- Class: Senior
- Major: Psychology
- Gender: F
- High School: Massapequa High School
- Transfer Student: N
The best thing about Stony Brook, let's see... it's very affordable, and has a great reputation. One thing I'd change about Stony Brook is how inpersonal it can feel sometimes. I think that goes with a lot of large schools, you can easily feel like you are just another face in the crowd. I think Stony Brook is working on this already, but they need to make a stronger effort to reach out to their students to make them aware of the resources available to them on campus such as the Career Center and Academic Advising. As I mentioned in my previous statement, I feel Stony Brook is too large. Most of my classes average about 100-200 students, even at upper division levels. When I tell people I go to Stony Brook, most people seem impressed. I feel proud to be an SBU student, we're often in the news for something wonderful that we do. This semester I seem to spend most of my time on campus in class since my schedule is set up where I have classes back to back. However, previous semesters, much of my downtime was spent eating. Freshman year if my friends and I were bored in class, we would often leave to get food at the SAC (Student Activities Center). Another place I spend my time on campus is at one of the many SINC sites. SINC sites are where students can use computers for school (or personal use) and can print there too. Stony Brook is not a college town to me. I feel like Stony Brook University just happens to be located in Stony Brook. Other than that, I don't think it has much of an influence. Ah, Stony Brook's administration. Some might call them a necessary evil, but I have no problem with them. In fact, there are many administrators on campus who seem to really care about the students' best interests. Biggest controversy on campus? This past school year, there have been reports of several minor robbery attempts at the quads late at night. It's just odd because you wouldn't expect Stony Brook to seem unsafe. I used to have no qualms about walking to my car alone at night after class, now I try to be more aware of my surroundings. Stony Brook is desperately trying to up the school pride through sporting events and such. SBU wants to become one of those schools where everyone is into the "big game". I think our school pride is getting better, but we have a long way to go. I think it is hard to foster that sort of pride when half the school commutes, and out of those commuters, many only go to campus for class and nothing more. One thing that might strike some as unusual is the annual science fiction convention that happens in the spring known as I-CON. I've never been on campus during this event (since I commute, and it's usually on a weekend). I've heard during the convention weekend, the SBU buildings are infiltrated with all sorts of people dressed up representing their beloved sci fi genre. That's something I can personally do without seeing, but I'm sure for many it's exciting. I'll always remember my experience as part of the learning communities freshman year. The learning community program is only offered to freshman. It's designed so that you get the feel of a small college, since your scheduling is done for you and many of the students in your LRN class are also in your PSY class, PHI class, etc. I met my closest friends from SBU through this program. The most frequent student complaints I hear are about the food being overpriced, the classes being too hard, and from a commuter's point of view, the school does not like to cancel class in inclement weather. Also, some students complain about nothing to do on campus.
Professors typically do not know your name, as many of the classes have 100+ students. In order for a professor to know your name, you have to put in a strong effort to participate in class and meet with the professor during office hours. There are some classes at Stony Brook which are smaller, I think I just happened to take many of the classes that are bigger. Another good way to let a professor know who you are is by doing research for them or being a teacher's assistant. That's probably a wise move for your academic future anyway, because those are great ways to get a letter of recommendation for grad school. My favorite class so far has been CFS 308: Violence in the Family. I loved that class because Rachel Kalish, the instructor of the course, had a way of making each class engaging. The class always went by so quickly because the material covered was actually interesting. My least favorite class has to be one I took for a DEC, which was AAS 220: China: Language and Culture. My friends and I all took it together, thinking it would be fairly easy. It ended up being really annoying. The teacher wanted everyone to do group presentations (the class was probably about 100/110 people). These presentations were originally to be 5 minutes long, but of course the first group to present went on for 10 minutes, which set the bar for everyone trying to out-do each other to look like they were better informed. It got to a point where some groups had to be presenting for at least 20 minutes, and I'm sorry to say, but the Hunan Province can only be entertaining for so long. The teacher kept changing the syllabus, and in the end, I have no clue how I got my grade since my teacher never handed anything back. Some students study a lot, some never crack open a book. I think it just depends on the individual. There are dorms on campus where it is quiet 24 hours a day. I have no idea who would elect to live in such a place, but to each their own. Class participation depends on the type of class. Some professors never make it part of the class, whereas other professors encourage it, even if the class is large. Often, it is the same few people who participate in class. Sometimes the people who participate aren't very helpful to the flow of the class, and ask questions that are pretty much irrelevant. I think students do engage in intellectual conversations outside of class, I know I do. Some students are competitive, but I'm sure it depends on what major you are. The most unique class I've taken so far is PSY 346 Health Psychology. The class is a lecture sized class, and yet the teacher has the class split up into discussion groups and minicourses on certain days, run by the UTAs. The students get to sign up for whichever group they are interested in, and participation and attendance to these groups are actually part of your grade. It's confusing at first, but it's really a great way to learn. I took a discussion group on stress management, so I got credit towards my grade for learning about something that is beneficial to me anyway. I am a psychology major, and my department is heavily research oriented. There are plenty opportunities to become a research assistant, and in the Honors College for Psych, you can even create your own project. I personally find my department advisor to be unhelpful, as anytime I have visited her office in the past, I was treated as if I was inconveniencing her. I remember when I was looking into internships and I went to the psych dept for help. My advisor gave me one reference, and it turns out the person she told me to contact no longer worked for the agency. I have spoken to other students who also have had bad experiences with the advisor. It just seems like she doesn't want to advise students at all. Lucky for me I know how to read my course bulletin, or else I'd be completely lost as to what I need to do to complete my major. I do not spend time with professors outside of class, I don't think I ever have, except for office hours. I think there are too many students on campus for professors to try and fraternize with. Stony Brook requires each student complete a set of classes known as DECS. They are labeled A-K, and certain ones require two courses in order to satisfy the req. I understand the reasoning behind DECs, but I find them to be annoying, and just one more thing to worry about completing in order to graduate on time. There has been one DEC, which is on european traditions, that I finally took this semester. It has been haunting me for the past four years and I just never found one I could tolerate until now. I think Stony Brook's education is geared towards both getting a job and learning for it's own sake. Stony Brook provides plenty of internships on campus, and linkages to ones offcampus. Stony Brook has pretty much everything you can want in an education. There are so many classes to choose from, you can certainly seek out whatever you are looking for in the college experience here at SBU.
Stony Brook is a very diverse campus, people from all backgrounds come here. I've noticed that although SBU is very diverse, people from certain ethnic groups tend to gravitate towards one another. What I think is nice is that there are clubs for people of every background. You can certainly find your nitch at Stony Brook, I don't think there is any student who would feel out of place. It is hard to interact with others at times on campus because people tend to keep to themselves in class. Let's see, four tables of students in the dining hall. I'd say one table would belong to a fraternity, one to students of the same ethnic background, one table for the non-traditional students, and then there is a table where one person is sitting alone, although there are 5 empty seats surrounding them I think most SBU students are from Long Island or one of the 5 burroughs. However, there are some international students, and a sprinkling of students from across the country. At least that's my perception. Financial backgrounds, well it is Long Island, so there are certainly people who come from upper-middle class to upper class background. I think there are a lot of students who are middle class, and who couldn't afford to go to a private school, and heard SBU has an excellent reputation anyway. Students are politically aware, we have NYPIRG, who campaigns to ensure every student is registered to vote. I think Stony Brook is overall a very liberal campus, you can tell by the way the classes are. I don't think any professor I've encountered would be considered conservative so far. I don't hear much talk about how much students will earn one day.
The Best Things
It provides a lot of great ways to get hands on experience, if you know where to look
The Worst Things
They really need to improve their parking, the only decent spots are in lots where you have to pay