College Spotlight: Tulane University
Freshman Year Update
By Caroline Culp
College Expert Counselor: Ryan Luse
Ever since I was little, I dreamed of leaving Minnesota and venturing far from home for college. With this in mind, my first couple of requirements for colleges when I began my initial college search was to have seasons and to not be in the Deep South. Fortunately, this did not go as planned because I ended deep in the South in New Orleans, Louisiana. Even though my senior year self would have never imagined this, attending Tulane University has been one of the best decisions I have ever made.
Ranked in the top 50 schools in the country, Tulane offers great academics, and as a STEM major, I have found a great group of people through organizations like the professional engineering fraternity, Theta Tau, and Engineers without Borders. These organizations have really introduced me to so many great people and given me many opportunities, professionally and socially. Aside from my professional and academic extracurriculars, I have become an extremely dedicated member of the Ultimate Frisbee team, the Muses. I played Ultimate during high school and hoped to continue in college. I was ecstatic to find an extremely tight-knit group of great people in the Ultimate Frisbee community. Through this team, I have had the opportunity to travel across the south for tournaments. As a first semester freshman, this team of upperclassmen welcomed all of the rookies in as family. It was an immense help in my adjusting to the college lifestyle and I cannot emphasize the impact that many of the Tulane organizations like this makes on freshman transitioning to college.
When someone say Tulane University, many people think of its reputation as a party school, and while this is partially true, the atmosphere of Tulane is not one of parties in my opinion. The term “party” of course comes without saying when it comes to New Orleans, but do not let this scare you (though for those who are looking for it, these social opportunities, like parties, do live up to the hype). While there are many opportunities for going out every night, but there are also many people who stay in or even go explore the city. Being inside of such a culturally rich city like New Orleans gives students many more opportunities to leave campus and get involved with the city. The St. Charles Streetcar stops directly in front of campus and the famous French Quarter is only a 40 minute streetcar away. This makes the city extremely accessible to students.
As a whole, the food of New Orleans is famous for its beignets, pralines, Mardi Gras King Cake (my personal favorite), and jambalaya. The culture of food in New Orleans is so different from places like Minneapolis or St. Paul, and it brings a new aspect to simply going out for a meal.
Being in New Orleans, Tulane students have many opportunities not available anywhere else. For example, in my honors colloquium (a freshman seminar course) our class took a field trip to the Whitney Plantation. This old plantation is famous for being the only plantation in the South that runs its tours from the perspective of the slave. This experience was extremely eye-opening and not available anywhere else. Another example was in one of engineering classes. I got the opportunity to visit the den of the Krewe of Rex (a very prominent mardi gras parade krewe) in order to take measurements of one of the floats to design a way for the krewe to keep the traditional wagon wheels while making sure the float will not break. You won’t find an opportunity like this one outside of Tulane University.
On the topic of Mardi Gras, I just recently went through my first Mardi Gras, and the experience is like no other. I must say that there is most definitely a reason why so many people have New Orleans Mardi Gras on their bucket list. Reflecting on it, Mardi Gras is an incredible depiction of the culture New Orleans offers that is like no other city in the world. It has something that just makes you fall in love with it. Even though I may not have initially planned on attending a school like Tulane University, I could not be happier than I am now, and I cannot imagine my life without the friendships I have made and all of the experiences I have had. I am proud to call Tulane University and New Orleans, Louisiana my home.