Like I?m sure many Medaille students have felt, I came here with high hopes. It was a quaint, small little school in what seemed to be a beautiful section of Buffalo. Everyone I had met in the admissions process, from counselors to students to professors, seemed too darn happy to be here, and I felt like I was unconditionally welcomed into the Medaille community every time I came. I had to have been crazy, I felt, to even consider another school. How wrong I was.
Student Body - I hate to generalize, but probably the biggest disappointment about Medaille has been the student body. Anyone who goes here for a semester quickly begins to refer to the place as ?Medaille High.? Even if those people are part of the cause of the drama-filled high school atmosphere, that?s not a completely unfair assumption. The number of cliques and stereotypes here outnumber the ones that existed at my high school. Everyone knows your business here, and I?ve seen many hurtful, and often false, rumors spread about my friends for no good reason except for some idiot?s entertainment. And it?s not like this is a problem caused by a select few students; it seems to involve practically everyone year after year. Lately Medaille has admitted incoming students to the point of capacity, and I think this is a large reason for the underwhelming talent of students here. Pretty much anyone and everyone can get in thanks to the lowered standards, and the quality of life here has suffered because of it. Many of the people here fall into any or a combination thereof of the following groups: bros (loud, annoying, and ruin pretty much whatever place you?re in at the moment), self-absorbed jocks (disrespectful and arrogant), rich kids (doesn?t matter what they do, mommy and daddy will pay it off) drunks (nuff said), spoiled princesses (nuff said), and obnoxious Sabres/Bills fans. Furthermore, the more reprehensible characters here are often the most celebrated for many inane reasons. As a whole, it?s hard to feel good about the future when you look at Medaille?s student body. Overall, I think students are here for the wrong reason. Often looking for an easy degree while getting wasted every night, trying to lord over people the way they couldn?t in high school, and trying to spread their misery on to everyone else. It?s scary to think that some of these people are just a short time away from the ?real world.?
Living on Campus - Most students commute here, so all they?re worried about is getting in and out in a timely manner. The parking situation is atrocious. There are about a thousand students that go here, and only a couple hundred parking spots on campus. Needless to say, this leads to a choice of either waiting for a parking spot to open up, and thereby be late for class, or park illegally and get a parking ticket. Granted, there is parking at the Buffalo Zoo, and not many people take advantage of that option, again mostly due to time constraints. Or maybe it?s laziness and not wanting to walk across the 198. As for the resident students themselves, it?s not much better. Clearly, the residence situation is on the edge of despair. Everyone cocoons themselves in their rooms, doors closed, and often sleeping, sitting on Facebook, or watching TV. It?s even worse on the weekends. Half of the students leave campus because nothing is going on, and the campus turns into a ghost town. Nobody leaves their room unless its mealtime or they have to go off campus. As far as big parties go, rare. The ones in dorms are just for a few select friends, otherwise they?ll get busted. The bigger ones are off campus, but those occur every so often. Any drinking is private and in rooms, although if you?re so inclined, you could go clubbing on Chippewa every Thursday night. Personally, I?m not a big partier or drinker. I don?t mind it from time to time, but I prefer quiet nights. Still, that?s no reason why the dorms have to be dead at night.
Like I said, living on campus isn?t exactly enjoyable. It?s not because of the dorms themselves, in fact they are quite beautiful. They?re very private and secure. If you?re lucky, you can live in South where you have a private bathroom. It?s also more spacious than its counterpart North Hall, which isn?t a bad option either. So it?s not the facilities that are the problem. The program itself just reflects how predictable and political life at Medaille is. The director of one of the residence halls in particular is notorious for making immature, poor, and biased judgments regarding students and staff. A few RA?s are pretty good, but a lot of them were definitely selected due to reasons not related to qualifications. (popularity, race, etc.) The programming in the res halls that is put on is usually pretty lackluster. Usually they involve some combination of arts and crafts, snacks, and/or movie night. Not that there?s anything wrong with these programs, but they?re the only ones put on. Ever.
Academics - The most popular undergraduate programs here are Business/Sport Management, Education, Psychology, and Veterinary Technology. Now, when I think of majors people declare when they have no idea what else to do with their lives, it?s Business and Psychology, and they don?t disappoint. In particular, nearly every Business major I know already has that glossy, ultra-defensive yet boring douche aura that proves they?ve already sold their souls to an unrewarding, cut-throat world devoid of ethics and consideration for anyone except ?me.? Psychology?good luck find a decent job with just a Bachelor?s. The Vet Tech program on the other hand is almost too rigorous and there is a lot of stress amongst the students with coursework and the like. I don?t know if it?s the caliber of the students that are admitted or if the curriculum is too much for most people to handle. My major, Education is decent, but also lacking in a number of areas. For instance, most of our fieldwork is in the Buffalo Public School system, one of the most chaotic and low-performing districts in the state, if not nation. I fail to see how observing teachers in low-achieving schools will make me a great teacher. Furthermore, many of the classes you take are useless unless you want to be a reading teacher. I know literacy is part of the core standards, but the literacy classes here are headache-inducingly boring and unhelpful. Again, I don?t feel prepared for the type of teaching I want to do.
As far as professors go, it again depends on your major. On average, I usually have only one less-than-adequate professor per semester. Not a great ratio, but not bad either. Most of the professors I?ve had are pretty friendly, very few are jerks or try to be on purpose. They?re very accommodating and don?t mind meeting outside of class for help. The trouble is that the curriculum is really watered down. I?ve only had a couple professors that I can honestly say have challenged me and pushed me beyond my typical work habits. For the most part, the classes are presented in ?stand and deliver? mode, usually with an accompanying Powerpoint. Very rarely are classes really creative and challenge your thought. This is mostly due to the fact that many classes that are offered are only survey courses that just present a basic overview of the content. It?s frustrating for many professors who clearly want to be teaching higher level courses or get students to actually think but can?t because a) Most students don?t care b) the college has no interest in offering that course or c) If a professor tries to encourage high level academics and challenges student thought, they get an angry call from a coach or parent demanding to know why Johnny is getting a C instead of the A they obviously deserve.
Campus facilities - The campus itself is pretty nice, but it really only shows in the spring and fall when the weather is nice. In the winters, it is typical Buffalo, and the snow piles on for weeks at a time. On gorgeous days though, the quad and buildings really shine. The oldest building, Huber Hall, is receiving a much needed addition, and the campus center is expected to have one soon. The only problem is that it is very small and packed in. You feel like a sardine after a while, and not much of interest goes on around here. Medaille is located right in between Parkside, Elmwood, Masten, and Main Street in Buffalo. Parkside and Elmwood are nice, clean areas and are very safe. Masten and Main, not so much. There?s usually an announcement sent every two months about someone getting mugged or stalked in a nearby area, and you usually hear sirens most of the day. Furthermore, last year two non-students snuck into a residence hall and ended up stabbing someone, thankfully the weapon was only a plastic knife. Still, this is not a great area to be in. Given that and the less than trustworthy safety officers that work here, I would not send my kids here. That?s how much safety concerns me.
Food - You really only have two on-campus dining options; the snack shop or the cafeteria. The snack shop mostly sells snack and candy, although you can use your meal plan during certain times of the day. The cafeteria, well?it?s hard to figure out where to start. There are very courteous staff members there, the cashiers in particular will know you by name and everyone else generally is polite. The food though is extremely low quality. It?s not rare to find a burger that is overcooked, bananas that aren?t anywhere near ripe, or even flies by the donuts. So with that quality, one might think that you get what you pay for. Ha ha, WRONG! The prices are simply outrageous considering the condition that the food is sold in. You get a declining balance that you can draw from over time, but the money goes away quickly. There are also meal equivalency plans you get as a resident student. You have to buy certain foods or else you have to pay out of pocket or from the declining balance. It?s ridiculously nitpicky as well; for example, buying a bottled drink instead of a fountain drink will cause the whole meal plan to be tossed out, and again you will have to pay cash or with the balance, EVEN IF IT?S THE EXACT SAME DRINK ONLY IN A DIFFERENT CONTAINOR! Does that make sense? I thought not. The food is also unhealthy as well. I personally have never experienced the stomach problems others have had after eating, but I have gained a minimum 20 pounds at a time since I?ve gone to college, and I?ve struggled like crazy to keep it off. Overall, it is not the quality dining experience that is advertised. Then again, when you consider that Chartwell?s is the company running the show in the dining hall, this probably shouldn?t be a surprise. (Google ?Chartwell?s Complaints? if you aren?t familiar with this fabulous company.)
Clubs/Activities - Probably the most common mood on campus is ?boredom.? There is simply very little to do. Each major has their own club, but even though they?re open to everyone, there?s little to do in each, or they may not be relevant to your interests unless it?s your major. The biggest ones are the Student Government Association, and the Medaille Perspective newspaper. For many years, SGA has just been filled with cronies and ?good ol? boys? that basically looked
out for each other and their personal agendas rather than anything that would actually benefit the school. Thankfully, some outsider leaders have been elected this year, and hopefully they can bring some change to that organization. The newspaper is also a pretty big joke to anyone with a brain. It represents the worst qualities of today?s journalism; shallow, full of rumors/gossip about non-newsy items, and a writing style that would insult a sixth grader. Some clubs do some good, like the Honor Societies and Future Teachers do a lot for community service, but the rest are barely worth mentioning, because quite frankly, it?s easy to forget that they exist. The athletic teams here literally run this place. Some athletes here are pretty cool and easy to get along with, but most tend to look down on those who don?t play or enjoy sports, and walk around as if they were God?s gift to man. It?s even worse being in classes with them. I can?t tell you how many of them got away with chronic tardiness, class disruption, or being extremely rude to professors because of their status. It?s not all of them that act this way, but there?s a lot that do.
Administration - Finally, there is one more inherently frustrating aspect to Medaille: the administration/infrastructure. The leadership of the school reeks of incompetence and stubbornness pretty much from the top down. A prime example of this has been the recent PR/Marketing campaigns Medaille has created the past two years. The first being the infamous shadow puppet commercials that aired on TV, and are now conveniently located on the Youtube for your viewing pleasure. What is even more hilarious is that they were universally panned by the student body, but the school insisted on airing them throughout the year anyway. Eventually, those were phased out for a new marketing brand ?Change Your Mind?, which is just as laughable. I?m sorry, but I didn?t come here because of weird commercials with people having blue words written on their foreheads, and I don?t appreciate having those pictures blown up and plastered everywhere on campus either. Again, it?s plain old ignorance, and another example of how this school sells out to the lowest common denominator. The service departments are hardly better. People encounter some sort of problem with Financial Aid, the Business Office, or Registrar on almost a daily basis. I?ve heard countless stories of people who ended up losing scholarships or aid without any sort of notice, transcripts that have gotten botched or lost, and all around rude service. And yet, nothing ever changes. Again, the administration would just as soon put up with the complaints and squeeze every possible dime out of the students as possible before they graduate or get fed up and leave. Another example: the Information Technology office. I have had legitimate complaints about internet connectivity treated as ?low priority? and promptly dropped from the ?help? desk, or have taken my computer in for repairs, and have it ?fixed?, only to be the same or in worse operating condition than before. Also, the internet access here is terrible. The ?agent? and virus-protection that you are forced to download in order to access the internet barely work half the time; Many people lose the connection several times a day, often while doing important work, and sometimes the connection is gone for hours. So far, nothing has been done to fix this issue, and given Medaille?s general attitude, I highly doubt anything will.
Is Medaille completely bad? No. I?ve met some great life-long friends here, the campus is relatively safe (just don?t wander into or past the nearby subway station at night), and the grounds are well-kept. But there are so many annoyances here. I consider myself an optimist, and one that tries not to sweat the small stuff. But there comes a point when I can?t take the egos, drama, and lack of quality in multiple departments anymore. Quite honestly, apart from the friends that I?ve made here, I wouldn?t come to Medaille if I could do the college search over again.
If you?ve made it this far, well done. You?ve shown a larger attention span and willingness to evaluate and reflect on arguments than that of an average Medaille student. I know this review has been long and nit-picky, but to be honest, I?d have a hard time recommending this school to even my worst enemy. There is so much potential for this school, but that potential is being wasted with petty politics, misuse of resources, and striving to meet only the bare minimum and the status quo. Your money is valuable, and you can only live this part of your life once. Do you really want to live and study and party in an environment like this?
Obnoxious, self-centered student body.
Unhelpful majors with useless classes.
Every day being a drama-filled popularity contest.
Minimal social life.
An administration that is completely out of touch with the wants and needs of the student body.Whatever your major is, you can find it at another school that is more exciting, has better programs and people, and might even cost less. If you?re thinking Medaille, check EVERYTHING out. Don?t fall for the hard sell from admissions hook and line. Spend some time and find out if this is REALLY your school. Don?t be impulsive and end up regretting your decision four years later like I have.