An Interview On
University of Colorado at Boulder

Background

Interview Date:November 2018

Gender Identity: Female
Race/Ethnicity: Asian-American
Sexual Orientation: Heterosexual
Graduation Year: 2019
High School Experience: Public school in Colorado Springs, CO with a graduating class of about 250 students. There was a culture of going to college.
First Generation College Student: No
Major: Electrical and Computer Engineering
Minor: Computer Science
Extracurricular Activities: I’m part of an Indian dance team, and the South Asian Student Association (SASA).

Did any of your extracurricular activities have a particularly big impact on your experience?
SASA helped me connect with people of my own ethnicity as well as the diversity and culture of other people on campus.

Academic Experience

Can you describe the weekly coursework for your major?
I’ve been spending at least 30-40 hours per week on it, depending on if I have a midterm or not. I have a lot of labs and projects depending on the class and the semester. This semester I have a lot of group work.

Is there anything you feel your major’s department does especially well or poorly?
They’re organized and have options for students which I really like. If there’s a particular track of Electrical Engineering I don’t like, I don’t necessarily have to take it. They have a lot of options where we can choose different classes or tracks we want to take.

How would you describe the learning environment? Do you think it’s particularly competitive or collaborative?
It’s more collaborative. I don’t feel any competition whatsoever. I was an Aerospace major before this, and it’s a lot more competitive of a department.

What was your favorite class in your major?
I’m in my Capstone right now, so I’m enjoying that. I get to apply everything I’ve learned in the last four years which is nice.

What was your least favorite class in your major?
My least favorite class would have to be Linear Systems. That’s only because I don’t particularly enjoy the subject.

How accessible have the professors in your department been?
They’re helpful. They have regular office hours that you can go to. Generally, all the professors in the department are very available when you need them.

Why did you pick your major? Are you happy with your choice?
I am definitely happy. I was in Aerospace while minoring in Computer Engineering, and then I realized I liked my minor way more than the major, so I switched. Adding a Computer Science minor was natural because I’m good at it, and I like it.

On and Around Campus

Where have you lived on campus?
Freshman: Andrews hall with one roommate.

Sophomore: Bear Creek apartments with three other roommates.

Junior: Bear Creek apartments with three other roommates.

Senior: Bear Creek apartments with three other roommates.

How was transitioning from Colorado Springs to Boulder, CO?
It’s kind of different because I think Boulder is a lot more diverse than Colorado Springs is. White people dominated the neighborhood I grew up in, and I had never gone to school with other Asians before. It was strange coming to Boulder seeing a bunch of liberal people who are inclusive. [Colorado Springs is 70% White, while the city of Boulder is 77% White.]

Can you describe the level of safety you’ve experienced on and around campus?
I think it’s extremely safe. I’ve never felt danger personally. I also know that if there’s any situation where I would feel danger, there are so many resources on campus I could go to.

What is your favorite off campus restaurant?
I love Motomaki because it’s cheap.

What is your favorite place to get away from campus?
I really like the Flatirons. Sometimes I’ll just drive up to get away from everything.

Pros and Cons of being in Boulder, CO?
Pros:
1) The college campus is really close to where live, so it’s easy to get there.
2) I love the people and everything about the city of Boulder.

Cons:
1) The Boulder bubble does exist, so it would be nice to get out and experience the real world a little bit. [See here for what students do to get out of the bubble.]

Social Opportunities

What kind of nightlife or weekend activities do you participate in?
I like going to bars. It’s fun and there are lots of options. On the weekends if I’m not going to the bars, I’ll stay home with my roommates and we’ll hang out and call other people to come over.

What nights of the week do you regularly do things? Are there regular places you go or things you do on certain nights?
We generally go out Friday or Saturday nights. We’ll hit Boulder Beer or Press Play, whichever one is less crowded.

What’s an alternative to going to a party or a bar that you like for a night out or weekend?
Going out to dinner on Paul Street and just hanging out, going to the stores, and walking around.

Describe a typical going out night freshman year. How did it differ from when you are now more established socially on campus?
I didn’t go out much freshman year. I was in Andrews Hall, and a typical night there was playing board games with everyone else in the dorm. That was also super fun, but I never partied freshman year.

What have been some of your favorite times at Boulder?
I always look forward to the SASA show which happens in March every year. We get to dance and perform, and about 500 people come. It’s really fun because you get to be immersed in the Indian culture while sharing it with everyone. The last two years I’ve helped plan it, which is a new level of excitement for me to be directly involved.

How happy are you with the weekend options at Boulder? Is there anything you would change if you could?
I’m happy. I don’t know if I would change anything. I don’t know anything else, so it is what it is.

Campus Culture

How did you meet your closest friends?
Some are my roommates, one is my sister, and one is my childhood friend. The others I met through mutual friends, and most are through SASA over the last three or four years.

How would you describe the overall social scene?
It’s generally very inclusive and if you want to join any social scene there aren’t any restrictions. You can go anywhere and meet new people who are generally very accepting.

How would you describe the student body?
They’re very inclusive and diverse. The reason I chose CU Boulder to begin with is because I could go from one end of the campus to the other end and see fifteen different types of people who are all here together, but are also so different.

To what extent do people of different races and sexual orientations mix socially?
I’ve never come across anyone who’s not accepting of people of different sexual orientations. I feel like it’s a lot more normal and accepted here. [About 68% of undergraduates are White, 12% are Hispanic, 8% are Asian-American, and 3% are Black.]

Do people generally seem happy with their college choice by senior year? Do people leave loving your school?
Yes, absolutely. No one is really completely unhappy. They might not be ecstatic about CU Boulder, but they’re not unhappy.

How do you like the size of the University of Colorado at Boulder? How has the size of your school influenced your social experience?
You can be whatever you want to be. There are over [500 organizations] on campus and there’s someone out there that likes what you like. Going out and finding those people is easy on a campus this big because there are so many people. Some people may feel lost, but CU does a good job of helping you find your niche. [The undergraduate population is about 30,000.]

Careers

Has the alumni network helped you find internships or jobs?
The networking nights and career fairs are what helped me find internships and jobs. Handshake and LinkedIn also helped me.

Have you learned any computer programs or languages through your coursework that will be helpful to you professionally?
You need to know a lot of computer languages and programming for my major. Through Computer Engineering I’m comfortable with C, C++, JavaScript, Verilog on the hardware side, MATLAB, and Linux.

Advice for Prospective Freshmen

What is something you wish you knew about Boulder before entering as a freshman?
I wish I knew about the resources on campus. It’s taken me a couple of years to learn about all of them, and it would’ve been nice to know about them off the bat. A lot of freshmen don’t go to them because they don’t see any benefit in them, but it would be nice to let freshman know they have access to so many things.

What is something a prospective student may miss on a visit that’s worth checking out?
When you’re on a tour they’re selling the school to you, they’re not really selling the people, and I think the people are 60% of your college experience. If there’s a way for visits to show how students interact with one another, this would be nice. I went to a sample lecture which was kind of helpful, but maybe try to attend a group project.

Reasons to attend CU Boulder:
1) The state of Colorado in general is beautiful. There are 300 days of sunshine.
2) The CU Boulder campus is very inclusive and diverse so you’ll find your people here.
3) All the professors and classes are very accessible and are really straightforward so you don’t get confused.

Reasons to not attend CU Boulder:
1) If your major doesn’t exist here.
2) If you don’t like Colorado.

Notice: University of Colorado at Boulder is a trademark. Induck uses it for descriptive purposes, not to imply affiliation with, endorsement from, or sponsorship by University of Colorado at Boulder.

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