- Class: Senior
- Major: Physics
- Gender: M
- High School: Benzie Central High School
- Transfer Student: Y
I'm going to go ahead and just address the questions here one at a time: The best thing about MSU is that it offers degree programs in every subject you can think of. I came to school without any idea of what I wanted to do, and at Michigan State you dont have to be afraid of them not having a program for a subject that you think might be interested in. If I could change one thing about MSU I would change its reputation (I am trying, and not just through this forum) because the experience I have at MSU has helped land me in presitgious internships around the country and given me every opportunity to succeed. Just because MSU accepts students with sub par test scores and GPAs does not mean that there are not incredibly smart people there, along with world class faculty. MSU is a huge school, and it seems like you never see the same person twice at first except in the residence halls. However, as you get more advanced in your major, you begin to make connections with people who are always in the same group of classes as you. Personally, I hate crowded places, like big cities, but MSU has a sort of sprawling beautiful landscape that makes it feel almost rural and less like you are surrounded by 45000 students. East Lansing is a college town. The population approximately doubles when school is in session (with a permanant population around 40,000, which is close to the enrollment at MSU). There is a lot of stuff to do around there because the town is built around the institution. Sometimes you have to look for stuff to do, but usually you will find people playing every sport around campus, and fliers for most any activity you can imagine as long as you are willing to get out of your room and participate! I don't have any close ties to MSU's administration, but in my case I have never had anything to complain about. The most recent controversy at MSU was Cedarfest. Apperently Cedarfest used to be an annual event where people got excessively loud, drunk, and obnoxious. Last year there was a reincarnation of Cedarfest which got national media attention because of students getting tear gassed and tearing down street signs. I wasn't there, but I know a lot of people who were. There were sufficient warnings tat it was going on, and the police handled it well from what I hear, but I found it insulting that our school was being stereotyped because of this "riot", but a lot of people who I talked to thought it was really cool. I guess it is just a matter of perspective. Personally, I wish it hadn't taken place. People wear green and white every day. The student sections at sporting events is loud and faithful. As with anything, there are people who like to be on the other side have little pride or spirit. That being said, the vast majority of spartans are proud to go to MSU and wear their colors. Go Green! Go White! I have attended two other institutions on my way to MSU, and none have been the same. In that respect, I think all schools are unique because they all feel just a little different. As a physics major, the National Superconducting Cyclotron Laboratory (NSCL) makes MSU stand out above most other universities. I think that most students discover what sort of things are unusual and important on their own personal level. One experience I will always remember is a football game. Near the end of last season, we beat Penn State in the waning minutes at Spartan Stadium to give ourselves a chance at a bowl bid last year. It was the first year that I had been attending Spartan football games, and it was a blast. The whole student section was cheering, and it didn't matter if you were a senior or a freshman, a math or communications major, or anything. Everyone was just a Spartan. People like to complain about all kinds of things. It seems like the most common complaint is about having to go to class or do homework, but I don't really know what can be done about that.
Profoessors in my classese usually know your name. The classes are typically large, especially for 100 and 200 level (freshman and sophomore) classes. The largest class I ever had was also the most fun. It was a 600 person lecture, with the most charismatic professor I have ever met. We are still occasionally in email correspondence. Most of the professors like to meet and talk to students, which makes your anonymity a personal choice more than a result of the system. On the other end of the spectrum, higher level classes sometimes have very few students. I had a math class with 10 people. There are lots of conversations about classes outside of the classroom. Especially in higher level classes when you are beginning to have lots of classes with the group of sutdents in your major, and the homework gets hard enough where doing it alone is perilous, everyone likes to get together and work together (which is usually encouraged by professors). This sort of experience makes you realize how many talented intellectuals attend a university like MSU, as just about every day the students are teaching each other as much as the professor is, which is--just to clarify--definately not a bad thing. Students try to help each other on homework and understanding, but many courses are graded from the average (curved) so students have to be competetive to get good grades. I feel like this is a bad educational system, but it is pretty muchuniversal. The problem is that theoretically, a 3.0 could be very close to a 2.0 or a 4.0, however, this is getting into semantics and hair splitting. The most unique class I have taken was a communications class with 600 people (referenced above). The class was tought by Steve McCornack and his wife, and it was on relationships. Even though this course was way outside my major, it was the most fun class I have ever taken, and the way the lecture was given, it was almost like going to a comedy club twice a week. Using humor as an avenue to teach, I ended up learning a lot in that course. I am a physics major. There are probably 400 students in my major, but way more than half are freshman and sophomores, so in the classes that you really need help in, the student to faculty ratio becomes reasonable. For the freshman and sophomores, there is a lot of help provided by the upper classman on those classes. The professors are often willing to help as well. There are a lot of professors in East Lansing too, so sometimes you see them outside of class. I acutally play Ultimate (frisbee) with several professors at the institution, and I will be doing a 300 mile bike trip this fall with several other professors. You will find that the professors are very real people, and not just teachers as they sometimes are in high school. MSU's degree completion requirements assure that you will have a basic grasp on the subject, which is the goal of an undergraduate curriculum. I would say that the classes that are required are--although sometimes annoying--almost always beneficial to the fireld that you have chosen. Your educational experience at any institution is really what you make it, and what you put into it. That being said, typically the more important upper level courses are geared towards what you really need to know in a job or in the "real world" and sometimes the other stuff gets pushed aside a little bit. Usually it is coverred bu not emphasised. This is neither good or bad, but just a philosophical statement of how my professors have been on average. Some of my professors have been just the opposite. It just depends on their goals and interests.
I came from a small 99% white town in Northwestern Lower Michigan and coming to MSU was a bit of a culture shock. You can find people at MSU of every belief set and every ethnicity. It really is a very diverse place, and they make sure to put an emphasis on that. People from every walk of life are encouraged to interact inside and outside the classroom in such a way that it would be hard to find a combination of past experiences and beliefs that could not find a group on campus to accept them with open arms. What do students wear to class? Clothes. Okay, on a more serious note, jsut about every type of dress is accepted. Sometimes people are walking around in fancy suits to the buisiness college or dressed up for presentaions. On the other end of the spectrum, there are those of us who wear pajamas to class. Basically, the "dress code" is catered to being physically and mentally comfortable. There are WAY more than four tables in any dining room, and most of them are full. Often times you see peple of similar race, religion, or background sitting together, but this is definately not the rule. I am happy and proud to say that I have a very diverse group of friends at MSU. Most MSU students are from the state of Michigan or the surrounding Midwestern region. MSU does, however, have representation from every state (I think) and well over 100 countries. With student aid being mostly need based, there are students from every financial background. MSU has a great political science school at James Madison college. However, these are not the only student with insight and opinions to what is going on in the world. The State News always has editorials and stories that tend to stirr up your opinions and arouse some debates. You might not see people walking around always debating the presumptive nominees of their respective parties, but when you live with people for the majority of the year day in and day out, you end up talking about these kinds of things from time to time. With so many students there are people of all kinds of political background. On average, it probably comes out right in the middle, but that doesnt mean there aren't people like myself (very liveral) and my roommate (far right). One thing that annoys me is how salient the subject fo future earnings is. Oftentimes at meetings, people are asked to say their name, major, and goals, and making lots of money is a prominent response. However, that is just because I'm a little bit oof an idealist who likes to think that there are far more important things than money.
The Best Things
The people, the professors, and the wealth of activities and resources at your disposal.
The Worst Things
The party scene.