Negative: Liberal, LGBTQ+, rich white kids
Positive: nature loving, very kind, humble and generous with their time
Davidson has a diversity of students, faculty, and staff. There are people from all races, religions, and beliefs on campus. While the school has a reputation of being predominately white and southern in its student body, the school is taking an active approach in incorporating students from around the nation, and the world. That reputation is not the case now and the stereotype will disappear in the next 5-10 years. In terms of personality type, almost all students share the same motto of "work hard, play hard." Every single student at Davidson is intelligent and wants to do well, not just in school, but life. That being said, students also like to have fun.
The most prominent stereotype of Davidson students is that we are forced to spend all of our time studying. No, we do not spend all of our time studying, but it does take up a great deal of time in order for success to be possible.
In terms of the workload, it is very important for a prospective student to understand that Davidson really does give a lot of work in addition to very difficult reviews (our word for tests), and that it is an adjustment from high school. "Grade deflation", or lower average grades, is not a myth, although it's not impossible to conquer grade deflation and get an A. Part of the reason that Davidson students feel that the workload is so intense is the fact that most of us are deeply involved in extracurriculars, whether it's a sports team, an a-capella group, or a service organization. A lot of us simply don't have enough hours in the day, which makes the stress from studying to be greater and the workload to seem much larger. But to be honest, I would not have it any other way. We love what we learn, we love the personal attention from our professors and the support they give us, and we love how the material resonates long after the test. We know why we're here, and we accept and love it. There really isn't enough hours in a day for all of the extracurriculars and studying that we do, but at Davidson, we realize that what we do is worth it and will pay off in the end.
As for the part of our lives that does not involve studying, we do have an active social life, which contradicts the stereotype of Davidson students being all work and no play. After a long school week, it's nice to be able to go out, have a great time, and leave the work until the next day. Parties take place mostly on Wednesdays, Fridays, and Saturdays, with Friday usually being the most active night and Wednesday the least. For partiers, people usually mingle at F (Armfield senior apartments) and then go to Court Parties, which are dance parties in one of the fraternity houses or Eating Houses (like a sorority, but all-inclusive with no rush process). For people who would prefer to stay away from that scene, the Union Board hosts a ton of really awesome activities, like cookie decorating contests, dances, movies, free Build-a-Bear, and concerts. There is something fun to do for everyone, which we all fully take advantage of. We work hard-but we also play hard, whether it's showing off our moves at Court Parties or building a cute stuffed animal we'll love forever. I really enjoy all of the social events that Davidson has to offer-such a nice break from my psychology textbook! But there's a reason that the library is so crowded on Sundays-after a great weekend of playing hard, we all realize that we have to go back to working hard. Another stereotype of Davidson students is that we're very stereotypically Southern-white and conservative. I would say that this is somewhat true. I feel like most of the people I meet at Davidson are from Charlotte or some place close in North Carolina, and that there are a few Southern influences in Davidson life, i.e. one of the most popular meals in Commons is fried chicken, macaroni and cheese, and collard greens, and people get a little too excited for Carolina Cup. Although there are lots of people from North Carolina, as I mentioned before, there are enough people from the North, West, Midwest, and out of the country for there to be geographic diversity. In terms of the "white" aspect, the majority of students is white, but Davidson has been working diligently to change that with the S.T.R.I.D.E. program, more courses about African American culture and a new Latin American Studies Major, and publishing editorials on the subject. I would also note that most Davidson students are generally politically liberal, but dress and mannerisms are more consistently conservative.
Davidson is characterized as a work hard, play hard school filled with the WASPYiest of WASPS. While these stereotypes fit Davidson superficially, I don't think it's the whole picture. While Davidson isn't the most ethnically diverse campus, there is more to diversity than race. With the Davidson Trust in place, students from all backgrounds can afford Davidson-- I'm not rich, some of my friends are and some of them aren't. On my hall we have at least 5 countries represented including South Korea, Nigeria, and Ethiopia. My roommate is Hawaiian and one of my neighbors is Alaskan. And that's just a normal hall, not an international or otherwise special hall. Davidson is also not nearly as conservative as the stereotype would imply. In fact, Davidson voted 55% for Obama in 08'. The campus is fairly evenly split between political affiliations. It's only conservative relative to the extreme progressiveness of most liberal art colleges. Swarthmore is over 95% liberal, same for Middlebury and similar schools. While I don't agree with everyone on campus, I think it's great to be so politically diverse-- it strengthens the campus dialogues and challenges what you believe. The sterotype of working hard and playing hard is definitely true. Davidson students are worked to the bone. After hours of homework and projects, Davidson students party pretty hard. While it is rare for students to go out more than once or twice a week, there is a court party at least 3 times a week. Perhaps the least noticed part of Davidson's student body is the fact that 50% of Davidson students were varsity athletes in high school, and 25% of students are D1 athletes. This means almost everyone on campus is fit. You would never believe in the obesity epidemic if you only lived on campus. Finally, underwriting everything, Davidson students are incredibly nice. It is weird when someone doesn't hold the door for you-- even as a male! People are kind. Need a ride to the ER? Someone will drive you. Need a ride to Cookout? Someone will drive you. Left your catcard in your room and need to pay for dinner at the Union? Someone will swipe you. Davidson students look after their own.
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