- Class: Sophomore
- Major: Physics
- Gender: F
- High School: Middletown High School
- Transfer Student: N
It's a big school, but with a big school comes many, many opportunities. From clubs to fun activities to research, there is always something great you can find out about UMD. When I tell people I go to UMD, the responses range from, "Wow, what a great institution" to "Isn't that a party school?" and in my experience the former has always been more true. I spend a lot of my time on campus involved in my extra curricular activities and in my dorm doing work or just relaxing with friends. DC is really accessible by public transportation and is a lot of fun to explore in free time. College Park is an odd sort of college town, mainly because most of the city is so dominated by the campus itself, that the residents seem to feel kind of ignored, but to the best of my knowledge the current administration and students are working to make the city into more of a so-called "College town." There is a ton of school pride. Everyone has a UMD sweatshirt or gear of some kind, and we're some of the rowdiest fans around. Football games and Men's soccer are full of intense cheering from the stands for the home team. The most common student complaints, especially in my year is the lack of on-campus housing. It's troublesome that as a sophomore who wanted to live on campus for my junior year, I am being forced to move off campus do to our housing crisis. Plans are in the works to fix this, but currently it's not being handled well.
Some of my professors do surprisingly know my name, and I rarely speak in class. Even in large lecture halls, it's easy to make your class seem smaller if you sit toward the front. My favorite class was likely one of my introductory history classes with Professor McNeilly. I've never seen anyone make history that exciting before. Another class, MUET200 with Dr. Sandstrom, I took had me attend a popular music concert and write a review as a final paper. Neither of these were in my major, I actually had to take them as part of our CORE requirements, but they were really excellent and I'm glad I did. I think although many people complain about the liberal arts CORE curriculum requirements, it is actually a very valuable part of our institution and the well rounded education we receive because of it. Students are somewhat competitive depending on the discipline. I'm currently a Physics major and I love it a lot. I was a Mathematics major as of last week, and switched out of it because of a loss of interest in the subject, nothing against the department itself. One of my professors had our honors seminar over to his house for dinner that his wife cooked, and that was really interesting. The education at UMD is good for a combination of being ready for the job market and to be well-versed in the subject area you are attaining a degree in, which I believe is a perfect combination.
I don't think any kind of student would feel out of place at UMD. There are many different clubs and organizations around causes of all kinds, and it's easy to find your own niche in this gigantic school. The hardest adjustment I think for new students is if they come into the university as a commuter. One of the greatest things about starting out at this school is living on campus and fully experiencing everything it has to offer. Student attire to classes is typically sweatshirts and jeans and t-shirts, nothing too fancy normally. Occasionally a lot of people will be dressed up for career days. The dining hall is a ridiculous example of how students interact on campus; it's quite large and typically groups of 1-8 people sit with people they know. I typically just take my food to go and don't eat in the dining hall itself. Most UMD students are from Maryland, being as the University is the flagship university of the state. Other states well represented are New Jersey and New York. I'm not sure about the financial backgrounds of students here. I know I personally come from a family where my sister and I were eligible for free and reduced meals in high school, and I've never felt threatened by others of higher economic status. A good bit of students are politically active, but there are efforts to create a higher amount of political awareness on campus. Voter registration drives happen often. From what I've heard, the campus is predominantly left, with a good bit of center, and a small passion sect of the right. The College Democrats and College Republicans support political involvement of all kinds, and work together to discuss issues in a civil, democratic manner. I know a lot of engineers and students in the business school, and many of them talk about how much money they'll earn one day. Personally, a lot of the people in other majors I know are really passionate about what they are studying and are really more interested in learning the most they can so they can be ready for the job market and so they are best equipped to do what they want to do in life.
The Best Things
people, atmosphere, academics, spirit, proximity to DC
The Worst Things
crime in the city area, housing crisis (lack of on-campus housing for upperclassmen)