An Interview On
University of Michigan

Background

Interview Date:July 2018

Gender Identity: Male
Race/Ethnicity: Indian
Sexual Orientation: Heterosexual
Graduation Year: 2021
High School Experience: I went to a large public school outside of Pittsburgh, PA with a graduating class of 700 students.
First Generation Student: No
Major: I’m a Computer Science Major and I’m trying to pick up a Data Science major as well
Extracurricular Activities: I’m in a consulting club called MECC and I am in Greek life.

Did any of your extracurricular activities have a particularly big impact on your experience?
MECC and my fraternity I would say had the biggest impact.

How has MECC had an impact?
[MECC had an impact because] I’ve made a lot of friends, but I’ve also gotten to have really cool interactions with clients. I wouldn’t have gotten that experience if I wasn’t part of that club. I also have learned a lot of technical skills, like I learned a lot of Excel and things like that just because of the work I’ve had to do for it. We get a different project every semester. My first client was from East Lansing. It was a small tech startup, then my next client was [an NFL team].

What was the process of getting into the club?
You first send out an application where you write like two or three essays and you fill out an application. Then they narrow down that and then you do an interview, and then they narrow down that, and then you do another interview. It’s ridiculous, and a lot of the other professional clubs are just like that.

Academic Experience

Can you describe your weekly coursework for your major?
If you’re in a coding-heavy class, you have a lab every week and then probably four or five projects throughout the semester that are bigger coding projects. Then the more theory-based classes have a problem set every week.

Is there anything you feel your major’s department does especially well or especially poorly?
One of the things that I really like about the department is their policy on attendance and how lectures work. Pretty much, you don’t have to attend any of the lectures and they record every single one of them. So, if you have to miss a lecture for whatever reason that’s not a problem, and if you don’t like your professor, you can go watch some other professor’s lecture. It makes it very convenient because different kids learn better with different professors. It just makes it a lot easier.

Can you describe the learning environment? Do you think it’s competitive or collaborative?
I would say it’s more collaborative than other schools of this caliber. Everyone just wants to help each other out, because, at least in my experience, when I help someone out it also helps me. So, people are very collaborative like that.

Why did you choose your major? Are you happy with your choice?
Yes, I’m happy with my choice. I didn’t really think I was going to choose it. Then my senior year of high school I took a coding class, and I was really bad at it at first so I definitely didn’t think I was going to choose it. But then as the year went on, I started enjoying it more. Then freshman year I took a basic coding class first semester freshman year and went with it.

On and Around Campus

Where have you lived on campus?
Freshman: Alice Lloyd Hall with one roommate.

Sophomore: I’m living in my fraternity house.

Can you describe the level of safety you’ve experienced on and around campus?
It’s very safe. At least from what I’ve experienced, it’s extremely safe.

What is your favorite off-campus restaurant?
Kang’s, it’s a small Korean place. It’s definitely my favorite. I went to Ann Arbor a few weekends ago and made a point to go there.

What is your favorite place to get away from campus?
The [Mattheai Botanical Gardens and Nichols Arboretum]. It’s this big park kind of thing. It’s a big area in the woods that has trails to run on and lakes to hang out at. Another fun area is the docks, there are docks right on the lake. But you can’t really do that most of the year because it’s freezing. When it’s September and it’s really nice you can go there and go swimming and hang out.

Pros and Cons of being in Ann Arbor, MI?
Pros: (1) It’s definitely a college town, so there is still other stuff outside of the college, which is nice.
(2) The fact that it’s near Detroit is pretty nice because a lot of stuff happens in Detroit. I went there for a few baseball games in the fall and there are some co-op opportunities there.

Cons: (1) Definitely the weather. It gets really, really cold in the winter.
(2) Detroit is the closest city and it isn’t the best city to be near. I wouldn’t say that’s necessarily a con, but it’s something to think about.

Social Opportunities

What kind of weekend activities or nightlife do you like to participate in?
Whatever is going on depending on what night it is. I like to do stuff, I don’t like to sit in the dorms that much. I either go to frat parties or go to do things with my friends. Usually when I am going to a party it is at my fraternity house. If you know someone in another fraternity pretty well they’re usually willing to let you in, but I don’t really go to other fraternities because I assume it’s the same as what my fraternity does. Plus, if I’m not going to a fraternity party I’m doing something else, so I don’t see the purpose.

What nights of the week do you regularly go out? Are there certain places you go on certain nights?
It’s usually Thursday, Friday, and Saturday. Those are the nights people choose to do things. There are no definitive places, it’s just whatever I’m feeling. Some weekends I’ll do a frat party all three nights, and some nights I won’t do anything and my friends and I will go get dinner.

What is the impact of Greek life on nightlife?
It’s definitely a big thing because I know for a lot of my friends, especially my friends who were girls who went to a lot of fraternity parties, whenever there weren’t fraternity parties a lot of people are bored. Like, we got a Greek life ban for a month or so of the first semester, and I know during that month a lot of people are pretty bored.

How happy are you with the nightlife? Is there anything you would change if you could?
I’m happy with it. I don’t really see anything that I would change. I mean there’s something you miss out on because you’re not a big city, but there’s nothing you can do about that. For Ann Arbor, I think it’s pretty good.

Campus Culture

How did you meet your closest friends?
I have my fraternity friends and I have my friends from my hall. I don’t know which ones are necessarily closer. Some of my best friends I met just because I’m in a fraternity with them, and then the others I met during the first two months or so meeting people in the dorm.

How would you describe the overall social scene at Michigan?
I mean I think everyone is pretty social and everyone wants to have fun. Different people do different things to have fun, but the good thing about it being such a big school is that you’ll definitely find people who like to do the same things as you. You’ll always make friends, and I think that most people find a group of friends very similar to them. Like, my friends from high school weren’t as similar to me as my friends I’ve met in college.

To what extent do you think people of different races and sexual orientations mix socially?
I know a lot of people when they get there say it’s a very predominantly White school, which is definitely true. A lot of people are pretty surprised by that and it kind of hits you [when you get there]. It’s not amazing in terms of different races mixing, but it’s definitely not bad either. I do think a lot of communities are a little separated by race. For example, I know the Indian community is very [insular]. A lot of Indian kids are just friends with other Indian kids. It’s a very separated community. And then I know a few of my friends who are Black, mostly have other friends who are Black as well. There is definitely some separation there, maybe because of how predominantly White the school is, I don’t really know why. [About 65% of Michigan’s undergraduate enrollment in 2016-2017 is White.]

In terms of sexual orientation, I think it might be better than it is for racial separation. It’s better than it is in most places.

Advice for Prospective Freshmen

What is something you wish you knew about Michigan before entering as a freshman?
I got lucky and I found a club that was really good in terms of professionalism and the people that really fits for me. I stumbled upon the club at one of the festivals, which like never happens. So, I wish I knew more about the potential clubs that I may be more interested in. Because literally a few days ago I found about this other club that I really want to join this year. If I had more knowledge of what kinds of clubs exist, I think that would be very helpful.

What is something a prospective student may have missed on a visit that is worth checking out?
Everything you would miss on a visit is something you would have to go to Michigan to understand. I would say, if possible, try to experience something like that’s very Michigan. So, a football game or a basketball game where you can experience the school pride because that’s something that you can’t really see on a tour unless you’re a part of it.

Reasons to attend Michigan:
1) It’s academically amazing and super versatile. No matter what you want to do, you know you will be getting a good education, and it’s easy to switch schools.
2) I’m a big sports fan, so we have football, we have basketball, we have hockey, we have all these good sports teams. That was a big reason I chose to go to Michigan because I wanted to have some sports to follow with some type of following.
3) The people I’ve met here are so amazing and there’s such a wide variety of people in terms of interests and what people like to do. You get to do so many things you never thought you would have done just because of all the people here.
4) Everyone here is very nice. It’s not a super competitive environment.
5) I think the fact that it’s a big school provides a lot of opportunities.

Reasons to not attend Michigan:
1) It’s a big school. Everything you may want to do, like getting into clubs, is pretty competitive. A lot of the classes competitive and a lot of the clubs are competitive in terms of getting into them, so that’s one thing that I found is pretty tough.
2) The cold. A lot of people really don’t like the cold. I know people who are transferring out of Michigan just because of how cold it is. It’s actually a problem in terms of people who experience seasonal depression. If you’re not ready to get accustomed to the cold it may not be the right choice.

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