Life at The University of Idaho – Arianna Georgallis’ Journey from Gaels to Vandals Country
DUBLIN, CA–We continue our Life in College Series with a trip north of California to the University of Idaho. Dublin High School Class of 2014 graduate and University of Idaho rising junior Arianna Georgallis shares her story of discovering the beauty of Idaho in pursuit of a degree in philosophy.
OneDublin.org: How did you end up selecting the University of Idaho?
Arianna Georgallis: “I had a really hard time deciding where to go to college. I knew I wanted to go out of state, and I knew I wanted a school that had Greek life and a football team. My parents really helped – we sat down and made lists of different schools and different places. It was actually my mom who recommended that I apply to the University of Idaho. I know for a lot of students in the Bay Area going to school in Idaho doesn’t sound appealing, and I was reluctant at first, but I applied anyway and was offered a scholarship. When we actually visited the school I fell in love with the campus: the school was just the right size, not tiny and not overwhelming.
“The admitted students program was terrific. I spent a night at a sorority and a night in the dorms so I really was able to experience the feeling of living there. I also was able to meet with the advisor I’d work with if I committed to the school. The program really helped me understand both the academic and social aspects of the school.
“It’s a great location in a relatively small town in northern Idaho. You get the college town feel, a beautiful campus with classic brick buildings, and community gatherings at sporting events. Whether you are in Greek life or in dorms it’s an all around amazing place to live.”
OneDublin.org: Coming from California, what are the biggest misconceptions about Idaho and the University of Idaho now that you’ve been there for two years?
Georgallis: “I had never been to Idaho before attending the admitted students program. There are quite a few misconceptions about Idaho. The first thing I’m asked about is potatoes! Where I am it’s all wheat fields. I’ll also be asked about Boise, but I’m actually six hours north of there. I’m really close to Washington State University – it’s only about ten minutes away. I’ll also get ‘how’s Iowa!’ and ‘how’s Ohio!’. People also think Idaho is in the mid-west when actually its in the pacific northwest along with Washington and Oregon.”
OneDublin.org: What are you majoring in and how did you choose your major?
Georgallis: “I’m majoring in philosophy, and minoring in political science and business. I started in a political science major, and took a philosophy class during my freshman year that I really liked. I took a second philosophy class in my spring semester and knew it was my passion. I found myself spending more and more of my free time reading philosophy texts and thinking critically about my life so I dropped political science to a minor to focus on philosophy. I added the business minor as a potential pathway to an MBA, and am also considering law school.”
OneDublin.org: A philosophy major can be difficult for people to conceptualize. How do you think of philosophy?
Georgallis: “Philosophy is difficult to explain when friends ask what I study because philosophy is so foundational to a lot of thinking. It’s incredible how my philosophy classes connect to so many different subjects. When I tell people I’m a philosophy major I get the typical ‘oh you’re going to be unemployed’ response or ‘I don’t understand what you study’. The concepts we’re studying now can be difficult to grasp at first and take time to absorb. I joined the Philosophy Club on campus and that has really helped because we’re in a lot of the same classes. The hardest class I’ve taken so far – in high school or college – was a class on logic, but it really helped me see problems and the world in a different way. Philosophy has made me more open minded when interacting with people, and has helped me gain a new perspective for my non-philosophy courses.”
OneDublin.org: You mentioned Greek life as a priority for selecting a college – what has been your experience in a sorority?
Georgallis: “At the University of Idaho Greek life is a lot different from other schools. Recruitment takes place right before school starts and after you’ve bid on a house and been accepted you move right into the house, not the dorms. I went into the dorms in my freshman year and ended up bidding on a sorority during the year, and moved in for my sophomore year. I’m part of Kappa Alpha Theta and our motto is ‘Leading Women’. The support system I have with Kappa Alpha Theta is unbelievable.”
OneDublin.org: Greek life can be a major commitment; do you have time for other extracurricular activities?
Georgallis: “I work for the school as a Senior Orientation Leader, was on the club lacrosse team for my freshman year and have continued as an assistance this year, and as I mentioned earlier am a member of the Philosophy Club.”
OneDublin.org: What have you learned about your school by being a Senior Orientation Leader?
Georgallis: “There are so many little things about the campus that I never would have known. For example, the bells that go off in our administration building are recorded – not real bells. Teddy Roosevelt also planted a tree that still stands today in front of the admin building, in a place called Presidential Grove.”
OneDublin.org: What has been the difference between high school and college academics?
Georgallis: “Time management is the big difference. I know many high schoolers wait until the last day to do their assignments and while you might get away with that in high school, it doesn’t work in college. In college you have a lot of unscheduled time that may appear to be free time, but you actually have to budget your time between working on assignments, essays, studying, Greek life, clubs and athletics. All of my professors have been so helpful and taking advantage of office hours has been one of the best things I’ve done. When professors see you trying and working hard they are more likely to give you an extension if you need one.
“I’d also like to recognize two of my Dublin High School teachers – Ms. Vallejo who teaches English and Mr. Shaw who teaches history – they were both terrific teachers who inspired me to work harder. They were both so positive – praising me when my work was really good and giving me the confidence I could do better when my work wasn’t as good. They also both provided valuable advice during my college application and selection process.”
OneDublin.org: “In high school many students struggle to approach their teachers. What advice do you have for taking advantage of professor office hours?”
Georgallis: “Professors will list office hours on the syllabus. For example, I struggled in my logic class so I would email my professor ahead of time to let him know I’d be stopping by. I’d come prepared with all my notes and having completed as much of the homework as I could, and highlight the parts I couldn’t figure out. Because I came prepared and demonstrated that I’d tried the professors are really helpful. Students should also pay close attention to the syllabus because it’s a roadmap to getting through the class with a good grade; don’t throw it out!”
OneDublin.org: How was the transition from living at home to living an airplane ride from home?
Georgallis: “It was definitely a culture shock moving to Idaho. From little things, such as the state having a single area code – in California a person’s area code gives me a sense of where they are calling from – to Bay Area slang being non-existent in Idaho. That said, everyone is in the same boat even if they are from Idaho because they are still living away from home. No one looked down on me, they thought it was cool I was from a different place, and of course I called my parents every week to check in. It’s really important to get involved and connect with other students.”
OneDublin.org: What advice do you have for Dublin High School seniors and their parents?
Georgallis: “For student make sure you go to orientation because it’s intended to help you transition and get involved. Remember that everyone is going through the same thing. And call home! Talking to my sister and my parents really helped me transition.
“For the parents I know it is hard to let your kids figure things out for themselves but you need to let go a bit.”
Know a Dublin High School alum we should add to this series of profiles? Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org. We love sharing these stories with the community!