I'm a freshman and I've only been here a little over a month, so my opinions could change a lot between now and the end of the year. I went to a nice school in the suburbs of MA, like literally EVERYONE you will meet here. I came here because I didn't get much financial aid from other schools, and in state tuition is cheap. (Again, this is pretty much why everyone else came here as well, my friends and I had a whole discussion about it earlier tonight at dinner.) There are a whole bunch of reasons I'm considering transferring, and there are a lot of things I wish I'd known earlier, and I spent a lot of time on this site when I was looking at colleges (and now since I'm kind of looking again, I came back) so i figured I'd help some people out :)
Just some background information: I'm a part of the Honors College, but there's not much of a difference between the normal college and the honors college, other than that I have to take an honors course a semester and keep my GPA up. There are honors events, but they're very small and I don't usually go. I'm pretty social, and went to parties and stuff in high school. My first choice schools were small(ish) liberal arts schools. I also do a D1 sport, which makes things pretty difficult. I think it's most of the reason I'm not loving it here. The sport especially makes it stressful because there is A LOT of work involved in being a student athlete, but I'll get to that later.
- Academics are SO much more than what I expected. I expected easy, watered-down courses, especially because I came from a very challenging school, but they are nothing like that. All my friends/ people on my floor have been saying the same thing. I've learned more in my english class this semester than I did all throughout high school, and the content is actually really interesting. Some of my classes are really small (14 people) and some are huge lecture halls, but I don't think this is a problem. There are TA's in the big lectures, but they're there to help, they never teach. My professors are brilliant, and you can really tell they love teaching and want you to succeed.
- There are so many different kinds of people here, and if you find the right place to live, you'll have no problem meeting people.
- They're also working on re-doing basically the whole school. Many of the buildings are getting torn down and rebuilt, and campus has a few ugly buildings, but I think it's pretty nice. And I'm super focused on aesthetics and I'm a total neat freak and everything.
- The food is AMAZING at Berk, the main dining hall. I actually eat a lot healthier here than I did at home. They always have fresh veggies, fruits, yogurt (plain, vanilla, and strawberry), soy/ rice milk out (which is good cause I'm lactose intolerant/ have a ton of dietary restrictions because my body doesn't know how to function or something. And I never have trouble finding stuff I can eat, in ANY of the dining halls.) and SO MANY other foods. The other dining halls are great too, but Berk is the best.
The school is HUGE. Most of the people I see around campus I don't know, but I also run into people I do know sometimes. I thought a big school might be nice because you can kind of disappear if you want to, but I think it's a little too big. I like going to chill parties where I can see people I know, etc, and just hang out, but unless you go to parties with a big group of people, you probably won't see ANYONE you know there. I do feel like a number a lot of the time, and I get a lot more attention cause I'm an athlete and in the honors college, etc. I'm also he kind of person who needs extra attention, though, so I might not be the typical case.
- The party scene sucks. Most of the parties here are small upperclassmen get-togethers, or gross frat parties. The frats here are gross. A few routinely throw girls only parties so they can pick and choose what girl they want to get with....which I just find creepy. They could at least be less obvious. A lot of people go out on Thursday, although I haven't cause I have a 9am Friday morning. At parties with a better boy/ girl ratio, it's usually sweaty and gross and overall not fun. And I visited my fair share of colleges and went to frat parties, etc. These are SO different than normal frat parties. Most of the members have beer bellies, smoke cigarettes (like so many other people here. I get smoke blown in my face at least 3 times when I walk across campus) and are fairly unattractive. I haven't gone out in a month and honestly, I don't miss it much because it wasn't fun anyway. And this is coming from someone who routinely drinks/ parties and loves going to parties at other schools.
- It takes 25 minutes to walk across campus. I live in Orchard Hill, which was NOT the right choice for me, although I don't know what would have been a better choice. DEFINITELY pay attention to the stereotypes of the dorms when you're looking; they're all very true. O-Hill is mostly nerdy kids. Central kids smoke pot EVERYWHERE. Like I sometimes smell weed just walking down the hill (which, by the way, is brutal). Southwest parties all the time, and it's loud. I don't know too much about Northeast other than that there's a lot of asians/ engineers. People seem pretty normal but don't go out much. I would have to walk a lot less if I lives in Southwest, because travel time takes up so much of my day. There are busses on weekdays, but they run less frequently on evenings, mornings, and weekends. And as a small freshman girl, I don't like walking across campus alone at night. I did it a few times relatively early in the night and it was fine, but I would never do it past 10pm.
- People here are generally not very attractive. Not to be petty like that, but it's kind of a let-down. You's think there would be more hot guys around a college campus. But they're all pretty gross. A lot of the girls are really pretty, though, so I guess that's great if you're a guy.
- I'm struggling with school stuff, and if I wasn't in a sport, I wouldn't know where to go for help. It's easy to get lost, and a lot of times I feel like a number. I AM number, but getting constantly asked your student ID # instead of your name (or having to put your student ID # on assignments you turn into professors) is really starting to annoy me.
- It's tough to meet people outside of your building/ floor. Usually it's weird to ask for someone's number is you just met them, and in situations where you'd normally say "i'll see you around" or whatever, you really can't, because odds are you will never see them again in your life, unless they're friends with one of your friends.
- Freshman have a study hall and have to take a class called "Your Winning Season" which kinda sucks. Also teams are huge.
A lot of my issues with being a student athlete are because of personal stuff (like where I live, where my friends are, going out, etc) that make the logistics of it soo much more difficult than it needs to be, so that's frustrating. But overall, I've had a pretty good experience with it.
That's about it. I don't hate it here by any means, I think It'll grow on me. I know people that go here that LOVE it, and I also know people who don't. It's definitely a good value, and I'd like it a lot better if the social scene was slightly different and if my situation was different. There are so many people here that you will find a place to fit in, you just might have to do some searching. Definitely pay attention to where you live, because it's hard to meet people in general classes/ around campus, etc. because it's so big.