Miami University of Ohio
BackgroundInterview Date:July 2018
Gender Identity: Male
Sexual Orientation: Heterosexual
Graduation Year: 2019
High School Experience: I went to a public school in a wealthy community in Columbus, OH with a graduating class of 1,600 students. There was a culture of going to college.
First Generation College Student: No
Minor: Business, and I have a concentration in Philosophy
Extracurricular Activities: I’m in a fraternity, I volunteer as a homework assistant for a local elementary school, and I’m on the Club Tennis team.
Did any of your extracurricular activities have a particularly big impact on your experience?
The fraternity definitely does just because it gave me a friend group and guided a lot of the social interactions I had from my freshman year on.
Can you describe your weekly coursework for your major?
It’s a tough major. A lot of my Economics classes are very exam oriented. Like, for a class I had last semester, there was a problem set every week that you could do but you didn’t have to turn it in. You just had to show up and take four exams and that was a lot of your grade. I have a lot of options to do work, but a lot of my grades are based off my performance on exams.
Is there anything you feel your major’s department does especially well or especially poorly?
I think they do a really good job of teaching the [concepts] behind the math because economics is a really difficult area of study and is difficult for a lot of people to understand. In the intermediate to advanced classes, you learn economics through mathematical proofs, mathematical equations, mathematical theory, and graphs, which is really cool, but if you don’t have any explanation of the concept it’s difficult. So, I think the school has done a really good job of finding professors who are passionate to make sure the students understand what’s truly going on and test us on our economic logic and intuition rather than our ability to regurgitate mathematical equations.
How would you describe the learning environment? Do you think it’s competitive or collaborative?
It is collaborative. There is some group work. I’ve always thought the learning environment was kind of weird because Miami has a large Chinese population and a lot of them major in Economics. You end up doing group work or are in a classroom environment and there is a really difficult concept that you’re trying to work through with a bunch of people, but there’s a huge language barrier with a couple of the students because the class is so diverse. In it’s an interesting learning environment for me. I’ve treated it as an “I’m going to figure it out for myself” kind of thing. I don’t rely on group work or studying with other people just because it gets difficult. I wouldn’t say the classroom environment is competitive, but people who are Economics majors aren’t just doing that major to get a degree, they care and they want to do well. So, in that aspect, it is relatively competitive. [There are about 2,200 Chinese undergraduates and about 200 of them are Economics majors.]
What has been your favorite class in your major?
Economic Growth, and it basically went back to a hunter-gatherer society and modeled the type of economy they would have and built from that all the way up to a modern-day economy. You were able to understand how you get from point A to point B and what variables influence that. It was a really cool class.
What has been your least favorite class in your major?
I think they’re all great, but I would say Public Sector Economics, just because at the time I took that class I hadn’t taken calculus and it was really difficult for me to understand the concepts that were being explained through calculus. If you’re going to be an Economics major, it really is in your benefit to not only pass calculus but to have a decent understanding of it.
Why did you choose your major? Are you happy with your choice?
When I was a freshman I was undecided, and I thought I should know more about Economics so I took a class and I thought it was a really cool class. It gives you a really good perspective and helps you understand why the world operates the way it does, and in that aspect, it’s kind of empowering. I really enjoyed the way that it challenges you to think about certain concepts and to think analytically. I like it a lot because it’s given me a lot of critical thinking abilities and a fresh perspective. One downside is that it doesn’t necessarily teach you a hard skill. There’s not a job that is right out of college like an economist, but you can apply the skills you learned through that major to other positions.
On and Around Campus
Where have you lived on campus?
Freshman: Havighurst Hall with one roommate
Sophomore: Swing Hall with one roommate
Junior: I lived in an uptown apartment with three other roommates.
Senior: I’m living in an off-campus house with nine of my best friends.
What was your favorite living situation?
Can you describe the level of safety you’ve experienced on and around campus?
During the school year, I think it’s a pretty safe campus. There are weird and disadvantaged people that live in Oxford, Ohio. The townspeople are not like any people that I have ever encountered in my upbringing. [In Oxford, OH, the poverty rate is 46.1% and the median household income is $29,451.]
What is your favorite off-campus restaurant?
Johnny’s Campus Deli, it’s more of a convenience store thing, but they also deliver food and it’s awesome.
What is your favorite place to get away from campus?
I like to run down by the football stadium. There’s an equestrian track not too far from it and a lot of big grassy areas. It’s down a really big hill so you feel like you’re completely off campus. It’s a nice spot to go walk, run, or ride your bike.
Pros and Cons of being in Oxford, OH?
Pros: (1) It’s secluded.
(2) It’s your quintessential college town. It exists because of the college, so that’s kind of cool.
(3) It’s relatively close to Cincinnati. You could also drive a couple of hours and be in a cool camping spot. It’s rural and outdoorsy.
Cons: (1) If you’re more of a city person and like a lot of life, you don’t get that.
(2) Because of the location in rural Ohio, there’s not a lot of diversity with the townspeople. [About 87% of the population of Oxford is White.
What kind of weekend activities or nightlife do you like to participate in?
I go out to bars and I go to our fraternity parties when we have those. I also study a lot. This past year I had a much more demanding course schedule, so I went out two to three times a week max. When I was a freshman and sophomore I was kind of an idiot with my friends and we went out a lot more. Usually, you’ll go to a fraternity-sponsored house and hang out with your friends and then make your way up to the bars eventually. It’s a pretty big bar school. There are 18+ lines, but it’s a big pain to wait in an 18+ line, and a lot of the times the 18+ lines take a lot longer or they stop letting people in.
What impact does Greek life have on nightlife?
I think Greek life runs the school party-wise. I don’t want to discourage someone from coming to Miami because they think that Greek life “runs” the school party-wise. I just think because there are so many people involved in Greek life that there are a lot of opportunities to party and invite people to parties in Greek life, and there are also a lot of people in Greek life that are constantly going out. Greek life promotes the nightlife I think.
Can you describe a typical night going out freshman year?
Before I was in a fraternity, we’d all cram into someone’s dorm room. You’re texting around trying to find someone who knows someone who knows where a party is and you might go to that and you might not. It’s a common thing for freshman guys with no girls to not be let in. Sometimes you’d just head straight uptown around like 10 o’clock or something. If you’re a freshman you go uptown a little earlier because you’re trying to get in line.
How happy are you with the nightlife? Is there anything you would change if you could?
There are probably a lot of things I would change. I like it, and I like going out. People at Miami just aren’t as chill as other schools. It’s all about seeing people and getting [really drunk]. Hanging out with a bunch of people at someone’s house isn’t really a thing. I’d like some more casual going out. Also, I think that with so many [negative events with Greek life] happening across the nation, police have cracked down on fraternity parties and stuff like that. That ultimately it does provide some security but it makes it a bummer. I think younger people tend to binge drink more because they know they might have to leave relatively quickly. Right now, it’s in a transition period, so I am interested to see where it plays out. [See current Greek life sanctions here.]
How did you meet your closest friends?
One of them lived across from me in my dorm freshman year. The others I’ve met through my fraternity.
To what extent do you think people of different races and sexual orientations mix socially?
One of my best friends is gay and he mixes just fine socially, but I think that there are a lot of people of different races and sexual orientations that more often than not don’t mix. I don’t think it’s necessarily about their race or sexual orientation, but maybe about their upbringing or background and things they had been normally exposed to. Miami is kind of homogenous in that there are a lot of White people. It has a stigma of having an entitled culture and people that aren’t used to that or don’t buy into that tend to not mix socially, which is totally understandable. [About 73% of students are White.]
Do you think people are generally happy with their choice of Miami by the time they graduate?
Yeah, I think so for the most part.
Has the alumni network helped you find internships or jobs?
I have an internship this summer and it was not found through the alumni network. I know Miami has a really strong alumni network. A lot of people probably do get connected through alumni, but I think the path that I’m going it is less likely that I will need Miami alumni to get connected.
What have you used the career office for? How helpful were they?
It’s really useful. I had them look over my resume even when I’ve felt my resume looked pretty good and ready to go they’d help me change things I wouldn’t even think of. They teach you how to explain something in an interview that you knew but you didn’t know how to say. It’s really helpful in that regard. They provide you with links for internships and websites with job postings and stuff. They do a lot to have a good resume, be comfortable in an interview and know where to look for a good job.
Have you learned any computer programs through your coursework that will be helpful to you professionally?
I’m taking a computer science class this semester so hopefully, I’ll learn something there. I know some Stata and R, but I don’t know how much that will help me in the future. I have used Excel in my classes. Miami does a good job familiarizing you with Excel and Microsoft Office in general.
Advice for Prospective Freshmen
What is something you wish you knew about Miami before entering as a freshman?
There are a lot of really great clubs and organizations to get involved with. It’s really easy to get caught up in Greek life, partying, and thinking that’s what you need to be doing. If you take a minute and evaluate what you need to be doing, you’ll realize that Miami has a lot of great organizations that coexist with Greek life and you can do both. You shouldn’t hesitate to put yourself out there.
What is something a prospective student may miss on a visit that is worth checking out?
I think the whole Western Campus. I don’t know if they tour much on Western Campus, but there’s a nature park, an amphitheater, and an art museum. It’s a great place to go and unwind. It was one of my favorite parts of campus freshman year.
Reasons to attend Miami:
1) It’s a really good return on investment. They have a really good job placement rate.
2) It’s a nice campus. They’re always renovating buildings and making classrooms nicer. You get the feeling that the school cares about you.
3) I think it’s a really strong academic school. Say what you will about the party culture and lack of diversity, but I think the professors I’ve had, ranging from my classes in Philosophy, to Economics, to Political Science, have all been really good. I haven’t taken many classes where it’s an easy A class. [About 13% of students are domestic students of color.]
Reasons to not attend Miami:
1) It has an entitled party culture. If you’re someone who doesn’t like that then probably don’t go to Miami because it can be kind of overwhelming and daunting sometimes. [See Miami Student article, “Greek Life’s Lack of Diversity Means Mixed Experiences.”]
2) They have good schools in the university, but some other schools could be bigger. Like, if you want to go to college for neuroscience, maybe Miami is not the place. There are good schools at Miami, but there could be a broader range of good schools.
3) There is not a ton to do. You have to push yourself to find things to do other than partying. The closest movie theater is like 40 minutes away, our sports teams are not very good and the sporting events are not that fun to go to. There are some on-campus activities that are kind of fun. For the most part, you find yourself in a small town with a lot of people who share a common interest in drinking, so you get roped into to partying a lot more than you figured you would.