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Life at Tulane University – Nick Padnos’ Journey from a Dublin Gael to the Big Easy

March 16, 2018

IMG_0485NEW ORLEANS, LA–Dublin High School Class of 2016 graduate and former Dublin High Student Body President Nick Padnos is the next profile in our popular Life in College Series. Nick adds a new university to our portfolio of profiles – Tulane University in New Orleans where Nick is a Class of 2020 sophomore pursuing a degree in history. What was the decision process that led you to New Orleans and Tulane University?

Nick Padnos: “My aunt and uncle live in New Orleans, so I’ve visited the area a few times with my dad. I immediately fell in love with the city: the culture, the music, the spirit and definitely the food. New Orleans really is unlike anywhere I’ve ever visited, especially in the United States.

“During my second visit to New Orleans we decided to visit Tulane, which my uncle had attended, around the time I had to apply to colleges. The campus was absolutely beautiful, a terrific location only 15 minutes from downtown, and in in a wonderful area right across from Audubon Park.

“The combination of the city and the school made me want to come here for college. I applied for early admission, was accepted and was excited to start my college journey.” What makes the culture and people of New Orleans so unique?

Padnos: “New Orleans has a special mix of cultures. The city was settled by the French, and then the Spanish, along with Italian and German settlers over the course of 300 years. 2018 is actually the tricentennial of the city. The mix of different culture creates the creole cuisine, spirit and architecture of the city. The city is a diverse mix of primarily French and Spanish culture, but also African culture. New Orleans was the United States center for the slave trade which also influenced the culture. There is a lot of history here, both good and bad, which has shaped the culture.” What led you to history as a major?

Padnos: “I’ve always had a desire to learn as much about our history as possible. My interest really developed during an 8th grade Washington D.C. trip led by Mr. Chapman at Fallon Middle School. That was an amazing trip which brought to life the landmarks I’d been learning about for so many years.

“Another key point was during my junior year at Dublin High School in Mr. Rubio’s AP US History class. Mr. Rubio is an amazing teacher and help instill a love in US history and wanting to understand as much of our history as I could. I saw history as a way to form an understanding of the world around me for the rest of my life. I realized that history is an important and vital subject.

“Coming to Tulane I wasn’t sure what I wanted to study, I ran through multiple options – business, political science – but as I took more classes I rediscovered my love of history. Taking history courses at the college level has been like nothing I’ve ever experienced before.

“Taking American history courses focused on the American South is particularly interesting while living in Louisiana where a lot of the history took place. Living in Dublin I didn’t gain a personal understanding of our Southern history.” What has the transition been like from high school to college level classes?

Padnos: “On a nightly basis the homework is less than high school but the readings are a lot more. My grades generally come down to a few ten-page papers rather than nightly homework assignments, quizzes and tests. The courses I’m taking are built around papers because it allows the professor to better gauge our understanding versus just knowing information and dates. College level courses have really improved my writing, that’s the largest thing I’ve gained.

“Dublin High School’s English Department is awesome, and Tulane has further developed those skills.” What is Tulane like outside of the classroom?

Padnos: “Tulane is both an enclosed college campus, surrounded by a residential neighborhood, and close to downtown New Orleans. Tulane is one of the most geographically diverse universities attracting students from around the world and around the United States. Growing up I only really knew people from California, so attending Tulane has helped me gain a better understanding of people from around the world. It’s cool to not only have the diversity of the campus community but also of the city which is so convenient to explore. It’s easy to walk or take the streetcar to downtown.” Has the distance and timezone separation from home been hard?

Padnos: “It’s a four hour flight which is long enough that it isn’t possible to have a quick trip home, but it’s been ok – I’ve been able to go home a few times and my family has visited me here. My family loves coming to New Orleans and I have my aunt and uncle here if I ever need anything. I’ve felt very comfortable calling Tulane and New Orleans my new home. The ability to FaceTime makes it easier to stay connected with my family.” If you could go in a time machine back to your senior year of high school what advice would you give yourself?

Padnos: “I would tell myself: it’s going to work out no matter where you go to school, you’re going to be fine, and to live in the moment. I would also tell myself that when opportunities come up to do something outside of your comfort zone to go for it and to seize the opportunity.”

At the Dublin High School 2016 Senior Awards Night Nick Padnos was recognized as the Dublin Rotary Student of the Month (September) and Dublin Lions Club Student of the Year, was awarded the President’s Gold Award for Education Excellence, is a California Scholarship Federation Life Member, was named a GAEL Scholar, and earned Dublin High School’s Advanced Scholar Diploma. Nick was also the Dublin High School Student Body President for 2015-16.



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