderbilt. I love the extracurriculars that I participate in, I love the differential equations which I investigate through my research, I love the class material that I can dive into and tear apart. Most of all, I love the relationships I’ve built there and the love that is practically tangible when I step foot on campus. In other words, Vanderbilt is AWESOME.
My beautiful, beautiful home!