- Class: Senior
- Major: Education
- Gender: F
- High School: Saugus High School, Saugus, CA
- Transfer Student: N
If I could make a major change at UA, I would do the impossible and break up the greek system to be less elitist, less political, and more approachable. From an outsider's point of view, one would never know that Greeks make up about 28% of the student population here at UA, because they have the appearance and presence of being the majority, since they seem to dominate all leadership positions on campus. The greek system here at UA is segregated and corrupt. Independents on campus rightfully feel that they have little influence over what happens on campus because the Machine has dominated campus politics for so long, it seems that even showing up to vote is a wasted effort, hence the less than 20% voter turnout for campus elections. Granted the greek system is a great way to socialize, serve the community, and collaborate with groups of like-minded, smart men and women, but its manifestation on campus has been so pervasive and evolved so corruptly that it is more of a burden than a blessing at this point.
The academic rigor at the University was incredibly disappointing. The amount of grade inflation that goes on within the classes, as well as the level of discussion that takes place has been below the hopes I had of intellectual stimulation upon arrival in 2005. My most difficult challenge was keeping up with the reading, even though I could usually get away with not reading for at least one of my classes. Within my major, Secondary Education - Social Studies, the history classes I took were the most rigorous courses I encountered during my time at the University. One class in particular stood out, and although I have recently been informed that Dr. Hagenloh is leaving UA to teach at Syracuse, I must say that his course was the most challenging, but I also learned the most from him. In that class, we were held accountable for each reading, and were required to participate in discussions both in online blogs and during class discussions. I would say overall that I was disappointed with the academics at UA, but professors tend to lower their expectations in correlation with the caliber of students they have in their classes.
While located in the heart of the bible belt, my experiences at the University have seemed nothing but tolerant and welcoming of diverse viewpoints and lifestyles. I have never seen or heard of any incidents of sexual discrimination or religious discrimination, although the historical tendencies of the South have colored the experiences of minorities on campus. For example, the greek system remains segregated, and leadership positions are typically held by white students. In my experience, students tend to cluster according to majors and departments. I have also observed that the students of higher socio-economic status tend to cluster, while students left out of the elite group divide into groups among themselves, largely according to racial identity.
The Best Things
Football, school spirit
The Worst Things
Divisions among students, feelings of isolation within the dorms