An Interview On
University of Michigan

Background

Interview Date:June 2018

Gender Identity: Female
Race/Ethnicity: Caucasian
Sexual Orientation: Heterosexual
Graduation Year: 2019
High School Experience: I went to a private school in Fort Lauderdale, FL with a graduating class of about 180 students. There was a culture of going to college.
First Generation College Student: No
Major: Communications
Minor: I’m in the Cappo Sales Track, which is through Ross [Business School], and I’m a Screen Arts and Culture Minor, which is like a film minor.
Extracurricular Activities: Greek Life, I am in a stand-up comedy club, and I’m in HeForShe, which is a gender equality club.

Academic Experience

Can you describe the weekly coursework for your major?
My classes have been split between group work and individual work. At the lower level courses my classes were a little more test based and now they’re more project based.

Is there anything you feel your major’s department does especially well or especially poorly?
I think my major should be split into two different tracks. There’s no journalism school at Michigan, so there should be a journalism track and then more of a media studies track, which would be geared more towards 21st century media outlets.

I think it does especially well in providing opportunities. My advisors have been great and I definitely feel supported. [I have five advisors]. I feel that the Communications major is a community.

What has been your favorite class in your major?
Gender and Pop Culture

How would you describe the learning environment in your major? Do you think it’s particularly competitive or collaborative?
It’s very collaborative. I don’t think it’s a competitive environment at all. I’m not in a major with a curve, and I feel like I’m judged on my own individual work. I don’t feel the pressure to do anything that isn’t me.

How accessible were your professors?
Very accessible. I’ve only had one issue with a professor and it wasn’t through Communications.

Why did you choose Communications? Are you happy with your choice?
I want to work in the music industry and I’m not musically talented enough to be in a music school. I love my choice, but I definitely had a specific goal in mind [when I picked it].

On and Around Campus

Where have you lived on campus?
Freshman: I lived in Mary Markley my freshman year with one roommate

Sophomore: I lived in my sorority house with one roommate

Junior: Arbor Blu Apartments on Church Street and I had five roommates.

Senior: Housing unit with 4 units all connected and each unit houses 6 people. So I have five roommates but I’m living with 12 friends total.

What was your favorite living situation?
I’m really looking forward to my senior year living situation. I think that’ll be the best because it’s the most people living together. But, I loved living in my sorority house it was one of the best experiences of my life. My least favorite was my dorm because Mary Markley is repulsive. It hasn’t been redone in a while.

How was the transition from Florida to Michigan?
I had a very flawless home to college transition. I think that’s not common. My roommate was from LA and she had a hard time in the winter, I personally didn’t because I grew up going to Colorado.

Can you describe the level of safety you’ve experienced on and around campus?
I feel very safe on campus, but I’m also White so I don’t really know.

What is your favorite off-campus restaurant?
Aventura

What is your favorite place to get away from campus?
Ann Arbor itself is pretty cool. It’s a little integrated with campus, but places like Kerrytown are a little separated. Kerrytown has a farmer’s market that’s great.

Pros and cons of being in Ann Arbor, MI?
Pros: (1) We’re so close to the Detroit airport. You can get there from everywhere.
(2) I like that it’s a cultured, elevated town.
(2) It’s very walkable unless you’re on North campus. I’m not an art student or engineer, so I’ve never faced that issue. For the most part, it’s a very accessible place.

Cons: (1) It’s brutally cold.
(2) For someone like me who wants to work in the music industry, it’s not New York and it’s not LA, so it does have a lack of being an entertainment hub.

Social Opportunities

What kind of weekend activities or nightlife do you participate in at Michigan?
My social life has been kind of defined by Skeep’s, [Scorekeeper’s]. When I’m feeling crazy, I go out Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday, and Saturday. The only two days when nobody’s doing anything are Wednesdays and Sundays. As I’ve gotten more serious about my education, I go out up to three days a week. Freshman year I was probably going out four days a week. Greek life has definitely affected my social life, undoubtedly so. I was mostly going to frat parties until the second semester of sophomore year. I definitely go to Scorekeeper’s on Tuesdays and Thursdays, I definitely tailgate on Saturdays. It depends on a weekly basis.

Because there’s only one place to go, are there lines or is it hard to get in to?
Yeah, there’s this thing called a Skeep’s Card and people will pay tons of money to get this card just to skip the line.

What were some of your favorite times at Michigan?
Tailgates are my favorite. Winterfest is awesome [see broomball tournament video]. I think we have really cool clubs that put on cool events, like we have Music Matters, which is a charity concert and they bring in awesome people. The charity events that sororities and fraternities put on are a lot of fun. There’s a pie eating contest and late night wings and all sorts of things.

How happy were you with the nightlife at Michigan? Is there anything you would change if you could?
Honestly, you’re speaking to someone who really looked into opening a club in Ann Arbor. I love Michigan, I love the school and sorority. Bar-wise, the fact that there’s only one really popular bar is upsetting. Some people disagree and say everyone’s going to be at the same place which is awesome.

Campus Culture

How did you meet your closest friends?
Through Greek life.

What is the impact of Greek life on social life at Michigan?
I think it’s one of those things where you join it and you end up in the same room with people that you would have been attracted to naturally. I think it kind of cuts through the clutter, especially coming from a small private school. I also think it does some harm. It’s a system that has people defining against each other and clicking in bad ways and good ways. I really like Greek life.

How would you describe the social scene?
I’ve always felt very welcomed by it, and I also feel as though the Greek life scene is a little bit more diverse than [it stereotypically is]. I think it does attract a larger variety of life. I don’t think it’s very cutthroat. I also think a great thing about Michigan is that it’s very work hard play hard and I see that so much. It’s great that you’re partying with somebody and then you see them in the library at 8AM.

To what extent do you feel people of different races and sexual orientations mix socially?
I don’t think Greek life does a good job of that at all. I am also in a major and a minor that has such a diverse group of races and sexual orientations, I feel that I have tons of interaction with different walks of life. I don’t think I’ve received that interaction from anything but my education.

Do you think people are happy with their choice of Michigan by senior year?
Yes. I just got chills. I love Michigan. I’d die for Michigan [laughs].

Careers

Has the alumni network helped you find internships or jobs?
Not me personally, but I do think that every time I’ve been in a work setting and I’ve mentioned that I go to Michigan, somebody in the room also went there. It’s one of the biggest alumni networks. Dropping the name Michigan has definitely helped me in my life, I don’t think it’s helped me in my career so far, but I think I’m an odd case.

How useful has the career office been?
I only have gone once when I was a freshman. They were helpful with setting up my resume and helping me find the minor in Ross. I got an internship I loved my freshman year, and Michigan helped me interview for that. Since then, I haven’t used Michigan really because it’s snowballed into what I did sophomore year and what I’m doing currently.

Have you learned any computer programs that will be helpful for you professionally?
My major required us to do a quantitative reasoning class, which is entirely Excel based. I really appreciated that because every job I’ve had has made me use Excel. I have used a bit of Photoshop, which I also appreciated.

Advice for Prospective Freshmen

What is something you wish you knew about Michigan before entering as a freshman?
I don’t really think I wish I knew anything. My brother is going to be a freshman and I don’t think he’s a great candidate for Greek life. I wish people did know that if you’re not planning on doing Greek life, it’s really important to find people and talk to people who aren’t in Greek life because there is a crazy separation between Greek life and non-Greek life and it’s important to know where you stand on that.

What is something a prospective student may miss on a visit that’s worth checking out?
Walk around downtown and get a feel for more than the campus.

Reasons to attend Michigan:
1) There’s something profoundly motivating about being on this campus. I think everyone is very personable and wants to be social while also being very driven academically. I think it inspires you to be more of yourself.
2) I think it’s a good combination of people from all over because it is a state school, so there are a lot of Michigan kids, but we have a lot of out of state people. [In 2016, the incoming freshman class was 51% in-state.] It’s the right combination of international, Mid-West, and coastal.
3) I feel very academically stimulated. I think my professors have been awesome. I have been very supported by my advisors. I have five advisors, which is insane, but that’s normal for people.
4) It’s really easy to go abroad.
5) They support all your interests and they’re very good at funding things. They’re really good at funding your thesis or your capstone. I think that makes it a very individualistic experience while being part of a community.

Reasons to not attend Michigan:
1) If you want to be a journalist.
2) If you don’t like the cold.
3) If you want to be in the arts school or an engineer you have to think about where you are geographically on campus. I don’t know if I would have gone to Michigan [if I was in those schools] because you’re very isolated and it’s difficult to get around the school.

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