10 Questions with Andrew Brodsky


(Courtland Sutton)

Brian Hou

  1. You wrote an op-ed for the Hustler challenging Vanderbilt students to admit their failures. Has your view of failure changed at all over the course of your time at Vanderbilt?

So, I wouldn’t say it’s changed as much as it’s evolved. So I failed at a lot of things freshman year, and I think it’s important to remember that, because I think part of it was sort of hubris in a way. I came in freshman year and I saw all these upperclassmen–they were super amazing at all these different things, they’re in like 7 different organizations, their email signatures were like 5 miles long and it was depressing. I felt bad about myself because I hadn’t accomplished that, when in actuality you can’t get that much done your freshman year. But I definitely do think it’s important to have those failures so you can know what it is that you want to do with your life. So I would say it’s definitely evolved in the sense that I understand more clearly how failure affects the rest of your time.

  1. What was it like being a part of (and not winning) the VSG election? Is there anything you would have done differently?

Running for VP was definitely one of the most memorable things I’ve done at Vandy, and I wouldn’t change any of it for a second. Going back to the failures thing, I wouldn’t classify that election, me and Jude losing, as a failure because of the different things I gained from that. Jude and I were already pretty good friends before, but now after going through that process together, I can say Jude is one of my closest friends that I have, which is a really great feeling because we have that shared bond. But I’ve also been able to meet so many other people through that process, and more importantly I realized what I was truly passionate about on campus. When we were going through the process or making platform points or talking to different groups of people or doing debates, I found that the things I was passionate about I was able to talk about really really well. For example, I discovered I really love talking and working with mental health on campus. Anytime our platform mentioned anything like that or did anything revolving around that area, I would absolutely love it, devour it, killed the questions. I think there is a big stigma on Vandy’s campus about the correct way to do Vandy, how to have THE Vandy experience, and it’s really not healthy for a lot of our students, and it definitely wasn’t healthy for me my first few years. 

I think there is a big stigma on Vandy’s campus about the correct way to do Vandy, how to have THE Vandy experience, and it’s really not healthy for a lot of our students

  1. You are responsible for the Vanderbilt Snapchat account. What’s the best selfie you’ve ever taken?

God, there’s like five. I think the most recent one that’s sticking out to me, I took over the Vandy snapchat for the day of Founders Walk and Community Creed, the day after freshman move in. With the great responsibility of having the VU snapchat, there comes like a great, a great…I don’t know, I’m quoting Spiderman. With that power comes a great responsibility, but you also have so much power. You can just go up to people and be like “I have the university snapchat,” and they’ll do things for you. At Founder’s Walk, I got there, and I went up to the front where Chancellor Zeppos was standing, and I was like “Hey chancellor, do you think we could go up on stage and take out my selfie stick and take a selfie with you and the class of 2020?” And he was like “Yeah, sure.” So we went up and did that. So that was definitely the most recent one that sticks out to me. One that was a little farther back that may or may not count as a selfie, but I’ll count it, last year Paula Deen came to the bookstore to do a cookbook signing or whatever. It was at this point where I was trying to figure out different presents I could get for my mom or sister for Christmas, so I thought “Oh a signed Paula Deen cookbook sounds great.” So I went and bought one of those. When I went up to get her to sign it, I was able to get her to say “Anchor Down” on video, so that’s on my Instagram.

  1. You look a lot like the character Mitchell Pritchett from Modern Family. Has anyone ever asked you about that?

Yeah, so a lot of people compare me to Jesse Tyler Ferguson. It really wasn’t until my friend Gabi Grys posted a side-by-side of us on Facebook that people really started noticing, though. It was late one night, and I was wearing this super comfy (read: super grandpa-ish) cardigan and leaning up against a wall. She found a picture of Jesse Tyler Ferguson as Mitchell from Modern Family wearing basically the exact same cardigan and leaning up against a wall. Gabi Pic-stitched the two pictures together and posted it on Facebook. We looked so similar that people started asking me why Gabi posted a collage with two pictures of me wearing a cardigan. It got a little out of hand for a while, but I was totally fine with it–Jesse is an amazing person, and a role model for gingers everywhere.

  1. Can you describe a little bit of your involvement with Alternative Spring Break?

It was one of the coolest things I’ve ever done because it really gave me the opportunity to get close with all these people who I kinda knew before, but didn’t actually know it turns out. So I was taken off the waitlist last year, so they put me in a group where I already knew a lot of the people, which isn’t the most pivotal ASB experience, but I think it helped because I knew those people–it really allowed me to dive deep and get to know them even more. We were in Glen Canyon, Arizona, and we got to camp out under the stars, and cook dinner together, pitch tents, plant trees and all that stuff. Just really share each other’s life stories. ASB did what’s called a “Lifemap,” so at the end of every night, two people at your site share their life story, and you can ask them questions and get to know them more. 

  1. What is the weirdest question you have gotten from someone as a tour guide?

So I had this water bottle that I would carry around all summer… and I was walking around with it on one tour, and we got over to the Commons Center, and I’d be like drinking out of it, and one mom asks me…“Yes, is that vodka you’re drinking out of your water bottle?” And I was like, “No, if it were vodka I would’ve like died by the time I got to the bridge.” That was really awkward, and like two days later…another mom asked me–individually, it wasn’t in front of a group, so that was nice–she asks me where all the students get their fake IDs from, and I had no idea how to answer that. Freshman Andrew was so innocent, and I’m like, “I don’t know, the DMV? That’s where I got my ID.” But yeah, those are probably the weirdest two I have ever gotten.

and one mom asks me…“Yes, is that vodka you’re drinking out of your water bottle?”

  1. I’ve heard you have a profile picture of you wearing socks and Chacos. What’s the Chacos hype all about?

So, Chacos are fantastic–I’m wearing them right now. I think they’re definitively the best footwear that you can have as a human being. Some people are like no, Birkenstocks are better–they’re wrong, not gonna get into that. Chacos are great. I’ve had this pair of Chacos since ninth grade; I don’t know if you can get a better shoe. For a while in my life, I was really against wearing socks with Chacos, just because it looks terrible and doesn’t make sense. They’re sandals, you don’t wear socks with sandals. But on our last day of ASB, it was the beginning of March when it was still pretty cold outside, we were driving around Arizona before we got on our flight to come back. By that point, we’ve been camping out in the canyon for a whole week, we didn’t have access to showers or anything like that…I didn’t know where half of my shoes or half of my clothes were, to be honest. So that day I just threw on some stuff that I could find, and I found these socks that are really warm so I put those on and put on my Chac’s because I didn’t know where the rest of my shoes were. I didn’t mean to do it, but I think I fell in love with socks and Chacos, especially in the winter, it’s just so comfy, because they are the best shoe that exists, and you want to stay warm, so you wear your wool socks with Chacos. I guess I’ve been converted.

  1. You’re a current VUCeptor for the freshman Class of 2020. How would you describe your Visions group this year?

My Visions group this year is 18 of my favorite people on the planet. One thing I love about Visions is that it really brings different perspectives from all around the country and all across the world together. Pedro over there, he’s one of my VUCeptees–I love him so much, he’s fantastic. It brings all these different people together, and it amazes me that every year, this disparate group of people can come together and really form these bonds and have tough discussions and all of these amazing things. And it helps that I have an amazing faculty partner too. Nina Warnke is the assistant Dean of the Commons, and she is one of the sweetest people on the planet.

  1. What is the best food that you’ve had at a Vanderbilt dining area?

So my freshman year, you know the f’real milkshake machines? There’s one in the Commons munchie now, but my freshman year there wasn’t one there, and I would hate it so much, because we didn’t have the f’real milkshakes back in Arkansas, because it was Arkansas. The first time I experienced it was in Kissam at midnight, and it was fantastic. So I built up these cravings for midnight milkshakes. But I didn’t want to go to Kissam every midnight for milkshakes, and there wasn’t one here. So me and my freshman hubris, and not having any sense of how things actually worked, I just sat down and emailed the director of dining first semester, like “Hey Mr. Howard, so it’s come to my attention that a lot of freshmen really, really want a f’real milkshake machine in the Commons munchie mart. I talked to a lot of people about this, and they really want it.” That was a lie, I talked to no one, it was just me. “Would it be possible for us to get a f’real milkshake machine in the Commons munchie mart?”… Nothing happened all of second semester, but over the summer, I got an email from Camp Howard saying “Hi Andrew, when you get back to campus, make sure you check out the Commons center munchie mart, there’s something there and I think you’ll be really excited about it.” I was like OK, so I came back sophomore year, went in the munchie mart, and there, where the terrible slushie machine was, sat a brand new milkshake machine.

  1. What are you looking forward most to this year?

Figuring out what I want to do with my life… hopefully, maybe not, probably never figuring that out. I’ve been putting that off the past two years. I came into Vandy as a secondary education and chemistry major; I thought I wanted to teach high school chemistry. But then I realized I hate chemistry and I hate working with children, so I jumped ship to HOD, which is probably the most broad or vague major you can have. So I’ve been putting off figuring out what I actually want to do after I graduate for the past two years, but I think now is the time to really crack down and figure out what I want to do. I’m planning on going around and trying out a bunch of new things that I haven’t done before to see what I enjoy and hopefully figuring out some semblance of a life plan after that.