That Girl: Caroline Mullis

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April 24, 2009

5:29 AM

__Caroline Mullis joins me, alert and talkative, despite a late night preparing for a biochemistry exam. Hailing from outside of Atlanta, Ga. the former president of Alpha Chi Omega is an avid Avalon and Williamsburg AIDS Network volunteer, a self-proclaimed Blackberry addict and the possessor of a definite independent streak. This neuroscience and women’s studies double major is spending the coming summer cramming for the MCATs, volunteering and likely preparing herself for medical school and a future working with infectious disease. Caroline spoke about her time spent in Africa, the thrill of biking the Colonial Parkway and why she just spent the previous hour distributing condoms at lunch in the Sadler Center.__

**You have been a Student Assembly Senator for two years now. What have been some issues you’ve encountered and felt especially strong about?**

The one thing I ran on was trying to get condoms more readily available on campus. I’m not even sure how pressing of an issue that is, but it’s something I’ve been working on. Earlier today I was actually distributing some condoms that the SA had, along with candy in bowls, upstairs in the [Sadler Center] during lunch. Someone should do a social experiment on that because I mixed the condoms and candy together and kind of sat back a little bit so people wouldn’t be scared to take them or feel like I was judging them. Some people took five pieces of candy, some people took a handful of everything and some people just took the condoms.

**You also do some volunteering with organizations working to fight AIDS?**

I had someone in my family pass away of AIDS when I was really young and got involved with the Williamsburg AIDS Network and the community so I was enjoying that here. Also, this past summer I worked in a clinic in Cape Town, South Africa, which was a really great experience. I hate to be cliché like people sometimes are when they come back from volunteering somewhere by saying “it completely changed me,” but I guess it was just interesting to be exposed to.

**What were your duties working in the clinic?**

They had both a clinic and the teaching program, so in the morning I’d go to the clinic for a couple hours. I worked in triage so I was taking temperatures and weights and writing down what patients were coming in for. That was difficult since they speak another language, though a decent number of them know English. In the afternoon we often did childcare types of things. Later on in the program I got to do some different things: I sat in on some doctors, I was giving birth control shots at one point and I got to do one HIV test. I filled in blood forms and one time I took a guy to the hospital.

**During your time in Cape Town you were able to do some other cool activities such as a shark dive. What was that like?**

You’re in a cage which is on floats connected to your boat. They throw chum into the water and have a tuna head on a bait and they wave it around and the sharks come up; they basically tease the sharks, it’s kind of horrible. They’ll yell “Shark, Shark” and you duck down in the water; there’s a bit of air above the cage since it’s not scuba — you only have a mask. Then the sharks swim by and you see them; at one point the shark got its mouth stuck in the cage for a few seconds. Luckily it was on the way opposite side of the cage from me.

**On your Facebook you have this motto: “Idon’t have time for this bullshit.” Does that tie in to how you live your life?**

[Laugh] I do try to live by that philosophy. I try to avoid drama or bullshit behavior; that’s sort of my role in the Senate as well. I was out at the fraternities one night my sophomore year and I wasn’t having fun so I had this thought process where I was just like, “I don’t have time for this bullshit anymore” and just left. It doesn’t mean I avoid it all the time, but I do like to call people out when they’re bullshitting or being ridiculous because I think our world would be a better place if there was less of it.

**If you could meet a public figure, who would it be?**

Nelson Mandela. Number one, I’m on a big South Africa kick after having been there and been in love with it. I also read his autobiography and I have so much respect for him as a person. I’m sure he would have a lot of insight and perspective on life, which I’d love to gain. I’d like to meet Mariah Carey though too. I guess because she’s hot and to ask her why she insured her legs. She has insurance on her legs; I don’t even know how that works.

**What’s something you can’t live without?**

I just got a Blackberry last semester and I couldn’t live without it; it’s totally a crackberry like everyone says. You become addicted. The most addictive thing is BrickBreaker, which is this game on it that I actually gave up successfully. I didn’t have to uninstall it which is normally something I have to do. I had Snood on my computer and I had to uninstall it because I was spending way too much time playing that. Also I text or check my e-mail a lot on my Blackberry; you know sometimes you get five and sometimes you get none so you keep checking it. I probably should never have gotten into it.

**What’s one goal you have before you die?**

I used to have this really weird goal list that I made and one of them that I haven’t accomplished and I probably never can is to walk through a carwash. That’s not really a goal though, because I’d probably die walking through. I always wanted to walk through a drive-thru but I did that senior year of high school. I also like to make smaller goals; I really want to bike the whole Colonial Parkway. I’ve come to the conclusion that I’m not a very safe biker and that I’m likely to get in a bike accident: I ride on the wrong side of the road and other bikers get mad at me and I don’t know all the signals so I don’t use them. One time I did part of the Colonial Parkway. It was interesting and kind of terrifying because cars whiz by. It’s so long; I think I’d go to Yorktown and then get someone to pick me up!

**What’s something people around here might not know about you?**

A lot of people see me as in the Senate and don’t know I work in a rat lab on campus; I research with a professor. Right now he’s doing nicotine impairment of learning.

**Are you reading a book for pleasure at the moment?**

I’m actually reading the fourth “Twilight” book. I only read it because it’s popular and everyone around me hyped it up. I’m really impressed; I think she puts a lot of sexual tension in those books without having any sex until the fourth book and then when she does its boring. I like Harry Potter as well.

**Which is your favorite Harry Potter book?**

I like the one with the tri-wizard tournament in it. I get them confused, so whichever one that is. When the last one came out, me and two of my friends dressed up as characters. I was Ron since I have reddish hair, and one of my friends was Harry and one was Hermione. One of my friend’s dads is a woodcarver so he made us wands out of wood and we wore graduation robes. We were really cool because everyone else was like twelve at the Harry Potter book opening.

__The last question I ask Caroline is what advice she’d give to the younger members of the college community. She answers casually in her seemingly trademark manner: “Live with the motto: Cut the bullshit out.”__

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