This is my first year here, as a sustainable living/ art double major. I went to a prestigious art school before I came here and was extremely disappointed with the general mind frame of my fellow students and teachers. It became clear that while I was surrounded by decent human beings, nobody was aiming for anything outside of mediocrity. Practically nobody was challenging their belief systems or questioning the status quo, which I would have never expected from a body of people who consider themselves artists. Rather than challenging themselves in a real way, people clung to superficial things that made them feel alternative/introspective/whatever. Think purple hair and tight pants. There was tons of pretension and competition for status. The overall experience was shallow and boring. I wanted something real.
I visited MUM over the summer and knew this was where I wanted to be. People here are all practicing "self referral", they're turning inward to determine what they value rather than desperately seeking it outside themselves. Overall, my experience has been excellent. In my opinion, the sustainable living program is the best, most developed program of study here. The teachers are incredibly passionate and down to earth. Everyone here gets along because we already have something huge in common- the desire to make the world and our personal lives BETTER. It's hard to humor petty drama with such big ideas floating around daily. We work in synergy. Frankly, there is no other place like this...Fairfield is a bubble for people to take refuge from a world that has largely gone mad and forgotten what matters. You can come here to listen to your inner voice, when it becomes increasingly more difficult to do so in the busy world.
Meditation helps immensely in information integration (some of the month long courses are pretty intense and require a lot of focus), with social interactions, and organization among other things.
The thing people get scared about is the "cultish" vibe due to the focus on maharishi's words and on vedic science. However, the ultimate aim of the university is to direct the student inward. It's talked about in class again and again. I can't imagine what would be more innocent. It would be quite difficult to indoctrinate people with some crazy ideas while also strongly encouraging them to look within for the ultimate truth and to discern on your own instead of letting others do it for you.
So if these are things you're interested, this is the only place for you to be. There are some concerns that people have- the gym doesn't have many ellipticals/treadmills because they encourage exercise thats less mechanical,the dorms are not co-ed, there is no philosophy department (everything is taught within the frame work of ayurveda and eastern principles), math is not a huge focus, some people get sick of the all vegetarian food, the town in small, there's little scholarship available because it is a young school without a huge trust fund, some people find the transcendental meditation classes redundant...that's all I can think of right now. In all honesty though, for me, none of this matters. This is the only school experience I've ever had where I actually feel like I'm learning something of value.
So, weigh everything out, and you make up your mind. Think about this: would you rather go to a standard university where you would stay up until 2am every night cramming, stressing out, eating poorly and not have a single moment to think about what the hell you care about? If you're a free-thinking human being with a positive outlook and your sanity in tact, and you have your mind set on attending an accredited university, this is the only place worth going to. Yes, there are some kinks to be resolved here, but I can assure you that in the scheme of things, that's all pretty trivial. Anyway, check it out for yourself. I applied for a travel scholarship for the visitors weekend with my boyfriend, they gave us $600 ($300 each) just to visit (after I gave them my receipts from a rented car and gas expenses). Make up your own mind. That's what everyone here wants you to do.