Looking back upon my college career, the one thing I wish I would known as a young, eager freshman is that it's o.k. to feel scared. College is your first big step into the real world as the adjustment does not come easily. Away from your parents and the comfort of home, adjusting to life at college is tough! Knowing that the growing pains of college is a part of the process would have allowed me to feel 'more normal'.
I wish I would have known how to best diversify my friend group. Coming from a majority-minority high school, I experienced a great deal of culture shock when I first attended Vanderbilt. It was difficult to find my place admist such a large group of students who did not look like me, or seem to care about the qualities which make me different. However, the living-learning communities in the dorms and around campus help facilitate an environment that can help students feel most welcome.
I wish I had known to go to office hours more frequently from the beginning. A relationship with your professor is an invaluable thing and can realy make all of the difference in your college experience.
I wish I had known what the social life and religious life was like on campus.
I wish I had known more about Greek life and how prevalent it is at Vanderbilt as well as many other schools. Underage drinking is also incredibly common, which took me by surprise as a freshman. Maybe I was sheltered at home, but it took me a while to get used to these kinds of social activities.
I guess I would have liked to know more about the student population.
There is a lot more partying on campus than you think. It can be difficult to get enrolled in the classes you want. It is tough academically, but not as tough as you think it will be.
I wish I had known how much I would love the company of peers that pushed me academically. If I had realized that, I wouldn't have even considered a less academically challenging school. I also wish I had known that the key to doing well is studying hard and asking questions and that it didn't matter that I got in from the waitlist. I would have been far less nervous about being successful in college if I had known that.
Greek life dominates the social scene, and it affects you whether or not you choose to go greek. It is also difficult to adjust to campus life if you are not white and middle-upper class, but with time (and lots of counseling), Vandy can and eventually will feel like home.
I wish i had known how superficial people can be.
I wish I had a greater understanding of the associated costs to be involved on campus.
I wish I had known more about the Greek scene at Vanderbilt before I came. None of my family members had been in sororities or fraternities in college, so I knew relatively little about it compared to many of the other students. I did choose to join a sorority and am very happy with that decision; however, I wish that I'd known more at the start of my first year to avoid general confusion about the system and recruitment process. Greek life can be a very big part of life at Vanderbilt if students want it to be.
I am not from the South, so coming here was a bit of a culture shock. I am not as materialistic as many of my fellow students, and, though I wouldn't say that has taken away from my overall experience, it's definitely influenced it. I have to remind myself to keep things in perspective. Also, there is a lot of appearance-related pressure put on female students, which can have a negative effect on you if you aren't careful.
Really nothing. Vanderbilt prepares everything you need.
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