Miami University of Ohio
BackgroundInterview Date:August 2018
Gender Identity: Male
Sexual Orientation: Heterosexual
Graduation Year: 2019
High School Experience: I went to a private college prep school in Oxnard, CA with a graduating class of about 65 students.
First Generation College Student: No
Majors: Double Major in Strategic Communications and Creative Writing
Extracurricular Activities: I’m on the Club Water Polo team, I volunteer with the Love Your Melon group, I am involved in a fraternity, and I am part of PRSSA, which is a pre-professional public relations group on campus.
Did any of your extracurricular activities have a particularly big impact on your experience?
I would say water polo and Greek life have had a significant impact on making friends and having different connections on campus for help with classes or career stuff.
Can you describe your weekly coursework for your major?
It’s a lot of case studies and presentations. Probably the most writing I’ve done with Strategic Communications is writing press releases.
What are your major graded assignments?
We have a final assignment, which is usually where we create a strategic plan for a company that provides their key audiences and the marketing and public relations they should go about with trying to connect with certain key audiences.
Is there anything you feel your majors’ departments do especially well or especially poorly?
I think they have a lot of room to grow. It’s one of the newer departments. There’s not a single building for the major, my classes were spread out all over the place. Like, last year I had a class in the art building, even the professor was surprised. There is really not much organization or central hub for the Strategic Communications department.
How would you describe the learning environment? Do you think it’s competitive or collaborative?
I think it’s more collaborative than competitive. Everyone’s just really trying to help each other out. It isn’t competitive until they put you up in a content against each other, and even then, you’re not trying to stab each other in the back, everybody’s still in the same boat.
What has been your favorite class in your major?
Media Writing, which was a scriptwriting class for television and movies. We learned how to write scripts and a guy from SNL came in and talked to us, which was really cool.
What has been your least favorite class in your major?
Introduction to Strategic Communications, just because it was a really bland and slow class. It was a lot of reading the textbook and didn’t have much that got you too engaged. Once you got past the intro it was all good.
Why did you choose your major? Are you happy with your choice?
I’m happy with my major. I didn’t really know what I wanted to major in once I first started, but Strategic Communications embodies a lot of different aspects so you can use that major to go into public relations or marketing or even look into the media industry. It’s a very versatile major that you can use with anything, so I chose it because I still don’t really know what I want to do.
On and Around Campus
Where have you lived on campus?
Freshman: Stanton Hall with one roommate
Sophomore: Hepburn Hall with one roommate for the first semester then I moved to a single in Swing Hall for the second semester.
Junior: I lived in our fraternity house
Senior: I’m living in a house off campus.
What was your favorite living situation?
Swing Hall in a single because that’s where all of my friends were. We were all on the same floor, so it was pretty easy to just walk a few doors down and hang out. It has been better living in the houses because we had an actual house to use.
Can you describe the level of safety you’ve experienced on and around campus?
Yeah, I think it’s pretty good. There’s a lot of Blue Light Systems throughout the entire campus and there’s always campus safety around, so if you’re walking home you should always feel safe.
How was transitioning from California to Oxford, OH?
It was definitely a lot different from the culture and the weather back home. Midwest people are a lot, lot nicer, especially when driving. Starting off my freshman year I noticed more of a preppy culture than I was used to in California where I wore board shorts every day. Over time that’s lessened at Miami. Winter time I haven’t gotten used to yet. That’s probably been the biggest factor for me.
What is your favorite off-campus restaurant?
Mac and Joe’s
What is your favorite place to get away from campus?
That’s kind of a hard one because Oxford, Ohio is in the middle of nowhere, so if you’re off campus you’re in the college town. The closest movie theater’s 15-20 minutes away or if you want to go to a mall it’s like an hour. Realistically, you’re always at the college and getting away to escape you’d go on a drive away for a rare occasion to go to a restaurant. Besides that, you’re always on campus.
Pros and Cons of being in Oxford, OH?
Pros: (1) You’re in a small college environment that’s away from everything else. You don’t have to deal with anyone else except the people who go to your college. There are a few townspeople, but it’s not like being in a city where there are other people. [There are about 22,000 residents in Oxford, OH.]
(2) The Cincinnati airport is only 45 minutes away.
(3) If you have a car, it’s only a five-hour drive from the Great Smoky Mountains and other areas to have a long weekend.
Cons: (1) There’s nothing else to do besides what’s in the college town.
(2) The weather can be pretty bad.
What kind of nightlife or weekend activities do you like to participate in?
It’s a pretty heavy bar school and since it’s in Ohio you can be 18 to go into a bar, so you start off freshman year doing that. Most recently I’ve just been going out Thursday, Friday, and Saturday, and occasionally Tuesday but not usually.
What have been some of your favorite times at Miami?
Whenever the Super Bowl comes around it’s pretty fun because everybody gets together and does that. There’s Green Beer Day, which is the St. Paddy’s Day celebration and everybody comes together and has a good time. It starts at midnight and goes till the next day. Then there are random nights throughout the year that end up being a good time.
What is the impact of Greek life on nightlife?
It has an impact, but it doesn’t have an impact in that if you’re not in a Greek life organization you can still always go out and have a great time. You don’t have to go to a specific party before going out, you can just go to a bar. Or, once you’re older you’ll have enough friends all over Miami that you can really go to any party you want to.
How happy are you with the nightlife? Is there anything you would change if you could?
I like it. It’s pretty fun. I wish we had a live music place because for the most part it’s just a DJ.
How did you meet your closest friends?
Through club water polo and the Greek life organization I’m a part of.
How would you describe the overall social scene?
There is the athlete social scene, they all hang out together. Within Greek life, organizations tend to stick to each other, but if you’re a guy and have close friends in other organizations sometimes it mixes. I’m not sure about the girls. There’s no real artsy crowd that I’m aware of. There is the arts college and there are people who appreciate that, but you don’t see them going out that often with everyone at the same bars.
To what extent do you think people of different races and sexual orientations mix socially?
Pretty well. I have a pretty diverse group of friends, so it’s there. There are people on campus who make a big deal about diversifying the university, and I can see that [being an issue] in a wider lens, but in the smaller lens of my friends and my social scene, I would say it’s one of the more diverse ones on campus.
How would you describe the student body?
I would describe it as pretty diverse in terms of what people like to do. You have people who go out all the time, and you also have people who never go out and study all the time. In terms of diversity, I’d say it’s definitely increased since my freshman year. There are people from completely different countries coming here. I’ve met a lot more people from China, Spain, and even Sweden who are all starting to come to Ohio for some reason.
Do you think people are generally happy with their choice of Miami by the time they graduate?
Miami school pride is not really a thing. People don’t care too much about athletics because we have never had an emphasis on tailgating or going to games. People definitely really love Miami as far as friendships and all the other shenanigans that you do there that are part of the culture of the school.
Has the alumni network helped you find internships or jobs?
Not exactly. The alumni network is pretty centralized in the Ohio area and a little bit dabbled in Chicago and New York. I’m working in Atlanta now and that was all on my own. Trying to go to the West Coast is definitely a little bit harder from Ohio. The alumni network could be updated to encompass more people from across the nation.
What have you used the career office for? How helpful were they?
They helped me with my resume and that kind of stuff, but that’s all I really went to them for. I’ve never really needed help with interviewing or anything like that. I will be going this year for sure. They’re helpful with career development, but not as much with getting an internship.
Have you learned any computer programs through your coursework that will be helpful to you professionally?
Not exactly. I know people who have intense courses with Excel at Miami, but I never have had to take one of those courses.
Advice for Prospective Freshmen
What is something you wish you knew about Miami before entering as a freshman?
I wish I knew more about how the majors and the whole education system worked and I wish they made it easier to understand on the website. At first, they told me I had to do a double major with Strategic Communications, but I could supplement that with two minors. Then the next year they told me they changed that, but it wasn’t on the website, so now I’m scrambling to get enough credits to do a double major.
What is something a prospective student may miss on a visit that is worth checking out?
A student should walk around uptown where the social scene is, go around at like 9 o’clock and see what’s going on and get a perspective of what people are doing. Getting the view of what it’s going to be instead of jumping in with no clue is helpful.
Reasons to attend Miami:
1) It has a really good business school and college of arts and sciences. The professors are pretty good and hands-on with the students if you show initiative yourself.
2) It’s a small college town away from the world where everyone has a good time and makes the most out of what they have.
3) It’s an experience you can’t get anywhere else in that separation from the rest of the world.
4) The people that go there have a happy-go-lucky attitude but also work hard. It’s a work hard play hard attitude.
Reasons to not attend Miami:
1) Once you get in, it’s hard to move around academically to the different schools.
2) Geography, there’s nothing nearby.
3) In terms of organizations, I think everybody finds their place by midway through freshman year, but there are still crowds that you just don’t talk to or interact with. There are set little groups that don’t really interact with each other.