The University of Chicago
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The University of Chicago - Comments and Student Experiences |
my memory is poor from chronic encephalitis, but I'll go over my remaining impressions:
-- there was never enough time to study. we had to take busses back and forth from campus, and then back and forth for dinner. sometimes the buses didn't show up. sometimes there was no dinner. waiting for buses and then walking and then having nothing to eat at the end of it all meant that I lost a lot of sleep, also a lot of meals.
-- the workload was ridiculous. we all quit doing the required reading eventually. I quit showing up for lectures as it was such a waste of time, time I could have spent studying. having mastered the art of maximizing grades while minimizing effort, I applied this skill to all my subsequent universities, w/ the result that all my professors are now convinced I'm a lazy bum with no interest in the course material (they may be half right). in the attempt to instill a work ethic, uchicago killed mine.
-- I got a better education at community college. when severe neurological problems precluded any course of serious study, took up a math degree at my local cc. this was over 9000 times better as there wasn't anything else required of me outside showing up for exams three or four times a semester, and acing them. there, I realized the joys of "paul's math notes", also adequate instruction.
-- the students have a problem with eye contact, also with not being terrible people. I used to think everyone hated me, but then, when I left, my ex-roomie informed me that they all loved me. I would never have guessed from the way I could never get anyone to acknowledge my presence when we passed on the way to class. also cliqueyness endemic to teenagers, and people who attend "elite" schools.
-- some people actually attended high schools which taught you things, besides jesus. unfortunately, we are also expected to compete with them at a curve set at a B-. undoubtedly this was meant to make us harder workers, but rather the result was harder drugs.and yet I hear chicago calling my name again, probably because they offer proper financial aid. the question is, do I hate myself enough? I'm not sure that I do.
It does truly celebrate the life of the mind.
That being said, there are deep issues with how the university is set up, and I don't think that some students are given the respect or treated with the dignity they deserve. For students who have had traumatic experiences here, there is nowhere to turn to. It is common enough to leave college, lost, but at this school especially it is easy to sentimentalize what is truly a very expensive experience that is not really worth it.
Apart from some really dogged alumni who will defend to death the virtue of this pure university. Most people who arrive realize at some time, that there are a lot of disquieting things about this place. It's not very modern for one thing, and really needs to work on modernizing itself to meet contemporary needs. It seemed to me like a lot of students were fraudulently getting 'excited' about the core when it really was kind of a waste of time.
Also, I know that many people meet their life partners here but often it is because they are scared. They are scared for different reasons but are nevertheless scared. So yeah, if you want to get married in college, this is a great place statistically speaking. However, it is better to come here if you are not attractive as you'll find more people like yourself in this dismal place!!
It's better to stumble around here and get your degree, then try to impress people when they think that this is a state school and only academics care. Or worse. People won't like you because this is a prestigious institution.
Anyways, if you don't mind taking 4 years out of your life to indulge in the life of the mind the library is great. The school is very walkable. The neighborhood has its charms. The safety record is not that bad. You probably have more to fear from other students than 'some neighborhood robber who will hold you up at gunpoint.'
Assuming that nothing major happens, it's a good place to be if you like being around some of the smartest people in the world. Professors do take the time to talk to undergraduates. Many people are quite kind. Sometimes that can all be lost in a second, and you'll feel alone, but it's not a horrific place. Toe around with the administration, try not to care too much, get an air conditioner if you're around in the summer, you might actually enjoy your experience and find yourself employable after 4 years.
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