What DePauw Gave Me Parts 2, 3, and 4

With the one year post-grad point creeping up rather quickly, I decided to combine a few of my What DePauw Gave Me posts into one shorter post.

A love of Steven Kellogg and the Sixers
If you don’t know Stephen Kellogg and the Sixers, please go look them up. They are great and mostly unheard of. I had the pleasure of seeing them at a free concert at DePauw, one that was barely attended. What started out as a “let’s see” scenario with my friend Ellen turned into a crazy fun concert and a love for the band that has turned into seeing them live two more times. My only regret is that I didn’t stay for the full concert. Instead I left to see Jane Pauley speak on campus for the 100th anniversary of the Society of Professional Journalists, which happened to be founded at DePauw (yeah, we’re that cool). Just so you know Steven Kellogg and the Sixers > Jane Pauley speaking (sorry, Jane; you’re great, really, you are).

At their fall 2011 concert at Radio Radio in Indy.

The ability to pretend I did work
My first semester at DePauw was miserable. Not because I wasn’t making friends (I was) or because I was terribly homesick (I really wasn’t), but mainly because I was trying to do absolutely all of my work. Doing your work is, in fact, an important part of the college experience and I certainly don’t condone blowing all of it off to eat pizza and watch Millionaire Matchmaker. But for those of you that haven’t been acquainted with a college student’s stack of syllabi, the amount of reading a typical student has in one week is enough to last into the next academic year. I was there a good month or two before I realized the dirty little secret of the typical DePauw student: they barely read. Sure, there are those people who seem to read absolutely everything they’ve ever been assigned, and to those people, I would love to know the speed reading academy you attended as a youth. But everyone else reads at typical human speeds, which means you have to learn how to read just enough to be able to throw in a couple insightful comments in class while still maintaining your sanity. Part of me feels my professors would be terribly disappointed to know the amount of work I actually didn’t do for them. The other part of me learned a valuable lesson: There are only so many hours in a day. Do what you can while still maintaining an I-can-still-dress-myself level of sanity.

An email addiction
To this day I am still baffled at the concept that DePauw ever operated without email. While some people hate a stack of emails, I relished in the during-or-post-lunch time when I would sit down in front of my laptop, log into my DePauw email account, and see just how many emails I had racked up since leaving for my morning class. This addiction has continued post-grad, though made even worse by the fact I now have a smart phone (something I am quite grateful I did not have while still in school). In addition, I have eight email accounts to check on a regular basis. EIGHT. Madness, pure madness.

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5 thoughts on “What DePauw Gave Me Parts 2, 3, and 4

  1. I did have to do all the readings for my science classes (I struggled enough in them!) but I’ll admit those reading assignments were relatively small. It was the liberal arts classes that piled it on. I definitely learned some heavy-duty skimming skills in order to keep up in those. And then I highlighted bits that stuck out, for reference in class discussions, and made a point to contribute in class. In fact, I still tend to skim and now sometimes have a difficult time slowing down and reading every word!

    1. I went to a liberal arts school, so you can imagine! haha. I was a fan of highlighting, but my first semester I tried to intensely read, highlight, and write detailed notes. I remember spending seven hours on a sociology reading alone. After that I realized I surely could not be doing it right. There was a history professor who once told my class that no one could be doing their reading correctly if they weren’t taking detailed notes, which I found to be ridiculous. I started just jotting observations, thoughts, summaries, and questions down in the margins. Skimming also seems to be a continued part of my life haha.

      1. The class that really slaughtered me was Black Political Participation. There were SO MANY readings and it wasn’t a topic you could just fake knowing. We’d have 5+ chapters or articles to read for every class. I discovered the trick was to skim them all, identify key themes they all had in common, and then read one in detail. Then in class, all of my contributions would be mainly from the one piece I read. I am pretty sure everybody else was doing this too.

        One of my friends is in grad school studying political science right now, and all of her comments/frustrations with her first semester echo everything you just said.

  2. Hi Sarah!

    I am a junior at Indiana University and seriously considering transferring to Depauw. I am just about done with my application but kind of worried about a few things. The sorority I have been in through all of my collegiate years is not at Depauw and I heard that it is heavily-oriented on Greek Life. Do you have any advice for me transitioning to being heavily involved in a sorority to being inactive in a greek-life centered university?

    Also, I was wondering how transfers are treated there. I thought the fact that you are required to live in all four years was kinda weird…(no offense) it is just different from what I am used to. Do you know what they do with transfers-or any general advice being a student transferring there?

    Sorry this is so long but I noticed there is a system where you request classes. That is also completely new to me…I am pre-dentistry and wondering what happens if you need a class and they don’t meet your request? I am already going to be quite behind because of the transferring and major changes and worried that this system will make me fall more behind.

    I would really just love some advice and insider info from you as I have found it hard to find with my resources.

    Thank you in advance! Love your blog. 🙂

    1. Hi!

      Thanks so much for reaching out! First, I want to say that I do really love DePauw. I had a fantastic time there and walked away with some amazing, close friendships that have continued three years later.

      That being said, I must say I’m confused as to why you want to transfer to DePauw, particularly–ESPECIALLY–this late in your college career. The concerns you laid out are valid, but it also doesn’t seem that you have that much interest in DePauw in general.

      As for how transfers are treated, I can’t really say for sure. I can only think of two people I encountered during my time who transferred from other places, one from Wabash and one from IU. They both did so after their freshman year. The one later left for personal issues, the other one was, it seems, well received, but she also joined a sorority after she transferred. DePauw–I believe, though can’t say for sure–seems to be particular with transfers, and I think that perhaps being an older student might be a little bit against you in admissions. I do know that students who are independent are treated well, and most Greek events with few exceptions, particularly parties, are open to all students. I have several friends who were independent or who resigned their Greek membership later on and they were quite happy. Even though I was in a chapter I spent the majority of my senior year with those friends outside the house. It’s just a matter of finding the right group of people.

      When it comes to housing, there is no other place to live in Greencastle other than campus housing. It’s not Bloomington by any means and there aren’t an abundance of cool apartments outside of the campus grounds to choose from. The university is very rooted in the campus culture because the town is small and there really aren’t a lot of entertainment options outside of campus. The upperclassmen housing options, though, are very nice and range from dorm rooms to suites, duplexes, and older houses the university owns. Most juniors and seniors live in the suite/duplex/house options. And unlike IU, DePauw is not a dry campus, so if you’re 21 or older alcohol is permitted in university housing with the exception of a few “substance free” living facilities (though if you’re not throwing a raging party, no one really notices).

      The class request system can be problematic and frustrating. There were hardly any semesters I got the schedule I wanted. It’s the double edge sword of the university maintaining small class size. There have definitely been opportunities when people have not initially gotten into classes they need, and it often resorts to emailing and meeting with professors to arrange to get in. Some professors, especially ones that students are close with, tend to give out course codes that guarantee or allow enrollment in a particular course. That happened to me. But the other side of the situation is I’ve never known a student who didn’t graduate because of this. Things tend to work out even though they’re super frustrating (I certainly had my breakdown moments because of it).

      So, here’s my final alumna/wise elder tough love advice: At this stage in your college career, I really think that transferring is not a great course of action, especially because you will be adding at least one year onto your college career. At DePauw’s price tag, that’s adding 100K–ONE HUNDRED THOUSAND DOLLARS–onto your college cost, and if you’re pre-dental, you’re probably looking at another 50K-100K additional cost of schooling after you leave undergrad. I would look very very very VERY long and hard at the number, because I don’t think it’s worth it. In fact, I know it’s not worth it. Run away from as much student loan debt as you can. And I say this as a person who was fortunate not to have any thanks to a scholarship but I have seen many people struggle with it. If you think that you’ll get an edge by having a DePauw degree as opposed to an IU degree, the dirty little secret no one tells you and leaves you to find out after you graduate is that no one really cares where you went to school. All that matters is what you can do as an individual and the experiences you’ve accumulated along the way. Grades, degree, and especially university name tend to become pretty insignificant.

      It’s completely your choice what you end up doing, and obviously I don’t know the details, but I think if you were truly unhappy at IU you would have likely made this transfer sooner, and if transferring means adding time onto your graduation timeline, you should really, really consider staying put and enjoying that final year at IU. It’s a really great school. And I’m not just saying that, I almost went there and I considered transferring there my freshman year when I hadn’t really adjusted to DePauw. I also know several people who are IU alums and are really happy and successful and loved their experience. So, again, just look really long and hard at the cost and what it really means to transfer–giving up your Greek affiliation on campus (you’ll always be a lifetime member of your organization), seeing your sorority sisters and friends on a regular basis, life in Bloomington and all of the entertainment options that come with it–then make your decision. Obviously if you’re miserable, consider making a change, but also look at the factors involved and if IU is really the cause. Transferring anywhere might not the fix.

      Good luck!
      -Sarah

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