University of Georgia
BackgroundInterview Date:July 2018
Gender Identity: Female
Graduation Year: 2019
Sexual Orientation: Straight
High School Experience: Public school in Northern Georgia with a graduating class of about 750 students. There was a culture of going to college. Most people were in AP classes and the college focus was mainly around the University of Georgia or Georgia Institute of Technology.
First Generation College Student: No
Extracurricular Activities: I work for the student-run advertising and PR agency for UGA called Talking Dog and I have been doing analytics for my school as well.
Have any of your extracurricular activities had a particularly big impact on your experience?
The student-run agency has shaped my experience. Most of my friends come from there and it has opened opportunities for my future. I received my internship during the summer through Talking Dog. It is also a cultural thing for everyone in my major, we are able to bond over advertising and it is a school version of Greek life.
Can you describe your weekly coursework for your major?
We work mainly on case studies and creating campaigns for ourselves, hypothetical clients, or real clients. Last May, the graduating class worked for Sweetwater Brewing. Most of the time you’re given a marketing problem and, depending on the class that you’re taking, you might be conducting research for it, building a strategy, or you’re executing a campaign. It varies but mostly it is hands-on group work and project-oriented work. There are very little tests and exams once you start getting into the major, which is fantastic.
Is there anything that you feel your major’s department does especially well or especially poorly?
The atmosphere is really good. It is a connected community in the Advertising major and in Public Relations as well. It is driven by the Talking Dog Agency that I’m a part of. You get to know your peers well and they become your close friends. Sometimes it can be a bit unstructured. Since it is group-project oriented, it can get hectic since each group varies immensely. If you’re somebody who really likes structure, it might be a bit of a change for you.
Can you describe the learning environment? Do you think it’s particularly competitive or collaborative?
It is a mix of both. It’s collaborative because you’re doing group projects for the majority of the time, but competitive because the field itself is inherently competitive. For example, it’s natural to want to have a better idea than the next student. This can feed into the group settings, but it doesn’t feel that way in classes. You’re not competing against your teammate for a client pitch. We are all trying to get a good grade, but sometimes, you can feel the competitive undertone.
What has been your favorite class in your major or minor?
My favorite class is Media Planning. The class syllabus involves creating strategy and media plans for a campaign we later execute. Depending on the message to the target audience, each student decides where to place the message and how much money to spend in each space. The work involved statistics and math, which is not my thing, but it was nice in context to be able to find a new way to be creative with strict budgets.
What has been your least favorite class in your major or minor?
My least favorite class was Advertising Research. It tends to be dry and the focus groups were weird for me.
What made you choose your major? Are you happy with your choice?
My mom was in advertising. She was a copywriter and she was the one who led me to believe this might be something I’d be interested in. I was unsure when I started but after taking a few classes, I loved it. It is the best major I could have chosen, it plays into all of my attributes. I like thinking about things strategically and I love the people and the professors. I’m excited every day that I get to go to class or to my nerdy-Greek-life-agency-thing. It’s a great fit.
On and Around Campus
Where have you lived on and around campus?
Freshman: I was in Creswell Hall, which is one of the freshman high-rise dorms. I had one roommate and that was great because the dorms were small. That was a nice place because you’re on campus and you’re walking distance to all the food places.
Sophomore: I moved off campus and I was looking for somewhere I could save money. That wasn’t the best idea because I stayed in a not fantastic apartment complex called the Redlands. I think it was built in 1960. I saved a lot of money, but it was gross, expensive to take Ubers downtown, and it is a long drive to campus.
Junior year: I moved into a house off Milledge, which is in the Station neighborhood. It is a full-sized house. If you want to hang out with your roommates, there’s a big living room, but you can also be far from them if you like. It’s a bit away from campus but not too bad. If I needed to get to campus, I could quickly, but it’s far enough from downtown so I could enjoy a quiet night and didn’t hear cars and other music that you may hear on a Friday night downtown.
Senior year: I will live in the same house
What is your favorite off-campus restaurant?
My favorite restaurant is The Place. It is a good restaurant downtown, they have the best chicken and waffles and their chicken sandwich is amazing.
What is your favorite place to get away from campus?
That is the Botanical Gardens. They are free to visit and have free Wi-Fi, which is great if you need to go get some homework done. It’s a pretty area and not too far away and not many people go there. It’s usually empty, but it’s beautiful and has a nice inside area to get sandwiches and coffee. You can sit up in the little trees in the inside area or you can go walk around the gardens.
Can you describe the level of safety you’ve experienced on and around campus?
I have never felt unsafe on campus. It is a very safe area and the on-campus police are roaming around all the time and most of the time you are around peers. I don’t walk around by myself too much, but it is a really safe campus.
Pros and cons of being located in Athens, Georgia?
1) Everything is cheap. Housing, food, nightlife, it is all affordable.
2) The food is fantastic in Athens Georgia. It isn’t big on chain restaurants and we have a lot of independent areas. They are competing with each other and they’re all delicious.
3) There are breweries everywhere, which are nice and delicious. It makes me sound like a fancy person for knowing beers even though in reality I don’t.
1) That everything is cheap because if you visit other places you will be shocked by the prices of housing and drinks downtown. You have a false sense of safety here and have to realize you are in a bubble.
2) It is far away from Atlanta or other cities. If you’re somebody who wants to be in the city it is a bit of a drive and there’s not much to do outside of downtown Athens. It can be boring.
What kind of weekend activities or nightlife do you like to participate in?
I go out with my friend group Friday and Saturday and sometimes on a Thursday. We look for deals if we go out, especially when our bank accounts start to dwindle. Thursday nights, there are the one dollar well drinks and we will try to have a more laid back late night. Friday nights, we go to the places where we can dance. Saturday and Sundays, we go to the breweries in Athens.
What are some of your favorite places?
My favorite place is The Boar’s Head in Athens. It has more a laid-back vibe. They have live music and also on popular nights, there is a man who sells amazing hot dogs. In terms of dancing, Hedges on Broad is fantastic. Sometimes they drop foam on you and that’s always exciting.
What is the impact of Greek life on nightlife?
It’s not that much of an impact. You feel it more when you’re a freshman to more of an extent when compared to as a sophomore. The people around you are really involved in it. Especially when you’re in the dorms, you’ll notice that most of the people are going out on Thursdays and they’re going to socials and you can’t feel left out. After you move out of the dorms and once you get past your sophomore year, it has little to no effect. I don’t notice if a person is in Greek life or not. It doesn’t have an impact unless somebody invites you to his formal and you’re able to attend. [About 26% of undergraduates participate in Greek life.]
How happy are you with the weekend options at UGA? Is there anything you would change if you could?
I would not change anything. I love UGA so much because you work hard in class and with your extracurriculars, but you work just as hard when you’re playing and it is so nice. That was one of the reasons for me when I came here. My older brother attended this school too and he was able to tell me about his good time at UGA and he was absolutely right.
How did you meet your closest friends?
I met my friends through each other. My freshman year roommate played volleyball with me when we were in high school. We moved in together to our dorm and we met friends through each other. When I was moving into the house where I live now, I reached out to another friend from high school and she needed another roommate. I met another best friend through that and we made one massive friend group all through each other. Other friends come from the Talking Dog Agency that I keep bringing up.
How would you describe the overall social scene at Georgia?
It is easy to make friends here. Everyone is nice and they all want to talk to you. So, it’s not too hard to make friends and it’s an open atmosphere. When I was a freshman and sophomore, I felt a little bit distant from things because I wasn’t in Greek life, but that isn’t the case. As you spend more time at the school you realize that regardless of whether you’re in Greek life or not, you’re going to have friends and some of your friends are in Greek life and some not. It doesn’t matter one way or the other. [About 31% of undergraduate females participate in Greek life.]
How would you describe the student body?
There are variations depending on what group you find yourself in. My friends and I, we are the type who work really hard at school and participate in extracurriculars. We’re always trying to find what kind of internships we can get, but at the same time, we’re making plans for Friday and Saturday night. That is a general consensus on campus, that the student body works hard at school, but it blends with having fun and partying.
To what extent do you feel people of different races and sexual orientation mix socially?
It is starting to get better, but it is a predominant issue. If you are going downtown, there are a few bars that can have dress code rules so they can keep certain people of color out of the bars. It is sad that it still happens. Things are starting to get better, but it still has a long way to go.
Do you think people are generally happy with their choice of Georgia? Do you think people love Georgia after they graduate?
Absolutely. If you’re driving around the state of Georgia you see many cars with UGA stickers. This school becomes your family and it’s a kind of a tying bond between anyone who went to UGA, like in the workplace or when you’re going out. If you meet somebody who also went to UGA, you have a connection with him or her. It’s something that stays with you forever.
Has the alumni network helps you find internships or jobs?
I know that it happens but I found my internships and jobs either through professors at UGA or from extracurriculars. It’s a lot of networking in our major. You go events and you tell people you went to UGA. They love hiring people out of Grady, the advertising school at UGA. When you leave the school, it becomes your family and the family gets you hired, which is fantastic.
To what extent have you used the career office? How helpful have they been?
I’ve never once used the career office, but a lot of the students go there to have their resumes critiqued, or to see if they can find a job offer that lines up with their interests. I know they do a great job, but it isn’t something that I have never used.
Did you learn any computer programs that will be especially helpful for you professionally or for your course work?
We have only used the basic programs, like Microsoft Word. You can learn more specific programs depending on what your major is. If you’re going into the more creative side of advertising, you’ll get graphic design classes where they teach you Adobe Photoshop and you’ll get InDesign. If you’re going on an analytic path they can teach you the software for that. It does vary depending on what your interests are, but they teach you the necessary stuff that you see which is fantastic.
Advice for Prospective Freshmen
What is something you wish you knew before entering UGA as a freshman?
You’re going to have an amazing time no matter what, but it’s exactly what you make it out to be. You’re going to have a fantastic time if you are open-minded and try to find people who are similar to you, try to learn everything you can, and be as involved as you can. You don’t need Greek life for that. Many of my friends in Greek life have made fantastic friends through that, but you can make friends without it as well and those connections are going to be as strong.
I would also say it’s alright to have no idea what it is that you want to do. If you come to school and you change your major a couple of times, it is fine. Generally, no one knows what they’re doing, you figure it out as you go and it ends up alright no matter what
What is something a prospective student may miss on a visit that’s worth checking out?
Everyone is going to see North Campus on a visit because it is fantastic. The things that you might miss are the food options, so make sure that you’re exploring that because it can sway you. The chicken tenders are amazing no matter where you go.
Reasons to attend Georgia:
1) UGA has fantastic programs that are nationally ranked, especially if you are going into communications like advertising and public relations. It is going to be easy to find a job and you are going to learn a lot.
2) You are going to meet your best friends here. People who are similar to you, but also different in the best possible ways.
Reasons to not attend Georgia:
1) If you don’t love football, because you are going to feel left out on Saturday in the fall. But the football games are fantastic even if you think you are not a football person.