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Any student beginning a college career will pass through the phase of questioning his or her decision. For Vanderbilt students, this phase is a short one. The beauty and excitement of campus quickly pushes away any negative thoughts. Southern hospitality is alive and strong around Vanderbilt, and for those out-of-towners, it’s usually a welcome surprise. Taking the time to meet new people, whether they are Southern natives or people from across the country, will make the transition from high school to college a lot smoother. Finding your niche at any college is the most important thing to having a successful four years. Vanderbilt is big enough to accommodate almost anyone’s desires and small enough to make this campus feel like home for the years you spend here.
While Vanderbilt has a lot of positive qualities, it isn’t the best choice for everyone. Choosing Vanderbilt means choosing to be in a situation where name-brand clothes and high-end cars have a certain amount of importance. Most students come from white upper-class families, and while they may not all fit the stereotype of wealthy snobs, money is in abundance for most on campus. More than anything, however, choosing Vanderbilt means choosing an extremely difficult and intense academic institution. You will pull your share of all-nighters, sit through any number of obvious “weed-out courses,” stress out over harsh grading curve, and panic when professors refuse to move deadlines despite countless other exams and papers. But thankfully, Vanderbilt embodies a work-hard, play-hard lifestyle. The second you make it through the more hellacious periods of school, there will be countless opportunities to throw all cares aside and enjoy your time at Vanderbilt.
Campus is generally very safe, although it is in Nashville, so I wouldn't feel comfortable walking off-campus alone at night. Campus could use more lighting, but no one complains about feeling unsafe.
Alcohol is almost prevalent with pregaming and especially along greek row and some apartment parties, but there's not much peer pressure to drink. It's ok if you don't want to. Freshman campus is dry, but sometimes people sneak it into their rooms.
At Vanderbilt, it's safety first, and you get some immunity if you for example call the ambulance and Vanderbilt police to get help for your drunk, underage friend.
Drugs wise, some people smoke tobacco and some weed, but its not huge. It really just depends on who you hang out with as to what the drinking and drug scene is for you.
Fully agree with everything you said. It ultimately depends on the individual and social circle. This is college, after all. If you want to try alcohol and drugs, you will find opportunities to get them. If you want to avoid them, it isn't hard at all. Although I will say, with Greek life, alcohol and drugs seem more prevalent than with the non-Greek population.
The freshman dorms (Commons) are amazing. Half of them are only a few years old and have tall ceilings. Some are smaller but the Commons program makes it feel very warm and welcoming. Each Commons dorm (there are 10) has its own faculty head whose family lives in the building - feels like Hogwarts!
Upperclassmen get to ballot for housing - there are seniority points. Huge range of options from location to atmosphere to housing type - 2, 4, 6 person apartments, or singles/double rooms. Most buildings are co-ed with single-sex floors, but there are co-ed apartments and single-sex buildings too. There are also special learning environments you have to apply for which involve some participation over the school year (Mctyiere for foreign languages, Mcgill for independent projects, Vandy-Barnard for Leadership or Creativity, and Mayfield 10-person houses with special projects).
Since the cost is the same for all these places, it really allows you to pick somewhere to live based on your preference and not cost.
As a freshman the meal plan is 21 meals/week. Way too much in my opinion. Food options are decent on campus - we have some cafes and large dining halls, as well as a vegan restaurant with the best cheeseburger and a pub with beer. There is also flexible Meal Money with all meal plans that can be used anywhere on campus or at about 20 restaurants off campus.
After freshman year the compulsory meal plan gets smaller - 14/week for sophomores, 8/week for juniors, none for seniors. You can opt for larger meal plans or buy extra Flex meals (they're usually cheaper in bulk).
Vanderbilt Dining puts in great effort to get feedback from students, such as updating the Meal Money restaurant selection, or hosting mega themed buffet dining events each semester. Those are awesome treats where the dining hall is all decked out and makes up for the sometimes monotonous offering regularly.
Sports are definitely big and getting bigger as our football team improves each year. School spirit is prevalent and there are always fans at football, basketball, and baseball games. The student athletes have their own dining hall.
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