- Class: Sophomore
- Major: Anthropology
- Gender: F
- High School: Princeton Day School
- Transfer Student: N
Chicago is a fantastic city, and the University of Chicago can only be as fantastic as you make it. It's not an easy place to go to school, but if you're willing to put a lot of work into it, it's an incredibly rewarding place. There are a variety of reactions to people hearing that I go to the University of Chicago: 1. "UIC?" (NO!) 2. confused look 3. impressed look. People who know the school and can differentiate it from the U of I know its superb academic reputation, but it's a pretty well-kept secret to a lot of people. Once discovered, it's full of bizarre quirky people and places. My favorite spots on campus with my favorite people are the student-run coffee shops, of which we have many; sitting and relaxing or sitting and stressing with a cup of tea and a friend and a couch is a daily experience and one that I relish. The administration is largely unseen as far as I'm concerned. One can be involved in the running of the university as one wants, and I'm content to make my own way. School pride is self-deprecating at best. We have only one t-shirt with a positive slogan on it. And yet the kids keep coming back. Almost everyone considers transferring at some point, or several points, and many take time off (I'm sure at a higher rate than at other schools), but the overwhelming majority graduate and from what I've heard, though I have yet to do it, feel completely satisfied by their experience here.
Let's put it this way: the all-night level of the library is one of the most social places on campus. We study hard, but we play hard too; studying is often a joint experience since there is so much work that it has to be combined with hanging-out time as well. Class participation is common, and particularly after first year students get over themselves, very insightful and informed. Students are competitive, but more often they are perfectionists of their own work and less interested in beating other people. There's a high personal standard throughout the school. The Core Curriculum is a bore, but once through it, there are plenty of wacky classes to be had. In the past two days I've dissected monkeys, spoken Latin and listened to a professor tell stories about his childhood in the Great Depression. The attitude is totally learning for its own sake, and it seems that most if not all students feel strongly that this is the correct attitude.
Students who would feel out of place are the apathetic. Not caring does not cut it academically or socially here. If you have a passion for something, there are others that share it, but this is not the place for people who have a sole interest in napping or alcohol (these are certainly popular extra-curriculars, though). Students can mainly be divided into the hipsters, the division 12 jocks, the international kids (mostly Asian) and all the grades in between, but social groups are very nebulous and everyone knows everyone. Everyone's a nerd. If you took the nerdy table at high school, threw in a few punks and a few jocks for flavor, you'd have the population of UChicago. Predominantly liberal, intelligent, and planning on grad school.
The Best Things
Spring quarter convincing you to come back next year
The Worst Things
Winter quarter depression convincing you to transfer