An Interview On
Northwestern University

Academic Experience

Gender Identity: Female
Race/Ethnicity: Asian-American/East Asian
Graduation Year: 2021
Sexual Orientation: Straight
High School Experience: Public high school in the San Ramon, California with a graduating class of 625 students. There was a culture of going to college.
First Generation College Student: Yes
Major: Communication Studies
Minor: Segal Design Certificate
Extracurricular Activities: I’m in a Marketing Club, on the executive board for my residential college, and hold a leadership role for Northwestern Recreation.

Did any of your extracurricular activities have a particularly big impact on your experience? In what ways?
In certain clubs with a lot of White members, I’ve felt that I had to learn how to fit in. I can’t speak for everyone, but I feel as I had to act a certain way, which is uncomfortable.

Academic Experience

Can you describe your weekly coursework for Communication Studies?
It’s a lot of reading with not many large assignments. We have smaller weekly tasks such as blog posts. Depending on the class, you either get smaller assignments or two big essays.

Is there anything that you feel the Communication Studies department does especially well or especially poorly?
They capture every side of the broad major, such as digital marketing and persuasion. They do a good job at guiding someone who doesn’t know exactly what they want to do.

How would you describe the learning environment? Do you think it’s particularly competitive or collaborative?
I’d say it’s pretty collaborative. Everyone is really nice, and nobody is trying to undermine anybody or mess up the curve.

What has been your favorite class in your major?
Persuasive Images in Popular Culture.

What has been your least favorite class in your major?
Communication in The Environment

How accessible have the professors in your department been?
They are really responsive to emails, and host office hours. They are always open to talking or meeting, and I wish I took better advantage of this.

Why did you pick your major? Are you happy with your choice?
I really like the media, creating things, and being in a creative headspace but not a full-on artist at art school. Communication Studies gives you a balance between professional business but combined with a fun and creative side. I’ve been happy with my major and courses so far because they reflect my interests.

How has being on a quarter system impacted your course work?
It feels like as soon as you start the class, it’s over. Syllabus week is more so one day. There is a break after each quarter, which makes it hard to get back into the mindset of being in school.

On and Around Campus

Where have you lived during college?
Freshman: Ayers with one roommate
Sophomore: Ayers with no roommates

What was your favorite living situation?
I preferred living with a roommate because I had a good one. Having a roommate freshman year is an essential part of the college experience, even if it doesn’t work the way you want it to. It has helped to guide and shape me.

How was transitioning from San Ramon, California to Evanston, Illinois?
It’s really warm in California, but it’s winter in November here which is really rough. It’s not that bad if you have a good winter coat.

Can you describe the level of safety you’ve experienced on and around campus?
I would say it’s pretty safe on campus. If you live off-campus and have to walk, there is a lot of cell phone snatching. They have heightened security around campus since the snatching began.

What is your favorite off-campus restaurant?
Dave’s New Kitchen.

What is your favorite place to get away from campus?
North Beach.

Pros and cons of being in Evanston, Illinois?

Pros:
1) I feel it’s close enough to Chicago to access its resources, but far enough to not be in the middle of a big city. [Northwestern to Chicago is about an hour drive.]

Cons:
1) The campus itself is a little isolating. The STEM courses are up North, and the Humanities are down South. I wish there were a place with a little bit of everything.

Social Opportunities

What kind of weekend activities or nightlife do you like to participate in?
I don’t love going to Greek life parties, but they are pretty accessible if you wanted to go. I’ll go maybe once a month. On the weekends, we usually have a kickback in a friend’s suite. This is harder to do in a dorm because you may get in trouble. I tend to do things on Fridays and Saturdays.

Are there any events on campus that you like to go to?
Recently there have been bar nights and a lot of musical events around. Got Waves is a music club that puts on cheap events where they show student performers and artists.

Describe a typical going out night freshman year. How did it differ from when you are now more established on campus?
Freshman year was a lot of going to big things like open club parties, but now it’s more so having a kickback. The transition from freshman to sophomore year is a big jump regarding the workload.

How happy were you with the weekend options at Northwestern? If you could change anything, what would you change?
I’m pretty happy with it. I wish non-Greek organizations could have parties on campus.

What have been your favorite times at Northwestern?
There is a cool event called Dillo Day the first week of June where performers come in. It’s a mini music-festival, and you get to bring one free guest. The Chinese Student Association also throws pretty cool parties. Last year we had one at a bar in downtown Chicago.

Campus Culture

How did you meet your closest friends?
I live with them. I don’t have many close friends from my classes, or even the clubs I’m in.

How would you describe the overall social scene at Northwestern?
I would say it’s two-sided. It’s either “Nerdwestern” or “Northwasted.” Sunday – Wednesday, everyone is grinding or having weekday social, like projects or dinner. The rest of the time it’s Northwasted. The noise doesn’t really die down until around 3 AM in my dorm on the weekends.

To what extent do you feel people of different races and sexual orientation mix socially?
I feel like it’s still not as integrated as it could be, but I think that it’s a lot better than other campuses. If I’m at a Greek life party, it would not be one race, but it’ll still be predominately White. Northwestern is really open toward different sexual orientations. If you are LGBTQ, I feel that this a good place to go. [The Class of 2022 population is 13.5% Hispanic or Latino, 1% American Indian or Alaska Native, 23.5% Asian American, 10% Black or African American, and 56% White.]

Do people generally seem happy with their college choice by senior year? Do people “love” your school?
I feel like people love and hate it. The people are surprisingly super nice. You slightly hate it because it’s really hard, especially on the quarter system. It also makes you more competitive for employers, and they recognize it’s a hard place to be.

How has the size of your school influenced your social experience?
I like the size. It’s not a really big school but it isn’t really small either. You recognize everyone but may not know all of them. It lets me either stay on the down low or be social toward everyone. [There are about 8,300 undergraduates at Northwestern.]

Academic Experience

Has the alumni network helped you find internships or jobs?
I have not used it, but I know it’s relatively extensive.

To what extent have you used the career office? How helpful have they been?
They have helped me find an internship and a job. They have lots of practice interviews, workshops for your specific major, and career fairs.

Have you learned any computer programs or computer languages that have been or will be especially helpful professionally?
Next year I’m going to learn Python in a computer programming class.

Advice for Prospective Freshmen

What is something a prospective student may miss on a visit that’s worth checking out?
It’s worth checking out the Mudd Library in North Campus.

What is something you wish you knew about Northwestern before you entered as a freshman?
I wish I knew how rigorous the quarter system would be. I like it because I can graduate sooner given how many credits it lets you get through.

What is something that we haven’t touched on that a prospective student should know?
It’s really important to say no to certain things. There is so much going on that you will want to do, but you have to be okay with not doing everything. We only have so much time, so being able to say no to specific opportunities is important.

Reasons to attend Northwestern:
1) If you want a balance between academics and social life.
2) If you want to be surrounded by really cool, passionate people.

Reasons to not attend Northwestern:
1) If you are afraid of the cold.
2) If you want a more laid back college experience.
3) It seems like our school is so liberal that when conservative people try to learn and understand other’s opinions, they get shut down. This can feel a little isolating.

Notice: Northwestern University is a trademark. Induck uses it for descriptive purposes, not to imply affiliation with, endorsement from, or sponsorship by Northwestern University.

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