- Class: Senior
- Major: Government
- Gender: F
- High School: Shorecrest High School
- Transfer Student: Y
The Big Picture at Washington...don't come here unless you are ready to push yourself. You will not be coddled, and if you aren't self-motivated, you may very well end up dropping out. This is an invigorating environment if you respond well to challenge. As far as administration goes: one thing I remember very distinctly from Winter Quarter is meeting a school official and realizing that she assumed I wasn't fluent in English. This was pretty shocking, and it took me a couple of days to calm down after that epiphany: here, in a metropolitan setting (not the small suburb I grew up in), people make snap judgments and if your appearance isn't typical, you will be treated like a "minority". Despite some occasional frustrations like that, though, this is a great school.
I major in Poli Sci, and classes are huge. You have to work hard to distinguish yourself, even at the 300 level. One big caveat that no one told me until I got here: the TAs (grad students who assist the professors) decide your grades for the class! It is often more important to pay attention to the reputation of the TA you've enrolled with rather than the professor. Some TAs are great, reasonable, etc...some have very fixed ideas, and penalize those who disagree. Professors can seem intimidating when at the lectern, but once you meet them in their office hours, they are generally affable and approachable. Downright friendly, sometimes. In Political Science, I recommend taking classes on controversial subjects. Also, pay attention to the syllabus at the beginning of the quarter, will you have an 8-page paper due on the same day that you are taking an exam (this actually happened to me, but it was two 8-page papers on the same day as the exam)? If so, you might want to consider dropping one of the classes, for the sake of your sanity. The key to Poli Sci is to DO THE READINGS: that is how I managed to make it on the Dean's List each quarter while still having a non-academic life. Also, pick an elective that will throw your *** GPA up: for me, that was the Latin series. Above all, make sure you are taking something interesting that will make you want to go to class everyday (profs and TAs will punish absent students if they notice poor attendance by giving extra credit to students who are present, offering some hint for studying for an upcoming exam, etc.).
It was a shock coming from a community college environment to the UW. Much less diversity: ethnically, socio-economically, personality-wise (I haven't seen a single Goth around campus)...The Office of Minority Affairs seems pretty active (I've been too busy to really participate in their events). Honestly, though most groups are fairly represented, everyone seems pretty cliquish. It can be difficult to meet new people if you don't enter with a social network to draw on, but that might just be me. The typical UW student is white (if female, chances are she's bleached and salon-tanned, as well), under 22, dressed like something out of an Abercrombie and Fitch commercial, and on his/her cell phone 24/7. The Greek system is very popular. But I am a commuter; I guess that if I lived on campus my interactions with other students would have a different tone entirely.
The Best Things
The Worst Things
Parking!!! Cafeteria food!!!