University of Oregon
BackgroundInterview Date:November 2019
Gender Identity: Female
Sexual Orientation: Heterosexual
Graduation Year: 2022
High School Experience: Public high school in Kalamazoo, Michigan with a graduating class of about 200 students. There was a culture of going to college.
First-Generation College Student: No
Extracurricular Activities: I’m part of the Cru Student Ministry, and I’m involved in research.
Have any of your extracurricular activities had a particularly big impact on your experience?
I made the majority of my friends in the student ministry group. I’m involved in it pretty heavily throughout the week. We have different events throughout the week. On Wednesdays, we have a church service and smaller groups that we’ll go over lessons with. We’re all such good friends that we just hang out all the time and do spontaneous stuff together too.
Can you describe your weekly coursework for your major?
For science courses, I typically have two midterms and a final. For Chemistry classes, the workload was super heavy. I had two different websites with problem sets basically every day of the week except for one. I also had labs for Chemistry, Physics, and Biology classes. It’s toned down a little bit since Chemistry, which was very difficult. For the labs, we have pre-lab work and post-lab work.
Is there anything you feel your major’s department does especially well or poorly?
My TAs and teachers for Biology have been amazing. I didn’t have a super good experience with the Chemistry TAs. The Biology TAs were super accessible, helpful in class, and just kind. But with the Chemistry TAs, I’ve had people be condescending, so to have someone that’s understanding and willing to help you is nice.
How would you describe the learning environment? Do you think it’s particularly competitive or collaborative?
The classes themselves are pretty competitive, especially in the first sequence. They’re trying to weed people out and see who really wants to stick with the major. When we have labs together, people are willing to work with you and learn together or start a study group. Most of my classes aren’t graded on a curve.
How accessible are your professors?
Pretty accessible. I’ve never had a problem reaching out to a professor to ask a question. I work pretty often so sometimes it’s hard to hit their office hours, but the TAs have a lot of office hours available. Some of my professors have said if we can’t meet the office hours they can meet us at another time. I like going to the professor first, but some professors would rather you go to the TA first.
Why did you pick your major? Are you happy with your choice?
I fell in love with biology in high school. I originally studied Marine Biology, which is why I made the trek across the country. I felt like Marine Biology was a little too narrow for me, and there were so many cool classes that were offered for biology and I felt I wouldn’t be able to take those classes if I was stuck in Marine Biology. I ended up switching to Biology. The classes are really hard which makes it tough sometimes, but I really love it and it’s intriguing.
How easy was it getting involved in research?
It was way easier than I expected. I was part of a Biology major mailing list, and they mentioned there was a position open. I emailed the advisors and they said I was welcome to join them. There was no interview.
On and Around Campus
Where have you lived on and around campus?
Freshman: Bean Hall with one roommate
Sophomore: 2125 Franklin Apartments with three roommates
How was transitioning from Kalamazoo, Michigan to Eugene, OR in terms of location?
It’s surprisingly pretty similar. The landscape and how Oregon looks is similar so it felt pretty homey to me. I think living on campus for the first year was really good. I like that they have that requirement in place because I wouldn’t have known where to live. I chose where to live for this year pretty early on because I was afraid I wouldn’t find housing.
Can you describe the level of safety you’ve experienced on and around campus?
I am really impressed with the safety on campus. One of the scarier things about Eugene is the homeless population. I feel like the campus is in a bubble because I rarely see the homeless people on campus. If you go off campus to West Eugene it can be scary, but if you’re with someone, you’re typically safe. [See NBC16.com article, “‘We have a significant problem’: Eugene leads US for homeless per capita.”]
Pros and cons of being located in Eugene, OR?
1) Being close to so many things outdoors. I love doing anything outdoors. You can drive an hour in any direction and find something cool. You also have the city feel of Eugene, so you’re not in the middle of nowhere.
1) As a woman, it’s kind of scary walking in Eugene by yourself, which is frustrating.
What kind of weekend activities or nightlife do you like to participate in?
A lot of outdoor recreation. This past weekend I went white water rafting. I do a lot of waterfall hikes on the weekends. There’s the market on Saturday, and I like exploring Eugene to see what Oregon has to offer is my favorite thing to do. I like going to the football games. We love the sports atmosphere. Also, sometimes we just crash and have movie nights in.
What have been some of your favorite times at the University of Oregon so far?
I have so much fun at the football games. I’m a huge sports person, so being able to go and experience it is crazy fun. I really enjoy walking around campus during the fall. The colors are so beautiful.
How happy are you with the weekend options? Is there anything you would change if you could?
I think there’s a lot to do around here. The one thing that’s difficult for me is not having a car. If I want to go do stuff, I can’t do it alone because I need to go with someone who has a car.
How did you meet your closest friends?
Through the student ministry on campus. I joined in October last year and we’re a really tight-knit community that spends a lot of time together. I have a couple of friends through mutual friends from Cru and the classes.
How would you describe the overall social scene at Oregon?
There’s a lot of ways to get involved, whether it’s Greek life, the outdoors program, or research. All of that is pretty social and there’s something for everyone here. Something that’s pretty cool is I’m not part of Greek life and I don’t feel like I have to be part of it to have a social life.
To what extent do you think people of different races and sexual orientations mix socially?
I don’t feel like it’s a huge factor. Back home everything was pretty culturally separated, but here I feel like everyone is proud of their own culture and is able to socialize and have a good time without worrying about the issues that go on between different races or sexual orientations. [The undergraduate population is 6% Black, 14% Asian, 15% Hispanic, 3% Native American, and 60% White.]
How would you describe the Christian community on campus? How strong is it?
The University of Oregon is pretty spiritually dead. I know a lot of the students aren’t religious, but the few ministries there are on campus are super strong, have tight-knit communities, and care about all the students on campus, not just those in the ministry.
To what extent do people in Greek life and not in Greek life mix socially?
It’s not as diverse as people would think. People mix pretty well. Even though I’m not in Greek life, I could still go to a party and have a good time without being asked what sorority I’m in.
How do you like the size of Oregon in terms of undergraduate enrollment? How was transitioning to a school with [about 19,000] undergraduate students?
When I was looking at schools I was a little nervous about the University of Oregon because it’s a big school. I didn’t want something massive, but I didn’t want something small either. For the number of students we have, I felt like it’s a very personal campus. I can’t go anywhere without seeing someone I know. Some of my class sizes have been 250 students, but I have had teachers willing to personally help you and answer questions during and after class. It’s a big campus but doesn’t have a huge campus feel.
How was transitioning socially as an out of state student?
I expected it to be pretty difficult, and for a couple of weeks it was. I think if you can make it through those first four weeks you’ll be okay. There are so many people looking for friends, you’re not the only person that doesn’t have them. It takes some people longer than others. It’s not difficult as long when you’re actively looking to be a part of something.
What have you used the career office for? How helpful have they been?
I use Excel quite a bit in my chemistry class last year.
Have you used financial aid? If so, accommodating was the office to your needs?
I’ve never had an issue with them. I reached out over email during the summer and they responded to all my questions clearly.
Advice for Prospective Freshmen
What is something you wish you knew about Oregon before entering as a freshman?
I wish I knew more about how the meal plans work and how to do my laundry. A lot of that made me very anxious and I thought it would be discussed during orientation. It’s also good to learn by diving into it once you get to campus.
What is something a prospective out of state student may want to know?
Moving all my stuff was a pretty big process, so keep that in mind and know where you’re going to keep it over the summer. I had to keep my stuff in a storage unit because I couldn’t fly it home. I brought all my clothes out to school then bought most of the stuff I needed.
What is something a prospective student may miss on a visit that’s worth checking out?
They didn’t go see the football stadium, which is pretty cool. I was super scared to go into the dining halls to see what they had. They’re open but I think they only show you one dining hall on the tour. I recommend taking a look at the dining hall so you’ll feel comfortable going into them when you come to school.
Reasons to attend Oregon:
1) The quality of professors and programs are amazing. I haven’t had a bad professor yet.
2) The sports atmosphere is awesome.
3) Eugene is such a cool city, and everything in Oregon is cool. There is so much to do and see.
4) There are so many clubs and things offered on the weekends.
Reasons to not attend Oregon:
1) Out of state tuition is expensive. [Total costs for the 2019-2020 academic year for an out-of-state student is about $49,015.]