An Interview On
University of Vermont

Background

Interview Date:July 2018

Gender Identity: Female
Race/Ethnicity: White
Graduation Year: 2021
Sexual Orientation: Straight
High School Experience: Public School in Harwich, Massachusetts with graduating class of about 100 students. It was a small regional school between Harwich and Chatham. There was a culture of going to college. Most students went to college after high school but a few went to the local community college in Hyannis Port. Many students did that because college was so expensive and their families couldn’t pay for it and they would go after to college.
First Generation College Student: No
Major: Animal Science with a Pre-Vet focus
Minor: None
Extracurricular Activities: I’m in Pre-Vet club, to help with getting used to what goes into applying for Vet-school, and Ski and Snowboard Club.

Academic Experience

Can you describe your weekly coursework for your major?
For freshman year, it was actually good schoolwork for getting used to [a college workload]. I had Chemistry, Biology, a lot of general education classes and, on top of that, Animal Science courses. The majority of the Animal Science classes did have labs, which are an extra three-hour of class on top of the lectures. It was significantly more time and different compared to high school.

What are your major graded assignments?
My freshman year, I struggled with General Chemistry because it was a big lecture and we had exams from 7:30 till 10:30 at night on Tuesdays. It was difficult having a full course load that day and to wait until 7:30 after learning a bunch of new materials and take an exam where you had to study hard. The labs are easy for my Animal Science courses and most of the labs were hands on. There were also projects, but other than chemistry most of the courses were really nice and hands-on oriented. Exams weren’t that difficult as long as you studied the material.

How would you describe the learning environment? Do you think it’s particularly competitive or collaborative?
It depends on the course. Some courses seem to be more competitive than others, especially when it comes to large classes because it’s hard to be in groups to do work together and have a team atmosphere. You’re an individual in the middle of a 200-person lecture hall, so it’s hard to be involved with anyone else. In smaller classes, especially my Animal Science courses, when you get more into courses of your major they are more collaborative. You get to work in groups and you get to figure out who else is in your major and learn the other personality types, as well as what others are doing.

How accessible have your professors been?
Most of them have been good. Particularly my advisor has been good at keeping in touch with me, making appointments, working on my schedule, to help me with the questions I have about vet-school and problems that are going on. When I was struggling with Chemistry, I had to drop it and she was very accessible and helpful. Another professor was not that accessible and wasn’t helping to figure out what to do about dropping a class. The relationship I have with my advisor is better than [my relationship] with the professors.

Why did you pick your major? Are you happy with your choice?
Through high school I kept changing my mind what I wanted to do. I became interested in being a vet while I was back home working with animals, working on farms, and being around people who worked on horses or who are vets. Initially, I thought I would study something more general, like Biology. When I found UVM, I decided to apply for the Animal Science program and I got into it. I really like it because many schools give you a full course load of general education courses before you get it in an Animal Science course. You start with ASCI 001: Introductory Animal Sciences, a course which allows Pre-Vet students to learn general animal science and get an overview of other aspects. It also lets you know if you don’t want to do Pre-Vet. It gives students an opportunity to consider other focuses, instead of being a general animal science major.

On and Around Campus

Where have you lived on campus?
Freshman: I lived in Mercy Hall on the Trinity Campus. I was in a triple, so I had two other roommates. It was pretty far from everyone else and set off campus. It was not the best dorm, and if you wanted to get anywhere on campus in the winter you needed to take the bus because it was too cold to walk to campus. There was another dorm called McCauly on that campus and that was where our dining hall was. We didn’t have one in our dorm. There is also the Back 5, which are 5 smaller buildings with mostly suites and larger groups of people living in rooms. It was a bit strange because were annexed away from things. Redstone Campus is where everybody lives and where all the dorms are. It was weird to live there during freshman year.

Sophomore: I will live in Redstone Hall in a double.

Can you describe the level of safety you’ve experienced on and around campus?
I could walk home at night if I had a late class because it wasn’t scary. Burlington is a super safe place to be. We have never had anything extremely scary happen. You have to be careful, but as careful as you are anywhere else. As long as you focus on yourself, you’ll be fine. Like, if you’re out partying be self-conscious about how much you’re drinking and how you’re getting home. There are buses, Ubers that are not expensive, and, if you are with friends, walking back also an option.

What is your favorite off-campus restaurant?
Sweet Water on Church Street or Gaku Ramen.

What is your favorite place to get away from campus?
Going down to the waterfront to Lake Champlain. You can go for runs, hang out on the hill, or go North Beach. There is plenty to do around the lake, it is not too far, and you can walk down to the waterfront. In the winter, I love to go skiing and snowboarding in the mountains.

Pros and cons of being located in Burlington, Vermont?
Pros:
1) It is a nice little town where you can do a lot of things.
2) Everyone is very social and nice and wants to have a good time. There are never negative people around you.
3) It is close to the mountains for skiing and when the weather is nice there’s the lake. You can have a good time when it is warm and when it is cold.

Cons:
1) The snow, I’m not used to the snow they have in Burlington. Vermont does have blizzards, but you are going to school unless the professor cancels class. UVM doesn’t cancel classes.
2) It is far away from my parents.
3) I have a car, but it is hard to find good parking for your car at UVM, in Church Street and Downtown in Burlington. As a freshman, you are not allowed to bring your car to campus. It is hard to find a good solution for your car, especially during freshman year.

Social Opportunities

What kind of weekend activities or nightlife do you like to participate in?
If I have early morning classes during the week, I hang out with my friends in the dorm or go to a sports game. During the weekend, we go to the clubs around campus, to fraternity parties, or to friends’ houses downtown.

Can you describe a typical night out for you during freshman year?
Initially, we would hang out in dorms, take the bus downtown, and walk to wherever we were going and hang out. After the night, we head back and go to our dorms to hang out more. During freshman year, our nights out are primarily house parties of fraternity parties.

What is the impact of Greek life is on nightlife?
At UVM there are not many fraternities compared to the schools in the south, so Greek life isn’t that important. It’s prominent in that you will see sororities selling things and doing fundraisers, or during rush week people are trying to get you to come in and rush. But, you don’t have to be in a fraternity or sorority to be involved in the school. At UVM, there is more of a sense of community, especially in the dorms. Everyone seems to know each other, so fraternities and sororities aren’t that important. If they throw parties, obviously people are going to go to them. [About 8% of students are involved in Greek life.]

How happy are you with the nightlife at UVM? And is there anything you would change?
I am happy about it. My friend and I already knew some people who were older at UVM, so that made it for us easier to know about fraternity parties. UVM is a big school, but there are a limited amount of parties and some fraternity parties have lists. If you know people it is easy to get in, but if you don’t, especially for boys, it is harder to get in.

Campus Culture

How did you meet your closest friends?
One of my friends I grew up with and have known since I was 3. I met my roommate on Facebook when everyone was trying to find roommates to request. Everyone wanted to make sure they had something in common with their roommate and I found her and we had a lot in common. It is nice to be able to really pick out people that you seem to have things in common with and talk to them before you request them. During the first week of school, the doors were open in our dorm and people walked by we played music they come and had a short talk. We met a lot of people in the dorm and became friends with them.

How would you describe the overall social scene at UVM?
People at UVM are really nice. Almost everyone wants to have a good time and hang out. We will make plans with each other to relax on the grass, get a group to go to the mountain or the waterfront, and just have a good time.

To what extent do you feel people of different races and sexual orientation mix socially?
UVM is very accepting, everyone is different in their own way and the student body is generally respectful of individuality. There are obviously people who aren’t, but it does not fit because everyone around promotes uniqueness and individuality. No one gets left out for anything. There are also always groups for support.

There have been protests going on last year though about how UVM faculty and people who were running UVM how they’re not being overly inclusive and how there are not letting people in of different races in for some reason. At a higher-level people are seeing it’s not [as inclusive], but at a community level from the students’ perspective, we are very inclusive.

Financial Aid

Have you used financial aid? And how accommodating is the office been to your needs?
Yes, I’ve used financial aid. Last year, I had scholarships from back home but this year it is a bit more difficult. I did take out loans, but those build up quickly because UVM out of state is really expensive. The office has been accommodating with helping us make payment plans and applying for scholarships. It can be difficult because it’s only one office dealing with many students and everyone needs extra money, but there are ways to get money and they make it less stressful. They also give you plenty of time to figure out your payments. [Tuition for the 2019-2020 academic year for out of state students is about $40,000.]

Advice for Prospective Freshmen

What is something you wish you knew before you entered UVM as a freshman?
I didn’t know large lecture halls would be so difficult. It’s tough getting taught by one professor who is way down in front, so you can barely see [the professor] or the board, and can’t talk to people around you. It was a big shock from high school to see many classes taught by one person to that many students at one time.

What is something a prospective student may miss on a visit that’s worth checking out?
Go to Church Street to see how Burlington is. You get a good tour of the school and get to see all the buildings. They should walk past all of the dorms because you don’t get to see Trinity and Jeanne Mance close to Church Street, both are a bit off campus. You can end up in either of those as a freshman when you had no idea that they even exist. What really sealed the deal for me was checking out Downtown, because it is beautiful and is so close.

Is there anything that we haven’t touched on that a prospective Animal Science student should know?
Animal Science at UVM compared to other schools is more hands-on and puts students in labs right away, not just sitting in difficult classes, and weeds students out to make sure you are dedicated to Animal Science major. You get hands-on experience from the first week of school.

Reasons to attend UVM:
1) The community is really nice, people want to have a good time and try to include you as a friend, you always meet new people.
2) It’s big enough that you’ll always see people you know on campus, but you also meet new people every single day.
3) It’s a big school but it’s not too big in my opinion and there is enough to do.
4) If you like skiing and snowboarding definitely go to UVM. Everyone is going to the mountains in the winter.
5) There is Lake Champlain if you like the water. You can swim in the summer, go on boats or go to the beach.

Reasons to not attend UVM:
1) If you don’t like the cold and snow. You can be seen wearing a ski mask to class because of the wind, the snow, and the freezing cold.
2) If you like smaller schools, UVM might not be the right school, because UVM is big. It can be overwhelming for people who are not used to bigger schools.
3) It can be an intense course-load. You have to work hard at UVM to get your grades, but everyone is there to help. There are tutors to help you but if you don’t want to put any the effort to get good grades or to be at school then you don’t really want to go there either.

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