University of Michigan
BackgroundInterview Date:October 2018
Gender Identity: Female
Sexual Orientation: Heterosexual
Graduation Year: 2021
High School Experience: Public school in Michigan with a graduating class of about 350 students. It was pretty diverse.
First Generation College Student: No
Majors: Economics and Philosophy Double Major
Extracurricular Activities: I’m a student-athlete, and I’m part of a pre-law frat and Economics Club.
Did any of your extracurricular activities have a particularly big impact on your experience?
I think [my team] has really cultivated my time. Last year they really helped me integrate into the school and make it feel smaller. I also got a lot of friends from it.
What is your weekly coursework like for your majors?
We have problem sets every few weeks and article responses where we have to go on the Wall Street Journal and find an article that relates to something in class. Economics is an exam based major. For Philosophy, we have a lot of papers and we have a lot of readings.
Is there anything you feel your majors’ departments do especially well or especially poorly?
I think the Philosophy department does a really good job of teaching essay skills and argumentative skills, especially in discussions, because you are forced to debate and discuss your point of view in class. They give you a lot of opportunities to speak and get your point across.
How would you describe the learning environment? Do you think it’s particularly competitive or collaborative?
Economics is more competitive than Philosophy because it’s more quantitative and there’s a lot more test taking, so that breeds competitiveness.
What has been your favorite class in your majors?
I took a Philosophy class on Law and Culture it was really cool because you got exposed to the courtroom and the idea that being a lawyer is kind of like creating a narrative in a courtroom.
Why did you choose your majors? Are you happy with your choice?
I want to go to law school, so I picked Philosophy because it would teach me how to argue, discuss important topics, and go behind the scenes of the argument and be able to build off of that. I think the world is built on money, so I think Economics is really important and you can apply that anywhere in the world. Nobody is not affected by money, so learning about principles of economics will help me create policy change to help people.
On and Around Campus
Where have you lived on campus?
Freshman: Alice Lloyd Hall with one roommate. I met a lot of my closest friends there.
Sophomore: Off-campus house with five other people. It’s pretty nice but it’s a lot more responsibility.
What has been your favorite living situation?
I think it is the house I’m in now because there’s a lot more freedom and space than the dorms had. I also have my own room.
How was transitioning from your hometown to Ann Arbor?
It was definitely a little harder for me because my hometown was a lot more diverse than Michigan’s campus and it was a lot smaller. My hometown also had a lot less money than the people in Ann Arbor, so the cost of living is higher here. It was a little challenging getting used to all of that and not being around as many minorities. I have definitely found a little niche in Ann Arbor and was able to find people who I’m friends with.
What is your favorite off-campus restaurant?
Sava’s. It’s natural, organic, healthy food.
What is your favorite place to get away from campus?
I like going to the mall. It’s super close and you can take a bus there. I also like the arboretum, which is technically on campus. It’s nice to get out of the city and be around nature and trees.
Can you describe the level of safety you’ve experienced on and around campus?
I’ve never experienced anything where I’ve been actually worried for my safety. It’s just walking down the street at night sometimes guys will call out to me and that makes me feel uncomfortable. [The violent crime rate in Ann Arbor is 53% lower than the rest of the national average and the property crime rate is 29% lower than the national average.]
Pros and cons of being in Ann Arbor, MI?
Pros: (1) There’s a lot of stuff to do. On the weekends you can go shopping, go to the movies, or go to restaurants.
(2) Everything is really close so you don’t have to walk that far.
(3) I like the fact that there are more than just students here. You’ll see families walking around and there are events other than college stuff going on.
Cons: (1) Because there are other people here it can be kind of crowded.
(2) There are a lot of homeless people in the downtown area.
(3) I sometimes don’t feel that safe walking around at night because there are people from the city that are not in college. Plus, a lot of people come to Ann Arbor to go to bars so that makes it seem more dangerous for me.
What kind of weekend activities or nightlife do you participate in at Michigan?
Usually I hang out with friends. If I do go out, which would be on a Friday or Saturday, I go to friends’ houses for house parties and stuff.
What were some of your favorite times at Michigan?
Last year I participated in the dance marathon, which is a 24-hour event in the track and field house. I participated in it through my team. It was really fun to hang out with people and stay awake together for 24-hours for a really good cause. It was just really fun.
What is an alternative to going to a party that you like for a night out?
There are a lot. I’ve gone to a lot of movies. It’s also really nice to explore Ann Arbor and to see the different places around here. The restaurants are also really fun.
How happy were you with your weekend options at Michigan? Is there anything you would change if you could?
I like it a lot because if you do want to go out and party you can, but if you just want to go out to a restaurant and a movie you also can. There are a lot of people who do both, so you don’t feel like you’re missing out on anything.
How did you meet your closest friends?
Some of my closest friends were in the hall of my freshman dorm and my best friend now went to high school with my roommate last year, so I met people through people.
To what extent do people of different races and sexual orientations mix socially?
I have a lot of different friends and I have integrated myself into a lot of different ethnic groups. But, just looking at sororities and fraternities, they tend to only have one race and one type of person. That’s my experience with it. [The Black community makes up 5% of undergraduates, while the White community makes up 65%.]
How would you describe the social scene?
It’s pretty social. Everybody’s pretty friendly here. Nobody really keeps to themselves. Everyone’s willing to make friends or talk to someone on the street.
How would you describe the student body?
For the most part, everybody’s pretty motivated. Even if you want to go out on the weekend you make sure you get your homework done first. School comes first.
Do you think people are happy with their choice of Michigan by senior year?
I think so. The more people I talk to, the more they say they’ve loved it more every single year they’ve been here.
What have you used the career office for? How helpful have they been?
The Opportunity Hub actually gave me an internship scholarship last year so I was able to get an internship with that support. They have a website with Handshake and they have trips where you can go visit law schools, tour companies, and network. I also did a resume shop with them once and it was super helpful. It really improved my resume.
Have you learned any computer programs that will be helpful for you professionally?
I don’t do a lot with computers in my major, so I haven’t had a lot of exposure to that.
Advice for Prospective Freshmen
What is something you wish you knew about Michigan before entering as a freshman?
I wish I would have known how big the actual school is and how low the level of diversity is just because I was kind of shocked at how low the level of diversity was. [65% of students are White.]
What is something a prospective student may miss on a visit that’s worth checking out?
Shadow a class and try to see a lecture because a lot of high schools don’t have big lectures like Michigan does. For some people, it can be a hard place to learn.
Is there anything that we haven’t touched on that a prospective student should know?
The biggest thing is, because the campus is so big, is the importance of being in clubs and making the campus smaller for yourself. I think coming in with the mindset of knowing that is a big campus and it may feel overwhelming, but you have the ability to make the campus smaller.
Reasons to attend Michigan:
1) The academics here are amazing. I love all of my classes and I love all of my professors.
2) There’s a really good support system here for inclusiveness. The university promotes a lot of acceptance and inclusions, so it’s nice to be in a place like that.
3) I like the city aspect of it because I’ve always wanted to live in a city. I like having other things to do.
Reasons to not attend Michigan:
1) The school work is very challenging. If you are not willing to do the extra work to get good grades I don’t think you will enjoy your time here.
2) Driving here sucks.
3) If you just want a campus, the city aspect of it might not be great for you.