There are numerous reasons to pick a liberal arts education. Employers have found clear value in hiring students educated at liberal arts institutions, specifically citing their broad range of knowledge and their critical thinking abilities. The diversity of the mind present at a Liberal Arts institution is worth the price of admission, but I want to talk about a specific element of the liberal arts education – distribution requirements.
Upon arriving on Davidson’s campus in the fall of 2009, I feared the distribution requirements. The requirements have now changed at Davidson, addressing modes of thought over specific disciplines. With that said, I knew four years ago that I would have to satisfy my fine arts and science requirements. This task was daunting, especially for a person who loves politics but can barely draw a stick figure and finds little pleasure in solving quadratic equations. However, Davidson has created classes for students of all different comfort levels to satisfy distribution requirements and develop critical skills to succeed in the world beyond Davidson.
I decided to enroll in an Introduction to Theater course. I hadn’t acted since the sixth grade (though I recieve critical acclaim starring as Pinocchio in an All Children’s Theater production in my hometown), but I was excited to see the theater from a new light. I absolutely loved this course, which allowed me to work backstage for a main stage Davidson production. It was a wonderful experience, and one that rekindled my love of the theater.
The second class is a course I am currently taking titled “the Physics around You.” We are learning about physics by taking a practical approach to a daunting, and many times quite challenging, subject. It is a hands on course that has allowed me to explore how physics is truly involved in every interaction of our everyday lives. I never knew how particles interacted in the world around me, and I am gaining practical knowledge that will enrich my life.
Distribution requirements may seem like a burden, but the liberal arts education is a powerful experience. And at Davidson, we pursue the liberal arts in the right way.
Everyone asks me why I picked a college in North Carolina. I am a native Rhode Islander, raised on the ski slopes of New England. I am used to snow days, two hour school delays, and snow ball fights. I am not used to the southern lifestyle, having never spent more than a few days south of the Mason-Dixon Line at any point during my childhood.
My typical response to the “why did I pick Davidson” question encompasses aspects of the Honor Code, the vibrant community, and the wonderful people here at Davidson. Those responses, while certainly correct, do not include the fact that I wanted something different. I wanted a new experience, yearning for something not present in my hometown.
I wanted to experience the South. I wanted to experience ‘Southern Hospitality.’ But even more than that, I was sick of the cold. Today, January 29th, it is 71 degrees and sunny in Davidson. It’s January! I never imagined wearing shorts in January. The wonderful temperate weather and the hospitable people have made North Carolina a great place to spend my college years. Now, while these two characteristics are not distinct to Davidson, it is hard to walk throughout this campus on a beautiful day like today and not smile. Folks, college is supposed to be a beautiful place filled with learning and development, and Davidson is certainly gorgeous.
All my best from a chair on the lawn,
Davidson Class of 2013
We are back! After a break during the exam period and holidays, the Davidson College Admission’s blog is ready for a facelift. We will be posting about student and faculty/staff experiences on campus, updating the community about events, and mentioning fun facts about Davidson. Stay tuned!
When deciding upon which colleges to apply to, some high school students look to favorite college sports teams. They want the typical Saturday football experience of attending a stadium of 100,000+ screaming fans, or the feeling of rushing the court after a major basketball victory. For some students, being involved in athletics, either as a student-athlete or as a fan, is a major part of their college experience.
A few facts. Davidson is one of the smallest colleges with division 1 athletics (in terms of enrollment). Yet Davidson has a rich tradition of success on the field/court/etc. Approximately 25% of our student body are division 1 athletes, and Davidson has seen major success. From almost making it to the final four in mens basketball during March Madness in 2008 (with Steph Curry, of course), to numerous conference and playoff victories in both mens and womens sports, we have a strong tradition of excellence.
Yet something almost equally as important as our athletes are those who support them. Students, faculty, and community members make a conscious effort to support athletics, packing our stadiums on a weekly basis. This was apparent last saturday at the men’s soccer game against East Tennessee State, when Peter Paras (’13) scored on a free kick in double overtime for a 2-1 Davidson win. The team not only rushed the field to mob Peter, but the players ran towards the student section of the crowd and jumped into the stands to embrace fans who cheered them on throughout the game. It was an amazing victory, and should give the team good momentum going into upcoming contests against top-25 teams.
Davidson is proud of our Division 1 Athletic program. Learn more at bit.ly/PI7PTA.
Welcome back everyone!
It has been a restful five weeks of Winter Break, and I have a lot to catch up on! At the end of last semester, I was consumed by finals, but yesterday was the start of Spring semester (already!). It feels great to be back on campus, especially as juniors who were abroad in the Fall are returning.
I have a lot to catch up on. So, in a nutshell… My trip to Colombia with my seminar was incredible. I’ve never done anything like it, nor did I know much about South America in general before the class. We had some priceless opportunities to meet with people who are making true changes inside Colombia, see the progress of security and governance reforms, and, best of all, tour some of the beautiful country!
Today concludes Parents Weekend at Davidson! Lots of families come down for the weekend to attend the various student performances and athletic events going on during the weekend. Davidson also hosted the International Festival, in which students staff booths representing different countries and cultures–with everything from food to henna tattoos!
Wow. I am sorry (and kind of embarrassed) how long it has been since my last post. It would be impossible to sum up all the experiences I have had in the last month in one post; pretty sure I would be the next Tom Wolfe, considering how absurdly long it would be. Instead, I will create a (relatively) short list of events in my life during the past month, along with some pictures.
-Taught English classes in a “colegio,” or school for students aged 12-16. (The Spanish school system runs differently).
-Actively participated in a self-named “Gaudi Day” in Barcelona, where I visited La Sagrada Familia, La Casa Batllón, La Casa Mila, and Park Guell in one day. I even picnicked outside La Sagrada Familia–talk about a view!
-Attended the largest concert in Europe, dressed in the required all white, while in Barcelona.
-Visited some fellow Wildcats in Florence, Italy, while seeing the infamous Duomo, Puente di Vecchio, and the Uffizi Gallery and eating the BEST GELATO IN THE WORLD.
-Thrown a coin into the Trevi Fountain, entered the Pantheon, gazed in awe in St. Peter’s Basilica, and stood mesmerized by the Sistine Chapel.
-Watched more Spanish movies than I ever thought possible
-Listened to my host madre talk about her life as the wife of a prominent policeman in Basque country when it was terrorized by ETA
-Witnessed a protest on the way back from studying
-Taken midterms at a school other than Davidson
-And made more grammatical and vocabulary mistakes in Spanish than probably humanly possible.
And that is just a handful of things that have happened to me in the past month. I cannot even begin to describe how much I have learned in the 2 months I have been here and am grateful and excited the for the 2 months to come. I’m headed to Paris and the Netherlands for 5 days once midterms end on Thursday, so I’m sure I’ll have some great stuff to report back on in a week. A bit different fall break than I’m used to at Davidson, but I’ll take it!
My birthday was yesterday! I don’t just mention that so everyone will know – although receiving a few more gifts and “Happy Birthday” wishes is never a bad thing As I was hanging out with my friends yesterday celebrating my birthday I couldn’t help thinking back to freshmen year. In my family birthdays are HUGE. We make a big deal of them – we get a good amount of
presents, the birthday person chooses where we go to dinner, we order a cake – it’s a production.
Coming to college I was worried my birthday traditions would have to be forgotten. Would mine and other people’s birthdays’ no longer be important? I was in college now, away from my family and our birthday “traditions”. Luckily, when the first birthday on my hall rolled around, we made our own traditions. On 2nd Belk my freshmen year every birthday we would ALL (boys and girls) stay up until midnight of the person’s birthday. At midnight we would walk to their room and sing to them. We also presented them with a birthday cake or cupcakes or cookies – whatever they loved. My hall counselor always created a big sign to display next to the person’s room, so we could all write them a birthday message.
Birthdays were some of the best memories from my hall freshmen year. We would all come together to celebrate one person, whether we were super close to them or not. It made their birthday special when their family wasn’t able to make it special for them. Even though we were far from home and in college we still made a big deal over everyone’s birthday – just like my family would have. We still celebrated like we were elementary school kids, pumped to go to the next themed party. I know other halls created birthday traditions too. One of the freshmen on the swim team told me her hall this year goes to Ben and Jerry’s for ice cream when it’s someone’s birthday. Others will go outto dinner. No matter what it is Davidson students are involved in each other’s
lives. We celebrated (and continue to celebrate) each other because we are a
tight knit community, a family.
“Recruitment” has officially begun. For Patterson Court that is. Patterson Court consists of all the fraternities, sororities, and eating houses on the Davidson campus – essentially it is the “Greek” system. I’m a member of Turner Eating House, one of the four eating houses found at Davidson. The other three are Warner, Connor, and Rusk. Eating houses are, as the name suggests, a place where sophomore, junior, and senior members can eat. We do not live at our eating houses; we only eat there (which again may be obvious). Eating Houses and fraternities also host parties open to the whole campus on the weekends and participate in various service opportunities.
Eating Houses do not have a “rushing” process. We have instead “self selection”. First semester freshmen year girls have various opportunities to get to know members of the four houses through freshmen events the houses sponsor. Many girls join eating houses, but many others do not. At the beginning of second semester girls who are interested in joining an eating house fill out a form that ranks the four houses. There is a computer program that randomly assigns girls a number and then goes through the girls in order of the number and places them in their top choice house until spots are filled. If all the spots in the house have been filled, the computer will place a girl in her second choice house. Most girls end up in their first or second choice. Only on occasion are girls placed in their lowest ranked house. For the rest of second semester freshmen attend meetings at the house and normally participate in house activities – like cleaning the house every Sunday or helping with a particular service. It is not until first semester sophomore year that girls begin eating there on a regular basis.
Each eating house is unique; however there are a range of girls in every house. Turner has girls that are involved in so many different things – service organizations, religious life, sports teams, – anything and everything. Eating Houses are a great way to meet a lot of new girls that you may not have met otherwise. They also are a good way to stay connected with friends from freshmen year that you may not be leaving near sophomore year. A lot of girls from my freshmen hall are in Turner and we were living in different dorms sophomore year. Turner allowed us to see each other at lunch and dinner during the week and stay connected – which was awesome! I did not ever think I would join a Greek organization in college, but I have found it really rewarding and have enjoyed getting to know all the girls I have met. I also have a leadership position this year – I’m the kitchen manager, so I get to work with the cook on what meals we have at the House and I have learned so much from it already! I’m glad
I decided to “Go Greek”
Since this is my first blog post since May and Explore’s readership has gone WAY UP I feel like I should reintroduce myself.
Hi, I’m J.D. Merrill, a junior Educational Policy Studies from Baltimore, Maryland. I have a deep passion for education and politics, which is why I built my own major here through our Center for Interdisciplinary Studies.
I imagine that it would be natural for me to provide an update of what I did this summer at this point in my blog, but since it’s already Fall and I’ve procrastinated doing so up to this point, I’d rather just tell you about what is going on in my life now.