University of Maryland, College Park
BackgroundInterview Date:July 2018
Gender Identity: Male
Sexual Orientation: Heterosexual
Graduation Year: 2019
High School Experience: Public school in Montgomery County, MD with a graduating class of about 500 students.
First Generation College Student: No
Majors: Double Major in Secondary Education and History
Extracurricular Activities: I’m in a fraternity and College Mentors for Kids.
Did any of your extracurricular activities have a particularly big impact on your experience?
Definitely my fraternity. I joined in the second semester of my freshman year. I [had leadership roles] and it was a big part of my life because it added a lot of responsibilities and created a lot of connections and friends.
BackgroundInterview Date:July 2018
Can you describe your weekly coursework for your majors?
There is a lot of reading for History. I’ll average two to three History classes a semester and each of those will have weekly reading assignments that will take up a bit of time and then also involve in-class discussions. For Secondary Education, there are outside assignments, but a lot of it is in class participation and student teaching.
Is there anything you feel your majors’ departments do especially well or especially poorly?
I feel like the Secondary Education department does a really good job of informing the students of the paths they have to take and keeping them focused and guiding them along the way. They’ve been there any time I’ve had a question and have explained the steps and communicated what the expectations are. They also help in setting up your future and helping you build connections with other teachers.
How would you describe the learning environment? Do you think it’s particularly competitive or collaborative?
I feel, as far as my experience has gone, it’s been pretty open and students have been willing to work with one another. [A lot of work is done] through collaboration and group discussion and things of that nature. I think it’s benefited my learning experience because if there is something I don’t understand, some of the other students probably picked it up and vice versa.
What made you choose your combination of majors? And are you happy with your choice?
My grandfather kind of influenced me to become a teacher and some of my previous teachers have had a very positive influence in my life. I picked History because I really enjoy history.
On and Around Campus
Where have you lived on campus?
Freshman: I lived in Centreville Hall on North campus with one roommate. I really lucked out with my roommate, I still talk to him and he is a close friend of mine.
Sophomore & Junior: I lived in my fraternity house. First semester I was in a triple and then I had a single the next semester. Then the next two years I had a double. The triple was kind of hectic. The fraternity was nice though because there were common areas you could go hang out in.
Senior: I’m living in a house off-campus with six other guys.
Can you describe the level of safety you’ve experienced on and around campus?
I’m not really a person who is concerned about safety. Maybe it’s naïve to say that, but I haven’t felt unsafe. Maryland promotes safety by giving tips, having the Blue Light System, they offer escorts and you can sign up for phone alerts.
What is your favorite off-campus restaurant?
I like Marathon Deli or Nando’s Peri-Peri. Marathon is kind of an authentic Maryland place because it’s been there for a long time. There are a lot of options near campus on Route 1.
What is your favorite place to get away from campus?
I spend a lot of my time on campus and the surrounding area. I enjoy going to Great Falls to go hiking. It’s a little bit of a drive, but it’s a really nice place.
Pros and Cons of being in College Park, MD?
Pros: (1) It’s really close to D.C. I’m a big DC sports fan. We have a metro station that’s within walking distance from campus, so that’s really nice. [The overall crime rate is 35% higher than the national average.]
(2) The way it’s being built up right now. It’s gaining a more positive reputation, both the school itself and the area around the college.
Cons: (1) It isn’t that great right now. There is subsidized housing pretty close to off campus for people who were in jail. Some people feel unsafe but I don’t have that problem myself.
(2) There seems to be a bit of a clash between the college students and residents. When people are in college they want to have the best experience, so it’s tough to remember that there are many people that still live here.
What kind of weekend activities or nightlife do you like to participate in?
I’m really big into the sports scene here, so pretty much any time there’s an opportunity, especially for basketball and football, I’ll go to those games. Outside of that, there’s a decent bar scene and my fraternity has a lot of events that contribute to the nightlife I partake in.
What have been some of your favorite times at Maryland?
When there’s a big sporting event because Maryland has a lot of camaraderie and a big school atmosphere, especially with the sports. So, if we have a big game or there’s a big win you can feel that energy throughout campus, especially if that carries on into the night. That energy is infectious and makes those nights a lot more special.
What is the impact of Greek life on nightlife?
I think it splits it a little bit. As far as Greek life goes, I wouldn’t say it’s secluded, but there’s a little bit of a divide between Greek life and other campus students. I’d say Greek life makes up about one half or one third of the people who go out on a regular basis. But, I wouldn’t say it impacts people that aren’t in Greek life because there are still plenty of opportunities outside of that to go out and have a good time. [About 17% of students are involved in Greek life.]
How happy were you with the nightlife at Maryland? If you could change anything, what would you change?
There aren’t that many opportunities. There are three bars around campus that are a viable option. One of them I really enjoy, one is okay, and I really hate the other one, so I think if there were more options to pick different places that would be a little nicer.
How did you meet your closest friends?
I am from Montgomery County, so I came into college with some of my closest friends from that, and I still talk to a lot of them. A couple of them are in my fraternity. I would say the fraternity had an impact in bringing me closer to a lot of the people that are some of my closest friends now. For instance, the six guys I’m living with in my house are all in my fraternity and have been with me since freshman year. I still have a connection with the guys and girls that I met freshman year and had a strong connection to even though they’re not in Greek life.
How would you describe the overall social scene?
It’s pretty fun. There are a lot of people on this campus that want to meet new people and get a better experience. There are a ton of opportunities and so many things to do on campus through sports, the bowling alley, or going out or hanging out with friends you’re never going to be bored. It’s not some crazy party school, but you’ll always have an opportunity to have a good time.
To what extent do you think people of different races and sexual orientations mix socially?
I came from a pretty diverse background, so I’ve always been able to mingle with other groups. On campus, I don’t see that being a problem with people butting heads or anything like that. There have been problems with race in the past, but it’s not like there’s some sort of heavy tension. I think Maryland has done a good job of trying to keep the campus open and foster relationships between different groups, but when you have [about 30,000] students there’s always the possibility for some sort of issue to arise.
Has the alumni network helped you find internships or jobs?
Yeah, I actually have found a few jobs through alumni as well as working on campus. It’s also been helpful with networking and working on the future. I feel that I’ve set myself up well by talking and fostering relationships with people who work in different school districts.
Advice for Prospective Freshmen
What is something you wish you knew about Maryland before entering as a freshman?
I guess how hard it was going to be because there have been some classes that have [been really hard]. There have been times when it’s been a shock because I have not put in the effort where it’s needed and then the grades have shown it.
What is something a prospective student may have missed on a visit that is worth checking out?
The surrounding area. That’s something you don’t think about on a visit. Hyattsville can be nice, but then you also have Greenbelt which is not as nice. Then also understanding how many buildings there are. On a visit you see the size, but don’t really understand all the opportunities Maryland offers.
Reasons to attend Maryland:
1) The opportunities that Maryland offers
2) The professors are very talented and have great resumes to back it up.
3) It’s very challenging but that will prepare you well for the future.
Reasons to not attend Maryland:
1) The area is not the best area.
2) The size can be off-putting to some people because there will be days where you see completely new faces.