undergraduate, #Tufts, #podcast"> Podcast | Holden-Dahlerbruch-on-Tufts-University-International-Relations--Interdisciplinary-Studies--Coke-Scholar--and-Culinary-Playground-e1ot9po


Episode Notes | Episode Transcript | AskTheGuest

 Hi Fives (5 Highlights)   3-Minute Listen

As an undergraduate student at Tufts University, Holden Dahlerbruch shares his undergraduate experience. Holden is pursuing a double major in International Relations and Interdisciplinary Studies.

Holden developed an interest in food & cooking from an early age, By watching his dad cook in the kitchen. By his own admission, Holden spent more time in the kitchen than playing soccer or baseball.

In high school, this passion landed him on a TV Show called Man versus Child: Chef Showdown as a child Chef.

Holden joins us on our podcast to share his unusual UG Experience at Tufts, The Coke Scholarship, Pursuing his passion for food, and advice for high schoolers.

Hi-Fives from the Podcast are:

  1. Overall Tufts Experience
  2. Why Tufts?
  3. The Coke Difference
  4. The Classes
  5. Advice for High Schoolers

Episode Notes

Episode Title: Holden Dahlerbruch on Tufts University: International Relations & Interdisciplinary Studies, Coke Scholar, and Culinary Playground.

In high school, Holden’s passion for cooking landed him on a TV Show called Man versus Child: Chef Showdown as a child chef.

Naturally, when time came for college, he wanted to go where he could build on his love for food.

Holden joins us on our podcast to share his unusual undergraduate experience at Tufts, The Coke Scholarship, Pursuing his passion for food, and Advice for high schoolers. #CokeScholars

In particular, we discuss the following with him:

  • Overall Experience at Tufts
  • Why Tufts?
  • Passion for Cooking
  • Study Abroad in Germany
  • Advice to High Schoolers

Topics discussed in this episode:

  • Introduction to Holden Dahlerbruch, Tufts [0:53]
  • Hi Fives - Podcast Highlights [2:12]
  • Overall Tufts Experience [4:36]
  • Why Tufts? [6:02]
  • High School Interests [10:33]
  • The TV Show [13:01]
  • Passion for Cooking [14:40]
  • Culinary Playground [16:24]
  • Applying for Coke Scholarship [19:55]
  • Reasons for Getting the Scholarship [23:69]
  • The Coke Difference [27:40]
  • The Tufts Transition [30:19]
  • The Classes [34:00]
  • The Virtual Year [38:30]
  • The Year Abroad - Germany [41:33]
  • What Next? [45:34]
  • Advice for High Schoolers [48:30]
  • Memories [53:59]

Our Guests: Holden Dahlerbruch is a Senior at Tufts University double majoring in International Relations and Interdisciplinary Studies. Holden is a 2019 Coke Scholar.

Memorable Quote: “First off, always ask. If you are too afraid to ask, you’ve lost the opportunity”. Holden.

Episode Transcript: Please visit Episode’s Transcript.

Similar Episodes: College Experiences


Episode Transcript

Transcript of the episode’s audio.

Holden D  0:14

My dad was in the hotel industry. And for anyone who knows the hotel industry it is 24 hours a day, seven days a week. So he was rarely home but when he was home, he was cooking for the family. Yeah, it started out as like this forced bonding and a way that was very much encouraged by my mother. But it slowly turned into a passion and while all of my friends were on their a why so soccer teams are playing baseball or playing outside. I was in the kitchen.

Venkat  0:53  [Introduction to Holden Dahlerbruch, Tufts University]

That is Holden Dahlerbruch, Coke Scholar and a senior at Tufts University, double majoring in International Relations and Interdisciplinary Studies.

Hello! I am your host Venkat Raman.

Holden developed an interest in food & cooking from an early age, By watching his dad cook in the kitchen.

By his own admission, Holden spent more time in the kitchen than playing soccer or baseball.

In high school, this passion landed him on a TV Show called Man versus Child: Chef Showdown as a child Chef.

When time came for college, he wanted to go where he could build on his love for food.

Venkat Raman  1:43

Holden joins us on our podcast to share his unusual UG Experience at Tufts, The Coke Scholarship, Pursuing his passion for food, and advice for high schoolers.

Venkat Raman  1:57

Before we jump into the podcast, here are the High-Fives,  Five Highlights from the podcast:

Holden D  2:12  [Highlights - Hi Fives]

[Overall Emory Experience]

My undergraduate experience as a whole, in the whole scheme of things was very unusual. I had most of a freshman year and then COVID struck and everyone went home. Sophomore year, all of my classes were virtual.

[Why Emory?]

So in the end, I chose Tufts, and I'm very happy here, I'm fairly comfortable, I had an opportunity to create my own major, everyone here is super unique, and super fun. And everyone has a quirk or a passion. That's a unique passion that they just are so invested in.

[Fairness in AI]

And these are all people in the Coca Cola scholars community. Yeah, it's kind of one of the same reasons that I originally chose Tufts just a little bit more honed in it's people who are passionate about different things who love talking about their own passions, and getting to know yours.


[Research Impact]

Classes were rough. I have to say the least one of my classes went really, really well. Actually two of them. I was taking all of four courses, but I walked into tufts with the expectation to take five or six. And that's because coming from high school, my senior year I took eleven courses.

[Advice for High Schoolers]

At the end of the day, you're going to go where you belong. And if you don't belong there, leave. College is expensive. Don't pay $75,000 a year to be somewhere that you don't like.

Venkat Raman  4:00

These were the Hi5s, brought to you by College Matters. Alma Matters.

Subscribe wherever you get your podcasts.

Venkat Raman  4:11

Now, I'm sure you want to hear the entire podcast with Holden.

So without further ado, here is Holden Dahlerbruch!


Venkat Raman  4:21  

If you're ready, let's get started.

Holden D  4:23  

Absolutely. Let's go for it.

Venkat Raman  4:25  

Cool. So maybe the best place to start is maybe you can tell us a little bit about what your undergraduate experience has been like so far at Tufts?

Holden D  4:36  [Overall Tufts Experience]

Absolutely. So first off, my name is Holden Dahlerburch. I'm a senior at Tufts University double majoring in International Relations and Interdisciplinary Studies which is a create your own major. And that one is culinary history, culture and entrepreneurship. My undergraduate experience as a whole in the whole school aim of things was very unusual. I had most of a freshman year and then COVID struck and everyone went home. Sophomore year, all of my classes were virtual. And I was a resident assistant in first year dorm buildings. So as a result, I wasn't really seeing many of my friends, and it was very isolating from there. And I was also on Student Government, I was being as involved as I could be from isolated dorm out of safety. And then last year was my junior year, and I did study abroad, I went to Germany for the full year. And now I am back on campus, my fourth year of university, but my first real year of university.

Venkat Raman  5:55  

So maybe before we dive deeper into that, why did you choose Tufts? Why did you go there?

Holden D  6:02  [Why Tufts?]

So I did the entire college application process kind of backwards. And it worked really well. For me, it does not work well for everyone. But I applied to as many schools as I could, that I had any interest in. And then I did research after the fact on the schools, once I had my set list of acceptances, and therefore my set list of options. I was never tied down to a school or idealized a certain school. And as a result, when I got all my acceptances, I was looking at each school, given the list, I applied to 29 schools as a whole, which was very expensive. 30 programs though 30 or 31 individual programs. Going through the process. The one rule that my parents made is since I'm originally from California, I was expected to apply to at least one California state school and one UC school. And then the other thing that I did was I applied to one school that I considered a super safety. This was a school that I basically knew I was going to get into. But also it had rolling admission. And it was out of state. So at the very beginning of all of my applications, this is the first one I applied to. And I got my acceptance, and I knew I was going to college. And I knew that if I wanted to go out of state, the school that I got into was out of state. So I already knew that I was going to school early on in the process. And that's something I recommend that anyone. But going back to why I chose Tufts. Looking at my set list. I ended up just going through the options that I had, looking at the reputations of the schools, how they were at what I wanted to study. But the big thing is that I reached out to friends at each of the schools, and I tried to go visit them. Because so much of these schools, you're is living on campus for the four years, or in my case, like one and a half. But I knew that I wanted to be in a school that I was happy at and I was comfortable at. So there were some schools where I wasn't happy with the campus or the certain environments surrounding it, and I didn't even consider it. At the end of the day, I had four main schools that I was looking at. And those were University of California, Los Angeles are UCLA, UC Berkeley, Cornell, and Tufts. UCLA was too close to home. For me, Berkeley just didn't really fit my vibe and my intentions. And I'm sure something of it also has to do with I visited the school during finals week. So looking around, everyone just looked stressed. So I went and I visited the wrong time, will say that. And then Cornell I got in and then I was looking through and trying to figure out how to get to Cornell and I realized it would be somewhere between 800 and $1,000. To do a last minute round trip ticket from home to Cornell. It would also cost me over 24 hours of travel time, because it was lax, JFK JFK, Buffalo buffalo Ithaca. And at that point, I just decided it wasn't worth it. For me, I love my family. I love my friends back home and God forbid something was to happen. I didn't want to be that isolated. And looking at the state of the world. My sophomore year, I made the right decision with that. So in the end, I chose tufts and I'm very happy here. I'm fairly comfortable. I had an opportunity to create my own major or everyone here is super unique and super fun. And everyone has a quirk or a passion. That's a unique passion that they just are so invested in. And the thing that makes tuff special and the reason I ultimately choose chose Tufts was people.

Venkat Raman  10:21  

Let's, you know, wind a little further back. Okay. Talk a little bit about your high school. What kind of interest did you have? What were you like in high school?

Holden D  10:33  [High School Interests]

Oh, I was. I was popular in high school. But that doesn't mean that I was in the popular crowd, it means that I was well known. So my freshman year was a fairly rocky start. It was a good start. But about two months into freshman year, I got pulled away from school for two months to go film a TV show. So as a result, when I came back, I was an of course I was doing schoolwork on set and everything, but I was trying to make up Miss tests and missed homeworks while working forward at the same time. So academically and friends, wise people made friends during that time. Yeah. When I was gone, academically, everything built off each other. And socially, I really wanted to be a part of ASB, which was the main student government body at my high school. And I decided I was going to run freshman year. But I ultimately decided not to knowing that I have this TV show, I wouldn't be able to serve or support or be a resource for the people who would elect me and the case that I would get elected. So I ended up not even running because I knew I couldn't be fully invested for those two months, as I would want to be. In high school as a whole. Yeah, I was kind of a floater. I didn't really have a main friend group. But I was accepted in most of my friend groups that I was hanging out with, which occasionally was the popular kids. Occasionally it was the drama kids. All of the different like 1980s movie stereotypical cliques. I was accepted in all of them. I was very into my academics. I was very into my clubs. I was the vice president of two clubs and the president and founder of another one. I just, I've come to discover about myself that I've never been a fan of sleep. Always running everywhere. And that really started in high school.

Venkat Raman  12:55  

So you have intrigued me with this TV show. So tell me about it. Tell me the TV show.

Holden D  13:01  [The TV Show]

So way back when, during my eighth grade year, as well as ninth grade year, I was filming for a TV show called Man vs Child: Chef Showdown! It was a cooking competition show where I was a chef. They called us all prodigies. And I was 15 at the time. But we were cooking against executive chefs who had been cooking professionally in kitchens longer than we had been alive at the top. Yeah, it was a crazy premise. Because the chefs would come in. And if they won, congratulations, you won against kids. But you lost to a bunch of kids. That's right. But it was a ton of fun.

Everyone on the show I'm still really good friends with. I still work in the food industry. And part of it is because of the connections that I made on chef onset with some of my competitors. To name a few. There's a chef by the name of Chef boots, who now has a place up in Harlem in New York. There's a guy named Joel Miller, who ended up hiring me and I worked with him for four years, just absorbing everything that I could learn about food. Keith Breedlove, who's now in Wyoming i i think by now I have a restaurant in all 50 states that I can make a phone call and go work out for a day

Venkat Raman  14:34  

so So where did this love or passion for cooking come in? How did that happen?

Holden D  14:40  [Passion for Cooking]

When I was really young, my dad was in the hotel industry. And for anyone who knows the hotel industry, it is 24 hours a day, seven days a week. So he was rarely home but when he was home, he was cooking for the family. Yeah, it started out as like this one. Were bonding in a way that was very much encouraged by my mother. But it slowly turned into a passion. And while all of my friends were on their a y, so soccer teams or playing baseball or playing outside, I was in the kitchen I, I was, we created a cooking club called the Palos Verdes kids cooking club. And it was me and a bunch of friends in elementary school cooking because I was never really interested in those sports, I was interested in food. Something drew me to it, honestly, kind of as an art form at first, it's really the only art form that you can appreciate with all five senses legally. If I go up and make the Mona Lisa, I will be arrested. But you can use all five senses on. And now even with my major today with international or with interdisciplinary studies. Its culinary history, culture and entrepreneurship. And I'm looking at how trade routes and colonialism and war and society and politics and religion impacts food in daily life.

Venkat Raman  16:19  

I saw that you founded Culinary Playground. What was that? What is that?

Holden D  16:24  [Culinary Playground]

So Culinary Playground is my company. We are a culinary consulting firm and incubator that works with nonprofit organizations, food and beverage startups, as well as restaurants and food trucks. We do everything from looking at your business to figure out ways to make it either more efficient or more aimed at your desired market to recipe creation and recipe testing for food trucks, too little incubation and connection making opportunities here and there.

And we even have one project that I'm really proud of the work that we've been doing with them. There's a group called Cooking Up competence. And the aim of this organization is to teach people with neurodiverse has died with neuro diversities such as autism, Asperger's about confidence and other life skills through passions and hobbies such as Rubik's Cube, golf, arts and cooking.

Well, we also do recipes, a little bit of media stuff through my Instagram and Tik Tok and YouTube. And of course, what is a company based around food if you do not have recipes available on your website? Absolutely.

Venkat Raman  17:48  

So do you have a kitchen close by? Where do you practice all this art.

Holden D  17:55  

So for now, I'm actually in a new themes housing opportunity on the tufts campus called Foodie House. I created it along with my friend Jackson and my friends Camille. And the goal was to unite people on the tufts campus around the common interest for food from multiple different perspectives. So we have one of the best kitchens on campus. And it's just always in use. Before stepping up here to record this. I walked into the kitchen and one of my residents, Rohan was cooking this Panini and I just smelled that toasted bread. And I thought to myself, I live in the best housing on campus. I really do. So, but also part of culinary playgrounds. We're running right now with the tagline play with your food because culinary playgrounds. So as a result, we're looking at different equipment, I have history doing a little bit of recipe development and corporate events and catering, where I was limited to only using a microwave and teaching people how to make chef and restaurant quality meals with the microwave being the only heat source. And that's something I really love about food because it's always a new challenge. It's always a new project. And if it's not rewarding, you get to try it again.

Venkat Raman  19:20  

Yep. Yep. And you know, right away, whether it will Oh, yes. So it's fantastic. It's just fantastic. Congratulations. I mean, you know, not only having the passion but the wherewithal and the follow through, you know, that's really super critical. Let's transition and talk a little bit about the Coke Scholarship. So, you know, maybe, why did you apply but how did you learn about it and why did you end up applying?

Holden D  19:55  [Applying for Coke Scholarship]

So I learned about the Coca Cola scholarship through the Coca Cola scholarship foundation through my mother. Um, my mom is the Wizard of finding scholarships. And like, before we even get into the coke scholarship and how extraordinary it is and how every single person listening needs to apply for the scholarship, there is a scholarship out there for almost anything.

One of the scholarships I applied to is exclusively for people who are the children of people who work in the shoes and footwear industry. And if you are the child of a lawyer with the intention of going to medical school, and you have a pet tortoise, there's probably a scholarship out there for that. I'm telling you, there's a scholarship out there for anything, if you find your niche, or something unique about yourself, there's a great scholarship out there.

But Coca Cola, honestly, is probably the best scholarship in the world. I when I applied, I didn't think I was gonna get it. Honestly, when I got it, and I started meeting other Coca Cola scholars, that's something that is common. Everybody who gets this scholarship really thinks that they are worthy or deserving of this scholarship because this scholarship at the end of the day is more difficult to get than it is to get into Harvard, or any of the Ivy's. When you look at admissions rates, yeah.

So I applied for it, because my mom wanted me to genuinely thinking that I would not get it. I saw the money for it. And I saw the work for it. And it's $20,000, which is extraordinary.

Yeah, but that's also not the largest corporate scholarship financially, that is available out there. Yeah. The thing though, that makes Coca Cola scholarship unique is that it is this family and this community that you create, for a lifetime, it is more than just the money. And like I now have a connection with the mayor of Boston, but shell Woo, I have a connection with people at any of the top 50 Or maybe even top 100 universities in the United States and a few abroad. And we always have this connection through Coca Cola scholars. I have done a little bit of work with some of the people collaboration opportunities. We have a group chat, where we pitch each other different club or business ideas. It's really more than anything else a scholarship based on leadership. And everyone there is a leader or was identified as as a leader at an early age. And it's just the most extraordinary community I've ever had the honor and privilege of being a part of

Venkat Raman  23:10  

you said that you didn't think you would get it, which I can understand at the outset. But what do you what do you think made the difference? One or more things? What do you think, You know, convinced the foundation to award you the scholarship.

Holden D  23:29  [Reasons for Getting the Scholarship]

I have talked to some of the people who were awarded the scholarships about this. And I still do not know. I've gotten a little bit of information here and there. But at the end of the day, I was not valedictorian, I was not a straight A student. I wasn't even really ranked my school high school didn't rank the people I was competing with during the last stage of interviews, I was competing also with one of the people from my rival high school, who was known for the most incredible project where she made 1000 origami paper cranes to donate to I believe a senior living center. And just for the people in the community, I was going up against the people who had these large scale, most extraordinary projects. And I was talking a little bit about one of the clubs I founded one of the clubs, I was in a couple of my side projects. But when it came to the actual interview, which was I believe, step three, there's an initial application, there's a more information thing. And then there's this third one, which is a sit down interview, where you sit down with one or two people from Coca Cola scholars from the foundation itself, as well as a few Past recipients of Coca Cola scholars and you just talk for 20 minutes or a half hour and I was Right after someone who was known for being one of the biggest leaders and most kind hearted people in my entire high school in this very last round, and I, it was not at all what I expected, I expected to talk about the spontaneous pancake Club, which is the club that I found it. I was expecting to talk about being a part of four of the five leadership classes at my high school or getting donations for our Cancer Support walk. And instead, they started asking me questions about the improv club that I was a part of. I was not the leader of this club. Yeah. I, one year, got the Most Valuable Player Award. Yeah. And they just started talking to me about improv. It was one of the most casual interviews, that totally caught me off guard, because for a scholarship that is so based on leadership, yeah, they were asking about one of the very few things on my resume, where I was not a leader. Yeah. And I honestly don't remember a whole lot about the interview, I walked out of that interview thinking, I didn't get this. Yeah. And then I got this email. In the middle of class, I was in my AP environmental science course. And I got a phone call from my mother in the middle of class, which you're not supposed to do. And I immediately hang up the phone, my teacher looks at me, and it's like, silence your phone. And I do that quickly. And then my mom starts texting me. Every, like 20 seconds, check your email, check your email, and then I say, Okay, well, I guess I gotta go check my email, I do what every high schooler does, and raise my hands ask to go to the bathroom. Even though I'm not actually going to the bathroom. I step outside, I checked my email, and I won this scholarship. I was on top of the world, I was just not expecting.

Venkat Raman  27:26  

You mentioned a few ways that it has really made a difference and changed you in ways and connections. It's given. What What else could you be doing? What's next with the alumni network?

Holden D  27:40  [The Coke Difference]

Well, right now, I'm planning on continuing on to business school after I graduate. Yeah. Which means I need to start applications like a month ago. But I went to this function for alumni of Coca Cola scholars a week and a half ago. I walk in and who do I see but a new professor at Northeastern University's School of Business. And so I sit down with him we have Coca Cola is in our hands, of course, how can you and we just start chatting about our research, I'm talking about my thesis, and he's talking about how he's currently working on a project, looking at the intersections between the ways that supermarkets dispose of ingredients, or food items that are about to go bad, and how they create a positive feedback loop in the greater socio economic community with tightening in different friend groups and social circles based on economic classes.

And I'm just chatting with him, and chatting with him. And I look at my watch and a half hour has gone by this function is not long, but I just spent so much time talking to this one person. So we trade contact info, and I go on to the next person.

And I have another half hour long conversation about art. In this case, because this person, her name is Jackie, she goes to Stanford, and she's one of the most incredible artists I have ever met. And these are all people in the Coca Cola scholars community. Yeah, it's kind of one of the same reasons that I originally chose Tufts just a little bit more honed in it's people who are passionate about different things who love talking about their own passions, and getting to know yours. Yeah.

And so there are these functions that happen all the time. And it's just really a phenomenal community of a bunch of leaders.

The community is the most important thing for Coke.

Venkat Raman  29:52  

Talk a bit about, you know, coming to Tufts, how was how was that transition and how Have things been I mean, you did mention each of yours being different. So maybe you can give us some variety around. You know how it was in the first year, our younger years. And then maybe we can talk a little bit about being virtual, and then your study abroad.

Holden D  30:19  [The Tufts Transition]

So my first year, I stepped foot on campus for a pre orientation. That's something that's kind of cool with Tufts, we have five or six different pre orientation programs. And the one that I did was global orientation. I have lived in the United States for my entire life. With my dad being in the hotel industry, I travelled a little bit when I was young. But at the end of the day, I was not one of the most global people in this global orientation. But what ended up happening is I formed a community of people that were outside of the hall that I was living. And I formed these really strong friendships, and I'm still friends with half of the people, I see them around campus and every single person wakes back. So that was really crucial. Because after that, my friend group was very much defined by the hall that I was living in. It was the people living around me, my roommate, because I was just so lucky. And I got one of the coolest roommates I could have ever dreamed for. His name was Sheehan. And, but my friend group was very much defined by that, and my clubs and my social circles that were based on interests or different activities. Right? Really, in university. That's how people make friends. And that's why after COVID, and after being abroad, it's a little bit of a struggle to return. Because from that friend group from freshman year, it's now splintered into seven or eight different friend groups, based on where people are living now how close to campus or on campus. My roommate from freshman year transferred. Not after, not immediately after being my roommate, I am not one of the reasons that he transferred. He lasted one more year at Tufts before he transferred. And he's now at Amherst. But I'm still texting him all the time. And I'm still texting and hanging out with the people from freshman year. Yeah. Those bonds that I created, I think are just gonna last forever. When I was traveling last year for study abroad, I even met up with one of my friends from freshman year in Dublin, because she was studying abroad there. If I can have my biggest piece of advice for freshman year, is do not get into a relationship immediately freshman year before you have a friend group. Because one of the other reasons it's splintered is I have a friend that got into a relationship at the same time that they join this friend group. And then when they broke up, it started to become awkward. And it became well do you support one friend or the other friends? And you could have supported both, but nobody did. But yeah, it's just those first connections that you make freshman year. Even if you don't stay best friends with them all four years. They still are friends. And if everything goes well with that group of friends, even seeing them around campus, I feel comfortable going up and talking to them at any point. And you do for me as well, even though I haven't seen them in two years.

Venkat Raman  33:53  

How was when you transitioned? How did you find the classes and the academics?

Holden D  34:00  [The Classes]

The classes were rough. To say the least one of my classes went really, really well. Actually two of them. I was taking all of four courses, but I walked into tufts with the expectation to take five or six. Yeah, and that's because coming from high school, my senior year I took 11 courses. Well, because I'm crazy. And once again, I guess I don't like sleeping. But these courses were way more difficult than I thought they would be. I also was never the best students as it pertains to grades. Looking back through my academic career. I was not valedictorian in high school. I definitely will not be valedictorian at Tufts. But I walked in with the goal of studying international relations. So the first course that I took was introduction to enter national relations. And this is a weed out class. It is a class designed to be overly difficult. And for my concentration within international relations, it's not the most relevant, because my concentration is global health, nutrition and the environments. And we were looking at the Peloponnesian War. So, I did not do well in this course, I took my first midterm, I'm going to be honest, I failed this midterm. second midterm didn't go so great either, but I did fine on the final. And I did really, really well on the asset. So I ended up passing the class. But freshman year, I was balancing trying to be social, trying to make friends taking one of the most difficult courses on campus, also with one of the most difficult professors for this course. So that first semester was really rough. Come second semester, it got off to a good start. A couple of things here and there went wrong. I have one weekend, that was just really, really difficult for me. And they happen. And then we all just got sent home. And that moment where we got the email, the way that tufts works, is when an announcement comes out, that's a general announcement that Harvard or MIT will make the first announcement, then the other one, and Tufts is third. So Harvard had already announced it, MIT had already announced it, I was in the dining hall, I got the email, and half of the people started crying immediately. At about 25% of the people started cheering. Because college drains you. At the end of the day, these courses are not easy. They're not designed to be easy. If they weren't designed to be easy. We wouldn't be tufts, we wouldn't be ranking where we're ranking or having these alumni go on to run businesses or multimillion dollar corporations. These are not easy classes. And not every class is fun. But it's in the experience as a whole my freshman year, at every point where I was stressed, or I was anxiety, or I wasn't doing well, in a class, I looked back to really two communities. And those communities were my community that I formed on campus in my hall and through the pre orientation. And the Coca Cola scholars community. I texted friends in Chicago in New York. And we just had this one weekend through Koch scholars. But we became kind of best friends or this family. And I could call a few of them at any point and they'd pick up. So in the end, freshman year was rough. Yeah, but I got through it. And hindsight being 2020. I survived. I did fine. I'm still on track to graduate in four years. Yeah. And I'm moving on.

Venkat Raman  38:24  

So how was the second year going virtual?

Holden D  38:30  [The Virtual Year]

Second year was also fun. I came back as an RA. One of the things that I did when I was applying to colleges, is I was looking really up to things that people don't usually tell you to look for. And one of them was would you be willing to be a tour guide on this campus? For tufts? I said, Yes, because I love the campus. I love the people and the people were clearly passionate never became a tour guide. But the other one was what I want to be an RA on this campus because I wanted to be an RA. Throughout my entire experience with leadership and high school and friends, I wanted to be a resource for people and RAs in my eyes more than anything else are a resource. So I knew I wanted to be an RA I walked into my sophomore year wanting to be an RA for first year students. And then I ended up being an RA in a pandemic for first year students. All of these people were coming to Tufts for the first time first time experiencing school as a college. And it was not a normal experience for them. And it was rough. Everyone was adapting. Everyone was running around like a chicken with their head cut off just trying to figure out how to make it zoom work. And I was expected to be a resource for it. Sure. I was also expected to be a resource as In the only person or group of people that were really regulating the masking requirements on campus, um, because we were in a pandemic, you know, kind of our Yes, but the RAS were the only people that were regulating it. And we weren't allowed in the halls of other people living on campus. So one thing with Tufts is that you have to live on campus for two years, all of my friends from freshman year were living in other campuses, and half of them were all living or in other halls, and half of them were all living together. So I couldn't go hang out with them in their hall, because I wasn't going to break policy. I didn't want to be fired as an RA. Right. free housing is nice. But I, so it was kind of weird, because I ended up befriending a few of my residents. And this is absolutely something that you should not do. Do not be friends, your residents in a normal year. But what it allowed me to do is become more of a trustworthy resource for my residents. And even now two years separated or a little bit more than a year separated. I'm still hanging out with them. And there's some really close friends. And even though I'm not there, all right, they're still using me as a resource.

Venkat Raman  41:25  

Okay, so let's move to the study abroad. So you spent the entire, I guess, junior year abroad?

Holden D  41:33  [The Year Abroad - Germany]

Yeah, I, I spent all of junior year abroad. Part of it came from, I needed to learn this language. I went to Germany because I have to learn German for international relations degree, you have to get up to level eight of a language. I was told German would be an easy language. German is not an easy language. Especially when you're learning it on 5am Zoom calls when you're moved back across the country and trying to take a German classes live. Yeah, well, the school you're still going on, but you're in isolation. Yeah. So I wanted to do that. Also, honestly, there were a couple things that popped up my sophomore year on campus, and I just wanted to escape campus for a little bit. But I decided I was gonna go for the full year. Yeah. And it is the best thing I have ever done at Tufts. Hands down. which is saying a lot because I also founded a culinary magazine on campus, I found in foodie house, I was the in charge of an entire branch of student government. And the best thing I ever did was leave. Which is just comedic. But what it allowed me to do is see the world? Yeah, in the US, and even more so at Tufts, which at times is liberal and at other times is hyper liberal. What ended up happening is I got to see what was actually happening. Looking at the war and siege that's going on right now for Ukraine, one of my best friends this past year, was a Ukrainian refugee. And, of course, there were a few conversations about it. It wasn't the first conversation, but there were a few conversations. And I feel like seeing some of the refugee crisis that's happening at the Berlin train station, and talking to one of my friends who is legitimately a Ukrainian refugee, going and seeing Sarajevo in Bosnia and Herzegovina and learning about the siege on Sarajevo, which we just do not hear about in the United States. It was really eye opening. And probably the biggest thing that I learned there more than anything else is to let things go. Because at the end of the day, sure, something may seem like the end of the world. But it's when something like a social challenge happens up. It feels like the end of the world to that person. But at the end of the day, there's a whole world and in the moment, it can feel really rough. But the world kind of goes on. Yeah. And if people like stick to certain things and dwell on things. For them, sometimes the world doesn't. Sure. By seeing different cultures, different food, different experiences. I love hearing stories and and going abroad is the ultimate story experience, even more so than Broadway or the movie theater. Because you can just talk to people and learn something brand new.

Venkat Raman  45:20  

So now you're back for your senior year now. What next? Where are you headed? You mentioned business school. So any specific area that you're looking at, or

Holden D  45:34  [What Next?]

at this point, I want to go on to business school, but I'm also keeping my options open. I have a few friends that have been dreaming of law school for their entire life. And they took a practice LSAT, and they didn't do well on it. And they are now choosing not to go to law school immediately after graduation. And that's totally fine. Yeah. And for me, for the longest time, I wanted to go to law school. My freshman year, first semester, one of the first courses I took at Tufts was business law. And I'd love to the course and I was set on law school. And then I went abroad last year. And I changed my mind. And that's totally fine.

At the end of the day, what I want to do, and when I was looking at law school, I wanted to become a lawyer that supports restaurants and food trucks and their legal challenges, because I've seen too many close because they can't find adequate, knowledgeable legal assistance with their specialty in their price range. By taking a setback, that doesn't mean that it needs to be law.

Yeah, so at this point, my goal is to continue on to business school, then go work for a company for a couple of years, why not consulting firm or an incubation firm or a networking firm? Something that allows me to use my business school and get work experience. And then I want to go back and take this culinary playgrounds company that I've been working so hard on for the last five years, and make it what it should be a company that at its forefront, helps restaurants, I want to help family restaurants, a lot of them, immigrant families, a lot of them unique or world's cuisines. A lot of them cooking family recipes. And I want to get more people eating food from around the world and people sharing their passions. So the goal now is to, at the end of the day, help restaurants.

Venkat Raman  48:00  

Awesome. So hold on, let's segue to some sort of advice for aspiring students, aspiring as in high school students who are looking out trying to figure out what they want to do, what kind of college is to go to what they want to become any piece of advice that they could be doing something right now?

Holden D  48:30  [Advice for High Schoolers]

Absolutely. Looking back on the whole process of college applications, there are so many things that I wish I did differently. But at the end of the day, I ended up where I needed to be, I'm happy where I am.

So the first piece of advice that I can give anyone is don't dwell on those small details. And don't dwell on the past. At the end of the day, you're going to go where you belong. And if you don't belong there, leave. Yeah, college is expensive. Don't pay $75,000 a year to be somewhere that you don't like. Number two, of course, then as a result is apply to scholarships to make it so it's not 75 to 100 grand a year because college is really expensive in the States. Other really big piece of pieces of advice or things that I did that I was really happy with. Get started on those college applications early if you can.

And on your personal statement. Do not let your parents read them. I know that sounds weird, but I showed my parents my college application essay after I finished my applications and got into the school. And they told me about five or six changes that they would have made. Yeah. But at the end of the day, this wasn't their essay, a college application essays are about you, the future students, and who you are. And you Aren't your parents.

The other thing is, if you're going to be working, or communicating with colleges, do it yourself. Because at the end of the day, as soon as you get to that school, you're going to be doing it anyway.

Holden D  50:35  

Yeah. Just go for it. I know, we've just discussed this, but just go for it. If there's something that you're interested in or passionate about, do it. And if something stands in your way, assess the situation, as to how big of a challenge that challenge actually is. Yeah. And go somewhere that you feel comfortable and go somewhere you want to be. Try not to let anything tie you down. Because you will end up at the at the right place.

And I have one other really big piece of advice. Oh, there it is. And for your college application essay, the biggest thing that you can do is tell the story that you want to tell. It's, I was working with one of my cousins on his college application essay, and he ended up getting into his number one school and a couple other people from high school. But at the end of the day, he had this thing that he wanted to write about. But at the same time, he had another thing about himself that he said, this would be an extraordinary college application essay. Go for the one that's about what you want to write about. You're going these these schools, when they're reading your college application essay, there are some that review it based on structure and grammar. And there are some that review it on the basis of the readers are simply answering the question, how much would you want this person to be your roommate?

Yeah. And that's something unique about the American education system, we do judge each person as a person for going into these schools.

And if you're going to tell a story, tell the story that you want to tell. Tell it from your perspective entirely, and what you got out of it showing any growth. And also try to find something unique, the best essays for the personal statement, or the essays where you're saying things that only you can say, if that has anything to do with the perspective or an experience.

My college application essay, I was on a cooking show, of course, and I didn't talk about it. I mentioned it for a second. But my college application essay was about working on food trucks. And after the show ended going back and working in the community, and still learning. Yeah. And it's think about what story you want to tell. Because I know that if my parents had me write my essay, they would have talked about me being on the show, I wouldn't have talked about these food trucks. But the pretty trucks are what I love.

Venkat Raman  53:39  

So hold on, we're going to start winding down here. So before we sign off here, any memory or vignette or anecdote from your past few years in college that you'd like to share?

Holden D  53:59  [Memories]

I'm sure. I want to just say about how I got my advisor. Sure, because down the line when students need to get their advisors, they're all interested in finding the best professor or professor that they connect with really well and I did not have that usual experience. I think I can say that my entire college experience has not been the usual instant experience. Absolutely. But what is the usual experience at the end of the day? I when I was going through and trying to find an advisor, I asked a professor that I got along really well with in a class that I loved. It's one of the most difficult and one of the most interesting courses I have ever taken ancient history or ancient medical history so Greek and Roman medicine. And I often like to say that this is the course that made me no longer afraid of needles because at the Enter the day, ancient Egyptian trepanation is way worse. But I scheduled a meeting with this teacher. And I asked her if she would be my advisor. And she said no. Which first off came as a shock. I thought I got along really well with this teacher. Yeah. And it turns out I did, because this professor ended up connecting me with one of her friends. And her friend is now my advisor. And in international relations and my Interdisciplinary Studies major, and for Interdisciplinary Studies at Tufts, you have to have two other advisors and I was cold emailing these different professors for one of the professors, who was in the urban and environmental policy and planning department, nothing to do with food history. I sent him an email, I scheduled a meeting with him to talk about what I wanted to do for my thesis on my major. And he said, Yes. Another one of my advisors is in the culinary industry for food and beverage startups. And he's a teacher at the Friedman School of Nutrition, which is the tufts nutrition school in their medical school. I sent him an email scheduled a meeting and he said, Yes. The biggest thing from this story is really two things. First off, always ask. Yeah, if you are too afraid to ask, you lost the opportunity. Yep. Because if I didn't reach out to this urban and environmental policy and planning professor, I will not be one of his only undergraduate advisees. And I wouldn't have an advisor who has actually done research in culinary sociology and the food trucks and immigration in the United States. And number two, the answer no, is not the end.


Venkat  57:11  [Close]

Hi again!

Hope you enjoyed our podcast with Holden Dahlerbruch and his undergraduate experiences at Tufts.

Holden’s energy, passion and drive are in evidence during the podcast.

The Coke Scholarship is a testament to his high school accomplishments.

Holdenwent to Tufts to build his own Major -in Interdisciplinary Studies - which included Culinary History, Culture and Entrepreneurship.

In the sophomore year, in spite of  the COVID isolation, he still served as a Resident Assistant, and then spent his Junior year Abroad in Germany.

He was active on campus - started a Culinary magazine, Foodie House & was on the Student Government,

I hope Holden’s experience inspires you to check out the Coke Scholarship and explore Tufts for your UG program.

For your questions or comments on this podcast, please email podcast at almamatters.io [podcast@almamatters.io].

Thank you all so much for listening to our podcast today.

Transcripts for this podcast and previous podcasts are on almamatters.io forward slash podcasts [almamatters.io/podcasts].

To stay connected with us, Subscribe to Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts or Spotify or visit anchor.fm forward slash almamatters [anchor.fm/almamatters] to check us out.

Till we meet again, take care and be safe.

Thank you!

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