University of Georgia
BackgroundInterview Date:July 2018
Gender Identity: Male
Graduation Year: 2021
Sexual Orientation: Straight
High School Experience: Public school in Dalton, Georgia with a graduating class of about 500 students. Less than 30% left the town to go to college. Most people went to the local community college.
First Generation College Student: Yes
Majors: International Affairs and History
Minor: Latin American and Caribbean Studies
Extracurricular Activities: I volunteer at Oasis, a tutoring and mentor program for kids in elementary school. I’m on the executive board for the Hispanic Student Association. A Dawg Camp counselor who helps freshman adjust to UGA, and I’m an IMPACT site leader that leads alternative spring break service trips.
Have any of your extracurricular activities had a particularly big impact on your experience?
Definitely Dawg Camp. In orientation, there are so many students that the culture feels brushed over, but I’ve met a lot of people through that. Going through it helped me not only understand what the UGA culture was, but helped me get acclimated as well. I’ve met a lot of my student mentors through this program as well.
Can you describe your weekly coursework for your major?
Being a humanities major there is a lot of reading. For some classes, we’ll have short readings, but others we will have 50 pages to read by the next class.
What are your major graded assignments?
Sometimes you’ll have classes with only two grades, a mid-term and the final. As long as you do the readings, you’ll be fine. It’s manageable, but you have to keep up and hold yourself accountable.
Is there anything that you feel your majors’ departments do especially well or poorly?
International Affairs and History dives deep into specifics on different subjects, and they try to remain unbiased. Sometimes they feel pretty westernized, and it focuses solely on American or European history and fails to focus on Latin America, Asia, or African history.
How would you describe the learning environment? Do you think it’s particularly competitive or collaborative?
Because some classes can be harder, there are a lot of people who collaborate together. Everyone tries to help each other out, and I don’t think there is a heightened sense of competitiveness.
Do you feel that people are open to multiple schools of thought in the classroom?
I think professors try to make an environment where various schools of thought are welcome to be heard, but some students can provide rebuttals. Sometimes arguments will happen, but most of the time people are open to talking about different opinions of a topic.
How accessible were your professors?
They are fairly accessible. They make their office hours well known at the beginning. A lot of my professors will say that if we want just to come in and introduce ourselves, we are welcome to. They want to get to know the students.
How was transitioning academically as a first-generation college student? Are there systems in place that help you transition?
I didn’t find out until my sophomore year, but there is a program called TRIO that helps first-generation students. They host study sessions, help us work on time management, and other information sessions. The problem is it’s not very well-known. I struggled my first year because I had to manage my time on my own, and the workload was difficult. If I didn’t understand something I had to make the first move in getting help, opposed to the teacher asking if we understood the material.
Why did you choose your major? And are you happy with your choice?
A lot of current events piqued my interest in international affairs, and I’ve always had a yearning to learn more about history since middle school. I’m not sure what I want to do after college, but I know I love what I’m learning and how they work together.
On and Around Campus
Where have you lived on campus?
Freshman: University Village with two roommates
Sophomore: Riverbend Club apartments with three roommates
How was transitioning from Dalton to Athens, Georgia?
Athens is definitely bigger. Because I didn’t have a car, public transportation was something I had to get used to.
Can you describe the level of safety you’ve experienced on campus?
As a male, I have felt pretty safe because of that in itself. The lighting in the university village is not the best, so sometimes it’s completely dark walking through there at night. I think it’s pretty safe from my experience.
Pros and cons of being located in Athens, GA?
1) There are lots of local businesses. They help make Athens unique.
2) Athens has a community sense. For example, you can say “Go dawgs” to anyone, and they will respond with “Go dawgs.”
1) It’s a poverty-stricken area. Once you step out of the UGA area, you can see more of this. [The poverty rate of Athens is 25.9% and the median income is $40,955.]
2) I wish it were more accessible in terms of public transportation.
What kind of nightlife or weekend activities do you like to participate in?
There are a lot of University Union events that you can go to. They have different movies every weekend, and sometimes hypnotists come. The bar scene in Athens also does very well, and I like to do a mix of both. Some weekends I’ll go to a friend’s party, but I tend to not go to the bigger ones.
What nights of the week do you regularly do things?
Definitely on Thursday or Friday.
What are some of your favorite nights that the University Union hosts?
I like the free movies every weekend, and sometimes they will even have movie prescreenings.
How happy are you with the weekend options at Georgia? Is there anything you would change if you could?
I’m pretty happy with it. If there were anything I’d change, [I’d address the amount] of trash in the downtown areas in the mornings over the weekend. I also think there is an issue of racial profiling. People of color tend to be turned down [from bars] more often than the White students.
How did you meet your closest friends?
I met them through Dawg Camp. You have to be willing to be vulnerable because you dive pretty deep and pretty fast with those in your group. I’m in the Hispanic Student Association which let me form a group of people who share this minority identity.
How would you describe the overall social scene at Georgia?
There are a lot of things that one can do to be social. If you want to go out to the bars you can, there are University Union events, and lots of student organizations to get involved in. There is so much to do, but it’s hard to take that first step.
To what extent do you feel people of different races and sexual orientation mix socially?
One of the biggest organizations is Greek life. They tend to have people who are like one another, being White and Straight. I think because there are so many students who do that, it prevents people of color and different sexual orientations from mixing. There is intermingling, but sometimes it’s hard. Those who don’t identify with this trend tend to group together as well. [The student population is roughly 70% White, 8% Black, 6% Hispanic, and 10% Asian.]
How strong is the Hispanic community on campus?
It’s 6% of the population, which is not representative of the state. Although the Hispanic population is small, we form a community through the Hispanic Association and other programs. [9% of the population of Georgia is Hispanic.]
How has the size of your Georgia in terms of undergraduate enrollment?
I like the fact that there are a lot of students because there is always someone to meet. [The undergraduate population is about 29,000.]
Has the alumni network helped you find internships or jobs?
No, I don’t have a connection to the alumni network.
To what extent have you used the career office? How helpful have they been?
I went one time to ask about opportunities. They are helpful, but they tend to be more useful for business majors.
Have you used financial aid? If so, accommodating was the office to your needs? Were they responsive to your questions?
I use financial aid, and they are pretty helpful. It usually takes about 10 minutes to talk with someone if I need help. I had a question about my hours for the HOPE Scholarship, and overall, they are pretty helpful.
Advice for Prospective Freshmen
What is something you wish you knew before about Georgia before you entered as a freshman?
As a first-generation student, I wish they would’ve explained what college is. I didn’t know what it would consist of academically, what the career or major options were, how to manage my time, and how to navigating financial aid.
What is something a perspective Hispanic student should know that has not been mentioned?
It’s important to know they are making strides toward helping the lack of diversity. A prospective student should know there is a large community here to support each other.
What is something a prospective student may miss on a visit that’s worth checking out?
I would check out the Ramsey Center. It’s the gym and you can go in at any time. There is a pool, along with so much equipment and lots of exercise rooms.
Reasons to attend Georgia:
1) There is the HOPE Scholarship if you live in Georgia.
2) The cost of the dorms here is cheaper. [In Fall 2018, total costs for in-state students was $26,688.]
3) There are so many connections you can make here.
4) There is always something to do, and you’ll feel welcome here.
5) Because Georgia is so big on the football experience, there is a unified sense of who we are as Dawgs.
Reasons to not attend Georgia:
1) Don’t come to Georgia if you’re only looking to socialize and go out every night. A lot of people know Georgia as a party school and end up getting behind in their academics.