- Class: Junior
- Major: Film
- Gender: F
- High School: Rumson-Fair Haven Regional High School, Rumson, New Jersey
- Transfer Student: N
The best thing about James Madison: The people that go here! IÕm not solely talking about the students but its the faculty and staff as well. When someone told me that at JMU people open doors for you I thought it was a joke or exaggeration. False! Literally, the first time I stepped foot on campus people held doors for me. The people on this campus have certain energy: one that is specific to being at this school. Faculty is engaging and generally loves to help their students as well. Even the people who work in the dining halls have smiling faces and positive attitudes. One thing I would change: This school is just right. It is big enough that you don't know everyone. You always have opportunities to meet someone that you have never met. And it is small enough that you still see people you know around campus and around town. Since I am from out of state people don't always know what and where James Madison is located. So normally I say, "I go to James Madison in Virginia". However, when people do recognize the school they have nothing but wonderful things to say about it. They remark on how beautiful the campus is, how their son/daughter/friend/relative loved their experience there etc. Most of my time on campus is spent in Harrison hall. This is where my major is located. Most of my classes are in this building. Since I am required to work in the labs for my projects I spend after hours their as well. At first glance Harrisonburg would totally be given title," what college town?Ó when i was a freshman all i knew of the town was Walmart, Target and Sheetz. However, as I grew older and more acquainted with the town I found a lot of hidden gems. The downtown area of Harrisonburg may not be "city exciting" but there are plenty of quaint boutique, restaurants and cafes that ware worth checking out. The biggest recent controversy that I can remember is the SGA president resigned because many of his plans for the campus were stolen from another school's SGA. I was in Florence at the time though. I only heard about it after. J-M-U DUUUUKES! This school has an overwhelming amount of school pride. People love being able to say they go to JMU. Football games are always a sure fire way to show your school spirit and within 30 minutes of being there once will have heard 4 JMU cheers and 2 recitings of the fight song. ItÕs strange because most school has a lot of school pride because their athletic teams are nationally recognized. JMU is not in a huge conference and is not normally televised for such. However, I think it is because of the general student body that there is so much love and respect for this school. Unlike other big names schools that worship their athletes and athletic schedule, JMU students worship the entire student body. We love each other and are so proud to all be a part of something so special. One JMU complaint that is most prevalent is that registering for classes is very difficult. Classes fill up very fast and priority is mostly given to upperclassmen. In this case it's best to be patient and plan your entire four-year schedule ahead of time. Another option is to take a course during the summer. "Maymester" as we call it is either a four-week or 8 week course taken immediately following the spring semester. Courses donÕt usually fill up and maymester can be a lot of fun.
In Large lectures unless you make an effort to seek out the professor time and time again via office hours or emails, professors will not know your name. However, as the years pass and you begin to take classes more specific to your major, the classes get smaller and more intimate. Many of my media arts professors know my name and my capabilities. This makes them ideal for recommendations further down the road. My favorite class right now is Shooting and Editing in the Field. Being a SMAD major with a digital video concentration I thrive on course opportunities that allow you to become hands on with amazing equipment and also to let my creative juices flow. During this class (which I took over maymester) each student was given a state of the art High Definition Video Camera and tripod. We were able to practice the technical as well as aesthetic principles in shooting video. Then we were given the opportunity to go back to the editing lab and create film shots and shorts. The editing lab that the JMU SMAD department has is the most advanced lab in the country. Each student was given his or her own system of two monitors. The computers are fully equipped with every program a video editor could want to work with. Studying is all relative to your major I think. In terms of my major the tests are not really what takes the most time. The most time is taken to learn the programs and equipment. Creating projects and films take a lot more time for me than reading chapters in a book. I take this creative portion of my major very seriously and thus take the time to make it great. I enjoy it. I would say I study for about 3 hours a night. Class participation is very common and matters a lot. JMU students often have intellectual conversations outside of class. Many times itÕs the discussions in the classroom that lead to further contemplation outside the classroom with friends. With the presidential race coming up students are eager to share opinions with each other. Current events are a lot of times viewed while watching the news on one of the dining hall television sets. This curbs conversation and discussion during lunch hand dinner. The SMAD department at JMU is extraordinary and is always advancing. Since it is a mostly technical field it forces the department to always be evolving to the latest ideas. The school of media arts and design offer several concentration areas: Cinema Studies, Corporate Communication, Digital Video, Interactive Media and Print Journalism. In order to get into the major every student must receive a C in the SMAD 101 course. You also must submit an application and complete a test, which tests your knowledge in the area. You choose which concentration you want when you apply. The introductory courses into the SMAD programs are ones, which every concentration has to take. Therefore, those course touch on every concentration in the major to appeal to all its students. As the courses go on, they break off into concentrations. Each course goes deeper in depth of the concentrations and skills you are to acquire in the major. The courses in my major are definitely geared to give you the skills to get a job after college. However, since all SMAD students are required to take the core classes they learn other aspects to the general field of Media Arts that may not specifically have to do with getting a job but are beneficial to know as a student of media arts. Also the subject of media arts has a lot to do with the world around us today. We are growing up in a world of technology, television computers; so it is essential as a person today to realize and become aware of our surroundings so that we may better understand their meaning (what service they serve, why the maker chose to make it in that way, etc)
The other experience I have had to deal with personally is my religion. I have not found very many students on campus that are Catholic. This has not made my JMU experience negative but it has made it different from my home life and hometown. Since not too many of the students attend regular weekly mass it has been hard to maintain that routine. The campus does offer catholic mass though throughout the week so it is not to say that the campus does not acknowledge the religion. I am merely saying it has been an adjustment for me to maintain going to mass even though my friends do not. Students dress casually to class. Everyone mostly wears jeans. Some wear sweatpants and pajamas to class though it is not overly common. Different types of students interact all the time. Through group projects and clubs I have had to work and develop relationships with students very different from me. Its not to say I didnÕt want to or it was hard. Surprisingly it has benefited me. I met many people I would not have normally walked up to and befriend. I would say about half the people I meet are from Virginia. However, this does not stereotype people to being in state or out of state. As I have found (being out of state and unknowledgeable of Virginia) Virginia is a very diverse state. Northern Virginia is very different from Central/Southern Virginia. The differences donÕt cause quarrels however. Everyone gets along out of state or in state. Most students are from the east coast though.
The Best Things
The People who go here, work here etc
The Worst Things
Being in the middle of no where. Being out of state unless you have a car it is impossible to get home sometimes.