Indiana University – Bloomington
BackgroundInterview Date:May 2018
Gender Identity: Female
Sexual Orientation: Bisexual
Graduation Year: 2019
High School Experience: Public school in Richmond, Indiana with about 300 students in the graduating class. Most students did not go to college.
First-Generation College Student: Yes
Major: Public Management with a concentration in Governance. It is in the school of Public and Environmental Affairs
Minor: East Asian Studies, which is in the School of Global and International Studies
Extracurricular Activities: I am a radio DJ.
Can you describe your weekly coursework for your major?
There’s a misconception about my major that it’s easy and not a lot of work, but it’s really more about if you actually do the work. There’s a lot of reading, a lot of writing, and a lot of case analysis. There’s a lot of analysis and reading, but a lot of kids get away with not doing the reading and don’t really learn much.
What are you major graded assignments?
Case studies, management plans, and a lot of presentations and public speaking. We sometimes have blueprint designs for cities. I’ve had a few where my final projects were problem-solving, like building a nonprofit that solves a specific problem in a community or trying to come up with a management plan for executing a new federal law.
Is there anything you feel your major’s department does especially well or especially poorly?
We have a very diverse staff in the Public Management program. I had a semester where I did not have a single White male professor. There’s a lot of diversity in terms of female professors and ethnic diversity. I’ve had professors from South America, China, and Germany. They all have had different experiences too. I’ve had professors who have been in school their whole lives and professors who were in the military abroad and domestically. I’ve been really impressed with how well-rounded and applicable I feel my education is. I feel like I’ve grown a lot from choosing a program that has so much diversity.
I do feel like my department is short on female and Black students, it’s mostly Asian and Caucasian students. I feel like the professors are sometimes not very good about making sure that everyone has a chance to participate. I’ve had a few experiences where professors are really good about not letting one voice dominate a discussion, but I’ve also had classes where it’s like three dudes talking the entire time and no one intervenes.
What has been your favorite class in your major?
Nonprofit Management and Leadership was one of them. The final was you had to build a nonprofit and you were graded on whether or not you could launch it. That included having all your mock tax documents ready, a management plan, etc. That was really hard and really fun. Public Management was also a favorite.
What has been your least favorite class in your major?
Law and Public Policy. I didn’t like the professor. He wasn’t very responsive. It just seemed like one of those things where the guy had been working for the university for a long time and wasn’t really being checked on.
Why did you choose your major? Are you happy with your choice?
I love my major. I’m really passionate about it. I was initially in the business school and it felt like a lot of what I was learning was more about self-service, and I wanted to do something impactful that would also support me financially. I chose my major because I want to be a city manager or mayor. It sets you up so you can go to grad school for Governance, or whatever you want to do. It’s multidisciplinary, so it’s flexible.
How was transitioning academically as a first-generation college student? Were there any systems in place that helped you adapt?
I kept getting sent to Student Central, which was really frustrating. I felt like the university abandoned me. All the resources that are available to me are difficult to attain. It’s at the edge of campus and there are long wait times. I’ve also been misinformed by my advisers so many times that I have taken almost 12 classes that I don’t need for my major. My original major was Public and Nonprofit Leadership, and I was actually told mid-matriculation that it didn’t exist. I was never really told that I should be staying on top of my degree and I feel like my advisors put the blame on me for not having a support system, like parents [who understand college].
On and Around Campus
Where have you lived on campus?
Freshman: Collins with one roommate for one semester and then I moved to the Meadow Park apartments.
Sophomore: Meadow Park Apartments
Junior: Meadow Park Apartments
Senior: I live in a studio above a restaurant by myself.
What was your favorite living situation?
Probably off campus in the nice, cheap apartment.
Can you describe the level of safety you’ve experienced on and around campus?
On campus, I have found that I have had mixed experiences. Right now, I live right behind the bars so there is not much room for anything to really happen. I feel like there is a sense that because it is a party school people are a bit too complacent about some things. There’s not a lot of civilian action to stop things like sexual assault from happening. It could feel safer. [Indiana is working to understand students’ experiences with sexual assault on campus.]
What is your favorite off-campus restaurant?
What is your favorite place to get away from campus?
Tibetan Culture Center. I like to go there to paint or take a walk. It’s a very quiet place to take it all in. No one’s talking to you and there aren’t tours or anything. There isn’t much talking because when people go there it’s mostly to meditate and pray
Pros and cons of being located in Bloomington, IN?
Pros: (1) It’s a lot more diverse than other cities in Indiana. [About 78% of residents are White, 9% of residents are Asian, 4% are Black, and 4% are Hispanic.]
(2) There’s a lot more to do than other places in Indiana
(3) It’s cool that it’s a beautiful place to live. There’s a lot of green space, and there are national parks and lakes.
Cons: (1) For a city in Indiana, it’s expensive to live in.
(2) There’s a real divide between local Bloomington and people with the university. There’s a stereotypical disregard for townies and the reverse dissatisfaction with how students behave, which is pretty valid.
What kind of weekend activities or nightlife do you like to participate in?
I go to a lot of bars pretty regularly. During the school year I don’t go out a lot, I’ll probably go out once a week. During the summer I’m just studying for the LSAT now, so I’ll go out three or four times a week. I tend to go out Tuesday and Thursday. Thursday is a big one because most people don’t have class on Friday.
What have been some of your favorite times at Indiana?
The Little 500 is awesome. The Little 500 can really be what you make of it. A lot of people think you have to be drunk every day and go really hard, but since everyone is always doing something you can pick when you want to go out. Monday night of Little 500 was awesome. I didn’t have anything to do and went to a bunch of house parties and all the bars were hopping. It was a lot of fun. Also, late nights at the Wells Library are fun. There’s a lot of camaraderie in that library.
What is the impact of Greek life on nightlife?
I have dated a couple of frat guys, so I have been able to go to plenty of frat parties in college. I feel like because I’m not in a sorority I’m able to go out a bit more. If anything, it allowed me to have a little bit more freedom to go out and have fun and do things I want to do. Being friends with people in Greek life filled the void of what I’d miss out on if I wasn’t in it.
Has being a person who identifies as LGBT influenced your nightlife at all?
Not really. I usually prefer to date men anyway because it’s easier. I’d say it’s unimpactful.
How happy were you with the nightlife at Indiana? Is there anything you would change?
I’m pretty pleased with it.
How did you meet your closest friends?
My best friend lived across from me in my dorm. My other best friend I met through the Facebook page and then he introduced me to all of his friends and we’ve all been really, really close ever since.
How was blending into the social environment as a first-generation college student?
I’m the only one out of all of my friends whose parents are poor and didn’t go to college. It gets really frustrating because there’s not a lot of us, and a lot of people don’t understand what it’s like to have to pay for your own school and not have that support system. It also made it harder as a freshman because everyone had such a different experience than me and a different home life. It felt like I couldn’t relate to people. [22% of the Class of 2018 was first-generation college students.]
How would you describe the overall social scene?
Diverse. There’s something for everybody in my opinion.
To what extent do people of different races and sexual orientations mix socially?
Outside of Greek life, I think they do extensively. A lot of my friends are gay and trans and I’m like the only White kid in our friend group. It seems like the other kids I run into at the bar are a pretty diverse bunch as well. For my friends who are in Greek life, I feel like the guys at the university don’t mix as much as the girls do. I don’t know what would cause that, but it seems like the girls I know have a much more diverse social circle than the boys I know.
Has the alumni network helped you find internships or jobs?
No, it’s been hard. If you are at all in an unusual situation it is hard to find an internship with the tools they give you here. If you took a semester off to work or if you are at a different part of the matriculation of your degree, it’s really hard for them to find you an internship. It’s especially hard if you’re a first-generation student and you need something that pays because otherwise, you have to work full time.
Have you used the career office? If so, how helpful are they?
They’re pretty helpful with mock interviews. I love that they do mock interviews with you and they have helped me a lot with my resume and cover letter. They’re pretty available, you can do walk-ins and those are pretty helpful. It’s still one of those things where they need help guiding us with how to set up meetings and develop contacts and relationships. I have not had much guidance with networking, which I feel the business school actually gets a really good amount of.
Advice for Prospective Freshmen
What is something you wish you knew about Indiana before you entered as a freshman?
That you didn’t have to go to the business school and you can have a really successful career and still make money. When I came in I thought if I did anything other than Kelley [School of Business] I wasn’t going to make as much money or I wouldn’t be as successful or happy. I also wish I knew that this community is much more welcoming than the other schools that I visited.
What is something a prospective student may miss on a visit that’s worth checking out?
Fourth Street. It has a strip of ethnic restaurants that are really good. There’s some amazing food on that street that a lot of people don’t try because it’s international and they’re nervous about it.
Reasons to attend Indiana:
1) There’s a lot of opportunities. There’s a lot of room to be uncomfortable, so there’s a lot of room to grow.
2) It’s a big enough school that you can achieve this kind of anonymity that gives you a little bit more space to work on yourself for a change. It lets you adjust who you want to be without being under the scrutiny you are when you’re in your hometown or at a smaller school.
3) There is a lot of diversity. I’ve learned so much from people that are so different from me. [22% of domestic students are of color, all 50 states are represented, and 150 countries are represented.]
4) You can find a part-time job pretty easily.
Reasons to not attend Indiana:
1) Bloomington is expensive.
2) If you don’t want to drink and you’re not an outgoing person, you might feel excluded just because there’s a big culture around it.