University of Colorado at Boulder
BackgroundInterview Date:April 2019
Gender Identity: Female
Sexual Orientation: Heterosexual
Graduation Year: 2023
High School Experience: Private Catholic school in Rhode Island with a graduating class of about 360 students. There was a culture of going to college.
First Generation College Student: No
Major: Aerospace Engineering
Extracurricular Activities: I’m part of the Society of Women in Space Exploration.
Did any of your extracurricular activities have a particularly big impact on your experience?
It’s cool because you get to meet a lot of fun people in your major with similar interests.
Can you describe the weekly coursework for your Aerospace Engineering major?
I don’t have any labs this semester, but I’ll have two next semester. There are no essays, but there is a lot of math, Physics, and some Chemistry.
Is there anything you feel your major’s department does especially well or poorly?
I think they offer a lot of help during class, after class, and during office hours.
How would you describe the learning environment? Do you think it’s particularly competitive or collaborative?
I think it’s more collaborative than competitive. I think everyone here is friendly and is willing to help each other. No one is just trying to get better grades than the other guy.
How accessible have the professors in your department been?
The smaller classes are a lot more accessible. In big lectures, they hire a lot of TAs so you’ll get them instead of the professor. They are usually helpful.
Why did you choose your major? Are you happy with your choice?
I wanted to do something with space. I wanted to do Astronomy, but I wanted to make money so I chose Space Engineering for the reason that I’d get a good job.
On and Around Campus
Where have you lived on campus?
Freshman: Aden Hall with one roommate.
How was transitioning from Rhode Island to Boulder, CO?
It’s tough sometimes because I occasionally want to go home, but it’s too expensive. That’s a little hard, but I do love it here so it’s not a deal breaker.
Can you describe the level of safety you’ve experienced on and around campus?
I usually feel good, but we get emails about robberies. I’d give it a 7 out of 10 in terms of safety.
What impact does the legalization of recreational marijuana have on your life in Boulder?
I go out sometimes and there are parties where people smoke, but it’s a party and it doesn’t matter. People don’t smoke in public at all, so it doesn’t affect much.
Pros and Cons of being in Boulder, CO?
1) It’s gorgeous here, and everyone’s super friendly.
2) We’re 20 minutes from Denver, so there’s a lot to do around here.
1) Housing is expensive.
2) The weather kind of sucks sometimes. It’s snowing right now, and it was 70 degrees yesterday.
What kind of nightlife or weekend activities do you participate in?
I go to the occasional party. I usually go to frats because they always let girls in. It’s usually on The Hill, which is West of campus.
What’s an alternative to going to a party or a bar that you like for a night out or weekend?
Campus usually has stuff they do, and they’ll give out free stuff. Last weekend they gave out a self-care kit where we got free food.
What is the impact of Greek life on nightlife?
It’s most of it. As a freshman, you’re either going to a frat party or are doing nothing. Next year most of my friends will have houses, and they’ll throw parties. [13% of first-year students join fraternities, and 27% join sororities.]
How happy are you with the weekend options at Boulder? Is there anything you would change if you could?
I wish there were more options than going to a frat party. You’re not living in the middle of a city, so there’s not that much to do at night.
How did you meet your closest friends?
At a party. I think most people are usually friends with the people in their majors, and all of my friends aren’t in my major. The engineers aren’t very social.
How would you describe the overall social scene?
I think it’s very good. People are extremely friendly here.
To what extent do people of different races and sexual orientations mix socially?
Boulder is extremely White so you’ll typically not see many other races or ethnicities, and I don’t think they mix well together. I don’t see many diverse friend groups. My roommate is Mexican and we’re really close, but we don’t have the same friend group. [About 68% of undergraduates are White, 12% are Hispanic, 8% are Asian-American, and 3% are Black.]
To what extent do people in Greek life and not in Greek life mix socially?
I don’t know many people in Greek life, but I’ve heard they mix very well with other people not in Greek life.
How do you like the size of the University of Colorado at Boulder? How has the size of your school influenced your social experience?
I like big schools because no one is more popular than the other guy. There’s no power, and there’s no real social hierarchy because it’s too big to have one. [The undergraduate population is about 30,000.]
Have you learned any computer programs or languages through your coursework that will be helpful to you professionally?
I learned MATLAB.
Have you used financial aid? If so, accommodating was the office to your needs?
They’re pretty good. They don’t give you a lot of money, but they’re easy to talk to.
Advice for Prospective Freshmen
What is something you wish you knew about Boulder before entering as a freshman?
Everything I got I expected, and I love it here. I like the size of the school, and I wasn’t expecting there to be such a large majority of White people, but it doesn’t affect me too much. I expected the workload because my parents were in similar majors.
What is something a prospective student may miss on a visit that’s worth checking out?
Definitely check out around the campus because there are some pretty spots. They also have separate tours for the major you’re going to be in. Make an effort to check out a dorm room.
Reasons to attend CU Boulder:
1) I love the atmosphere. It’s really friendly. Coming from the East Coast where people are rude and in a rush every time, the people here are super friendly and welcoming. People invite me over to their house because I’m not from here.
2) The teachers are friendly.
3) It’s absolutely gorgeous and there are so many hiking trails to go on.
Reasons to not attend CU Boulder:
1) Denver doesn’t have a great airport for traveling out of.
2) It’s kind of expensive, especially out of state.