• Hometown: Cameron Park, California
  • Outside the Classroom: Athlete-musician-economist-marketer-socialite
  • Future Goal: To earn an MBA at Mills by the time she is 21

Tess was a sought-after student for her accomplishments in music. With a wide range of interests and skills, she preferred to major in another subject and to minor in music. Mills gave her the space to explore new sides of herself, and the prompt, helpful, and personal responses she received from Mills made her feel welcome and valued.

What attracted you to Mills? When I was researching colleges, the majority of the schools told me that “they were awesome.” They wanted me to attend and become one of them. Mills’ vibe was entirely different. They said “you are awesome—come here so we can help you be the best you.”

What do you like best about living on campus? The best part of living on campus is the social life and the convenience and flexibility of having everything in one central location. I share my room with an awesome roommate. It’s surprisingly spacious and comfortable, when we keep it clean! I love that we have in-room sinks in some of our residence halls. I made the room my own by hanging pictures, posters, art, jewelry, bulletin boards, and cork boards all over the walls. It’s very easy to make the space feel like home.

My day starts at 5:00 am for crew and doesn’t end until 10:30 pm or 11:00 pm most nights. With two on-campus jobs, eight classes, and a sport, I need to be flexible when something comes up and be able to get around quickly. Living on campus makes doing everything I want to do a little bit more cohesive and gives me a few more minutes of the day to do it all!

How has Mills surprised you? Mills surprised me with its attention to quality. The faculty and staff know their stuff, and they want students to know theirs too. People work together and help out whenever someone needs it. The academics are challenging, but guided. Mills will direct you down the right path in the way that fits you. Mills changed my direction because it showed me a new side of myself. Daily I’m reminded how fortunate I am to be at a place where striving for excellence is an everyday action instead of a future plan.

Have you tried anything new at Mills? Rowing has been a completely new experience. I never exercised regularly or played on a team sport. I was never even a morning person. Being on crew has shown me the reward of hard work. I’m more fit than I’ve ever been, and my physical strength is at levels I didn’t think were possible. My diet has changed for the better, and I feel more awake, clean, and healthy.