College of Wooster
BackgroundInterview Date:November 2018
Gender Identity: Male
Graduation Year: 2019
Sexual Orientation: Heterosexual
High School Experience: Public school in a rural part of Ohio with a graduating class of about 180 students. There was a split of people pushing to go to state colleges and then people looking to go to a trade school or go into agriculture.
First-Generation College Student: Yes
Extracurricular Activities: I am in a fraternity and I am a student-athlete.
Can you describe your weekly coursework for your major?
Labs take up a good portion of the work, I get a good portion of readings, and every so often you have something associated with problem sets. Problem sets are usually not associated with Chemistry classes specifically, but for calculus and physics which are required for the major.
Is there anything you feel your major’s department did especially well or poorly?
They do a good job of making sure that everybody has a chance to get on track. They set up STEM Zones where they offer resources that can help with the more introductory courses. The professors have open office hours and are very open to helping people with questions.
How would you describe the learning environment? Do you think it’s particularly competitive or collaborative?
It’s collaborative. It’s not very competitive because there’s nothing you’re competing for. You’re mainly competing with yourself. That’s not to say it’s easy. I’ve personally done a lot of group work and a lot of the labs are set up for you to do them in groups or with a partner.
What has been your favorite class you’ve taken for your major?
Probably Organic Chemistry because it was pretty straight forward and we had a really fun professor.
What has been your least favorite class you’ve taken for your major?
Probably both semesters of Physical Chemistry. They’re very difficult classes because you have to be very physics-oriented. If you’re not brushed up on the physics mindset, it’s very difficult. But, for some people, it’s super easy.
How was managing both your sport and your coursework?
Your sport can take up a bunch of time. You’d average four to five hours a day doing something that stopped you from doing your homework. A lot of that comes down to just staying up late, staying in on certain nights, and maybe not doing as many of the readings as you’re supposed to. It’s a lot of time management because if you have a game on Saturday that’s going to be an all-day thing, so you have to do work on the bus or before you leave.
How was transitioning academically as a first-generation college student?
My team had it set up specifically for freshmen to go to the Learning Center and required us to talk to our advisers and all that stuff. As a first-generation student, you don’t have anybody to guide you, but the professors are always there to talk to and they give you the lowdown on what’s what. Especially your first year, your adviser has a lot of meetings with you and gets your bearings set straight. I didn’t pursue too much of that advising because I tend to go with the flow, and I think I turned out just fine. But, for others, that resource is really helpful.
Why did you pick your major? Are you happy with your choice?
I chose Chemistry because I was pretty decent at it in high school. When I got here I wasn’t too shell shocked in Chemistry compared to some of the other courses I took. Since I’m practically done with it, I don’t really regret it, but during some of the classes, I really regretted it and did not enjoy it because of the workload. Once you get through it, you’re happy with it because hopefully it will lead to better job opportunities.
On and Around Campus
Where have you lived on campus?
Freshman: Compton Hall in a double.
Sophomore: Bissman Hall in a single.
Junior: Bissman Hall in a double.
Senior: On-campus house with four other people in it.
What has been your favorite living situation so far?
There are pros and cons to each. I don’t think there is a definitive favorite because the environments are different. Bissman is awful, but that’s also where Greek life is, so you’re in there with your friends. That’s the same with the house and the house is nice because you have more freedom. Freshman year, your hall is a nice community and you become pretty good friends with everybody there.
Can you describe the level of safety you’ve experienced on and around campus?
I have not really had any safety concerns. I know that some people do have them, but personally, I have not had any real incidences.
How was transitioning from your hometown in Ohio to Wooster, OH in terms of location?
My hometown is a very similar area to Wooster, but joining the college community is completely different. The ideologies here, the way people do things and carry themselves is completely different. You get a big hodgepodge of suburbanite people and more rural, so there is a bit of a culture difference between the town and the students.
What is your favorite off-campus restaurant?
They just put a Five Guys in up the road, and I’m pretty big on that.
What is your favorite place to get away from campus?
Wooster Memorial Park has a nice ravine. There are a lot of field trips that go there with the Geology department.
Pros and cons of being located in Wooster, OH?
1) You really get to know the people on campus.
2) Everything is pretty close by because it’s a small town.
3) You can walk down to Main Street and walk down and check out the small shops there.
1) There’s not much to do in the town.
2) We’re in the middle of nowhere in Ohio. If you want to go anywhere in Ohio it’s about a 45-minute drive.
What kind of weekend activities or nightlife do you like to participate in?
The party scene here isn’t huge, we’re not really a party school. There have been crack downs on Greek life. If you want a party scene, there are Greek life organizations that are usually hosting something and sports teams have stuff too. There is a bit of a drinking culture because we’re in the middle of nowhere in Ohio, so there’s not much else to do. A lot of people like to go down to the local brewery and the bars aren’t too far either.
What nights of the week do you regularly go out?
Typically, there are parties on Friday and Saturday, and people go to one of the local bars on Wednesdays. Wednesdays are a little bit more lowkey.
Can you describe a typical night going out freshman year?
First semester is rushing season so there is a lot of going out to Greek life parties. Typically, we’d go to Bissman Hall because that’s where the majority of Greek life is housed. There would usually be something going on in the lobby area or if you knew someone well enough you could go to their individual dorm. What’s nice that nothing gets too packed to the point that we have to limit the guys who come in.
What have been some of your favorite times at Wooster?
Probably the Greek life stuff when alumni come back and we’ll do a bunch of activities with them. Also, competing in big athletic events is pretty fun.
How happy are you with the weekend options at Wooster? Is there anything you would change if you could?
I’m not a huge partier, but I know that one of the big complaints is that there aren’t huge parties and most parties are pretty small. Very rarely do we have something that incorporates a good portion of campus. It’s a lot of smaller, more isolated events going on.
How did you meet your closest friends?
Through sports and Greek life. I also met people through classes.
How would you describe the overall social scene at Wooster?
The people on Wooster’s campus, at least in the first year, are super open to meeting new friends. Then whenever people find their groups, they close off. But, if you meet in a circumstance, people will be more inclined to make new friends. The social scene is super interconnected like high school because a lot of people know each other and know who you’re friends with. It gets gossipy and people know each other’s business because of that.
To what extent do you feel people of different races and sexual orientation mix socially?
I feel that there is a bit of a divide because people prefer to be around people like themselves, which is basic logic I guess and makes sense. You’ll go into the dining hall and see groups of international students from China all together. There also can be a decent amount of mixing within certain groups. Like, my group has a bunch of different people from different areas and backgrounds.
What is the impact of Greek life on social life?
If you’re in Greek life, that’s the majority of the group you hang out with. You’re going to have friends outside of Greek life, but that’s the main group you’re going to deal with the most unless you’re on a big sports team.
Do you think people leave Wooster happy with their choice? Do you think people love Wooster?
It depends on the person. There are a lot of people can really assimilate into the culture here whereas some people can’t assimilate as easily. Some people don’t like it because some of the people here are very sensitive and kind of weird. But, most of those people who don’t like it transfer out by the time they’re a senior. [The retention rate for the 2017 freshman cohort was 87%.]
Have you used financial aid? If so, how easy is the office to work with?
I use financial aid and they’ve been helpful.
Advice for Prospective Freshmen
What is something you wish you knew about Wooster before you entered as a freshman?
Just how the people are. There is a culture of people being hypersensitive about certain things and what those things are.
What is something a prospective student may miss on a visit that is worth checking out?
Go through as many dorms as you can and also check out the dining facility. Also, get a sense of the layout of campus so you know the general paths you have to walk on campus.
What is something a prospective student interested in Greek life may want to know that we haven’t touched on?
We don’t have national fraternities so it’s a bit different than at other schools. The fraternities are really close-knit and there is a longer rush season. If you’re looking for a huge state school set up, that is not what we have because we don’t have permanent Greek housing and the same dues that national frats have.
Reasons to attend Wooster:
1) Having a liberal arts education and doing independent research looks good for graduate school.
2) The education is pretty good and the small class sizes are beneficial. You end up with more of a network in your major because you have the same people in your classes over time. You can more easily collaborate and work through the homework together.
Reasons to not attend Wooster:
1) If you aren’t interested in graduate school.
2) It’s expensive, and you have to way that out.
3) The campus is very left-wing, so if somebody is very conservative they might not fit in and they might even get ridiculed.