- Class: Freshman
- Major: Business
- Gender: F
- High School: St. Anthony's High School
- Transfer Student: N
Villanova is a very friendly campus. I have never had to open a door for myself when other people are around. The sense of community at Villanova is completely palpable, as seen in how the campus comes together during events such as the Special Olympics, Basketball Season, and Nova Fest. As I wasn't involved much in service in high school, I was not expecting a very service-oriented school to change my mind. That changed about 2 weeks into school when I signed up to work at the Special Olympics. Since then, I have become so involved with service that I feel like I have done it my entire life. It is such a rewarding experience to participate in service with your peers. The best thing about Villanova is definitely the people. I have found so many people that are just like me. Obviously, you won't be friends with everyone you meet, but it is definitely big enough to meet a new group of friends but small enough to know a lot of people within the community. I would change the living situation for sophomores. Even though the Quad is the main hub of campus, the quality of the rooms is poor as compared to the rooms for the freshmen and juniors. When I tell people I go to Villanova, all of the stereotypes that I left New York thinking come back. They say "So you go to Vanillanova" or "Ha! Villanofun." However, I think that those people really have to experience Villanova, because I have not found either of those to be true. I am not a preppy person in the least but I still feel comfortable walking around in my beat-up Converse shoes as does the girl next to me in UGG Boots. On campus, I spend most of my time in the Connelly center. It is the main student center, and a great place to sit and do work. Everybody comes through, so it is a great social atmosphere. It has an ice cream shop, a restaurant, a coffee shop, an internet cafe, couches, lounges, a movie rental center, a movie cinema, everything a college student could want. As for the town surrounding Villanova, we are located within the richest part of Pennsylvania, so it is completely safe to walk outside at night, and I have never felt any need to use the safety call buttons, even though an officer could be there in 37 seconds. Right next to Villanova is Philadelphia, which, though it does not compare to my native New York, is still an amazing city. It is so historical, but also young and fresh with the music scene. We also have King of Prussia mall within driving distance, and it is the second largest mall in the country! The shuttles run there on the weekends, so we never have to pay for transportation. If you want to go somewhere, though, there are two train stations that run right through campus, which makes it easy to make the trip home. Like all college campuses, the students sometimes have issues with the decisions that the administration makes, but I don't have anything that has made me really upset with the Villanova administration. During basketball season, the school pride is busting through the seams of our Nova Nation fan shirts. The entire campus comes together to support our team and creates such a fun, energetic atmosphere among the student body.
Academics at Villanova are tough, there is no doubt about that. I came from a very prominent academic background from one of the best high schools on Long Island, but I had to relearn how to study once I got to Villanova. My professors challenged me so much, they wanted to know why I believed what I believed. A lot of them tried to shake me from my comfort zone a little bit so I would be able to see the things I have been blind to my entire life. All of my professors knew my name this year. My largest class was about 60, and my smallest class was about 10. If I was not in class, I knew I had to email my professors to tell them of my whereabouts, because if I didn't, they would. They were genuinely concerned about my well being. My favorite class was called ACS (Augustinian Culture Seminar). We all have to take it as freshmen, and it is a discussion based class. I learned a lot about different perspectives on religion, modernity, the self, and so on. I really was able to interact with my small class of 10, all of whom lived in my co-ed dorm. I didn't like Business Law, but that is probably because I find no interest in the subject. Students definitely study some major hours during the week. However, they always make time for fun, sitting outside in the nice weather reading their material, or hanging out in their rooms and relaxing after class. Finals week has a kind of quiet atmosphere. The borders of fashion come down as everyone walks around in sweatpants. The library is packed. The hours put in during that time are definitely intense. Depending on which class you're in, there will be more or less participation. Obviously, in a lecture class, there is not as much participation as there will be in a conversation-based class. Outside of class, I'm surprised about how much I speak of politics and challenging issues for our country or simply our school. ACS definitely provoked some interesting conversations about our beliefs, and led to debate among my friends and me. Some students are competitive, but mostly we try to work together to help each other out. No one maliciously uses competitiveness to gain edge in class, but then again, teachers do not favor students in my experiences. My most unique class was my leadership class that I took in my dorm. Since I lived in a learning community, I was required to take a class in my dorm with fellow dorm mates. For about 2 hours a week, I learned about how to become a better leader, develop people skills, and excel in my own atmosphere. It taught me a lot about how I can improve on my own life. I actually went to my ACS professor's home for dinner at the end of this past semester. He entertained us and treated us as adults. It was very rewarding that, after a semester's worth of hard work, my teacher made me dinner and spoke to me about what was happening in my life. It was one of the best experiences I have had at Villanova. I think that Villanova's academic requirements have enabled me to gain a broad view of the different careers I may choose. Since it is a liberal arts school, I am required to explore outside the realm of my particular major so I will have a better understanding of what I want to do. I think it's an amazing way of learning. In high school, going to school was all about the rat race of getting the material for a test and acing the test so you could go to college. At Villanova, it's all about understanding the material, and I had many more papers than written or scantron tests.
Everyone is incredibly friendly on Villanova's campus. No one discriminates based on race, gender, etc. I have found some really amazing people who are accepting of all cultures, religions, and races. The people are truly incredible, as I have mentioned in previous questions. Most students wear jeans to class, but if it's a nice day, the girls will dress up more. Most students are from the North Eastern part of the United States. Most kids are also from middle class families and many are supported by scholarships. For these past elections, we have had Chelsea Clinton, Michelle Obama, and John McCain all present on our campus. They really keep us involved in politics and came around to all of our dorms and had us register to vote. There is a mix between right, left, and center of the road people at Villanova. Students respect the opinions of others, though. Students are more concerned about their happiness than a paycheck at Villanova.
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