The Inspiring Soul Who Bakes and Dances: Kayla Johnson

Part I. “I am”

Name: Kayla Johnson

Year: Junior

Hometown: New Haven, CT

Majors: Psychology

Hobbies: Dancing, Baking, and Exercising

What are three words that describe yourself? Caring, Calm, Driven

What/Who is an inspiration in your life? My great-grandmother always took care of others when she had the means to do so. This definitely has inspired me to make those around me feel valued through small gestures. I’m currently trying to bake at least one dessert a week so that I can deliver them to friends or share them with my co-workers.

Part II. College Life

How does your area of study interest you?

Ever since taking psychology in high school, I knew that it was something that I could possibly major in. I was first interested in it because I simply enjoyed learning about why people behave in the ways that they do. As I came to college, this interest evolved into me studying psychology for leadership purposes.

Can you describe your transition to Vanderbilt?

At first my biggest issue was that I constantly compared Vanderbilt to the school that I transferred from. A solidified group of friends and my old routine seemed to be more appealing than the new situations that I was facing here. When I stopped comparing, I was able to start enjoying myself. I am so grateful for the education that I am receiving here, but the extracurricular activities offered and the people that I have met have also greatly enhanced my experience.

What should transfer applicants keep in mind when they apply?

A college admissions committee wants to see how your experiences, especially those at your first university, can add to the community. They also want to know how attending their university can help you achieve your goals in ways that your current university cannot. So, make sure you have a clear reason to be applying to transfer to that specific school. Also, make sure that you can clearly communicate those reasons in a way that proves that you would greatly benefit from receiving an acceptance.

What is your favorite course at Vanderbilt?

Principles of Experimental Design, which I'm currently taking. It's definitely my course with the most graded assignments, but it has increased my interest in psychology research.

Could you talk about your on-campus employment?

I currently work at the campus post office. My favorite part of my job is that I get to interact with so many people each day. I’m gradually remembering more and more people, and I also met one of my good friends while working!

Can you discuss your involvement in dancing?

Dancing is something that I have always been passionate about, and transferring here has enabled me to get back into doing it regularly. There are so many dance organization here, but I mostly take classes with the tap dancing organization every week. I haven’t performed in a while, but I’m hoping to dance in a showcase soon!

Part III. For the Readers

Why Vanderbilt?

I applied because I was looking for a university with a strong psychology department. When I was receiving my college acceptances, none of my reactions compared to the one I had when I got into Vanderbilt. It was a given that I had to come here.

What is one suggestion you have for female college students?

Surround yourself with people that truly value you.

What are two tips you have for incoming Commodores?

First, find a small number of activities that you plan on really being committed to. I personally tried to do too much in the beginning which made me constantly tired. Secondly, some weeks may feel too busy to socialize, but I think it’s always important to surround yourself with friends in some way. Even if I spend hours in the library, meeting with a friend to get a meal is always a good way to destress.

What are three things you recommend to do at Vanderbilt?

  1. Participate in a performance group for a cultural festival (I didn't do it this year, and I truly regret it).
  2. Go to shows! There are so many performance organizations here, so there are shows for everyone. I personally enjoy going to the comedy shows.
  3. Take fitness classes with friends at the Rec Center.