Stony Brook University
Stony Brook University - Comments and Student Experiences|
First of all, for every good review you will read about Stony Brook, there are 10 bad reviews waiting to follow. They are all justified. Yes, Stony Brook has definite benefits. It is a very well known school with academic prestige. Most people I have spoken to have heard of it, and I was even employed by a man who said "well you go to Stony Brook so you must be smart!" Despite this, Stony Brook is known for its research and its ability to churn out tons of Engineers and Pre-Med students. If none of those apply to you, then things are a little different.
At my welcoming weekend at Stony, the President said "Stony Brook is big and daunting, and will remain that way for the entire time you are here." Yes, this is true. You will feel like just a number in the system. As far as extra-curriculars are concerned, they do exist, and if you can find them it will be beneficial if that's what you are into. I've been encouraged to join extra-curriculars but in addition to working about 25 hours a week at a job, doing my schoolwork, being an introvert, and a 45-60 minute commute and 1/4 tank of gas for each trip made getting involved seriously less than appealing.
As far as parties, this is not the school to go to if that is what you are into. Nothing is within walking distance and taxis are expensive, and driving and drinking is not an option. I'm not too educated on the party front, but I have heard that it's far and few between and not very accessible. Everyone laments the quality of the dorms and come on let's be realistic, with 25,000 students, how are the dorms really going to remain clean and taken care of?
I have eaten in the SAC maybe once or twice and avoided it at all costs since due to the serious warnings every student who eats there has given. The food is mass produced shit and there are little to zero options for vegetarians and health conscious students. I've heard it results in food poisoning very often. I wouldn't advise eating on campus.
Parking is a whole story of its own. Commuters mainly park in South P, an ocean of parking spaces that fills to the brim by the middle of the day. You have to leave at least 30 minutes earlier than your actual commute if you are to arrive during the rush times, because then you will have to wait about 3 or 4 buses to get a seat to get from South P to campus. The buses are reliable though, I never had a problem missing class because one broke down.
The faculty are either extremely qualified or graduate students with little experience. Most of the faculty are arrogant academics though. Some are the best in their field which results in quality education, yet not very approachable. Obviously this does not apply to every single professor at the school, but many are less than accommodating, and that may be in part due to the size of the school. With 25,000 students, Professors are not about to hear your story or care as to why you can't make it for a test or a class or care about your individual questions or ambitions towards your grades. I had a Professor tell me once that she never gives make-up exams, which is fairly reasonable, yet she finished that statement by saying she wouldn't even offer a student a make-up exam when her Mother died. The utter lack of compassion was astounding.
As far as students go, the amount of Asian students is incredible. Most Asian students are international transfers that are so burdened with trying to achieve top notch grades that they are depressed or crazed. They float around campus without actually being there. Other students are arrogant Pre-Meds or Biology majors that constantly talk about how hard their work is and how much they hate it. It is possible to bond with people over a mutual hatred for the place. Most commuters with morning classes are in the same boat- left their houses 2 or 3 hours before class starts, sat in traffic and got burned out by the time class began. If you can find your people, then obviously the school becomes better. If you find best friends or people to click with, any situation you are put in is obviously going to be better with them there. But this doesn't change the fact that Stony Brook is kind of an awful place. They offer a lot of cool majors but you'll feel like the only one in your major unless you're in the sciences. The god damn place is dismal, and I just go to class and get the hell out as much as I can. The morale is absolute shit and it is all justified.
Being a State school, Stony Brook is relatively affordable. It may get expensive if you stay on campus and once those mandatory student fees begin to accrue, but you can say that about any school. Tuition-wise, Stony Brook is affordable. In addition to be affordable, Stony Brook is a reputable school. The school is regarded highly in Research, and it continues to grow in prestige/ranking among the other top colleges. Stony Brook also has a decent-looking campus, which is large and has a lot of trees, even a duck pond in one of the quads. The campus has come a long way aesthetically; from an old bare campus without even a running track, to a school with a lot of new buildings and a beautiful new running track.
Now for the downsides...
First, let's speak academically. Stony Brook has some good professors who you can reach out to and some bad ones, like anywhere else. Unfortunately, many of the major professors do their best to "weed students out". Since many students want to enter medical school, professors in departments such as Chemistry try to make their exams as tricky as possible, which isn't their job. Their job is to teach students not 'weed them out'.
Now the campus: You would think a large campus is a good thing, unfortunately it isn't. You can have classes very far from each other, far from your dorm, and walking to it can be time consuming... at a major University, you need all the time you can get.
The student population is too large and the school is getting much too crowded. This makes the parking situation a headache. Most commuters have to park at South P. lot and wait for a bus to take you to the campus, it can get so crowded that you'll have to wait for several buses before finally getting on. The population is getting very crowded with mostly foreign exchange students from Asia who barely speak English and the concentration of these students is increasing each year.
As for the social life... Or lack thereof... Well, most students would agree Stony Brook is dead. The students have absolutely no school spirit... Many of the students are from Queens (if not Long Island) and they go home every single weekend like a bunch of homesick children. No one is friendly, and everyone walks around like they don't want to be bothered. Most social groups consist of cliques, such as "Fraternities and Sororities" and people of the same "Ethnic group" meaning all Indians somehow know each other and quickly become friends, all Asians, latinos, ducks, geese, etc... and they are extremely secluded.
While there are a lot of student clubs out there, it is hard to find out about things and the school does a bad job promoting events.
The area outside of Stony Brook is not too exciting either. Port Jefferson can be a little fun, and of course NYC if you don't mind commuting a few hours.
Well, these are the pros and cons of Stony Brook, of course experiences may vary.
Living. Commuting and living in the dorm both has its disadvantages. If you commute, you will be forced to park in the railroad or at South P, that is if you can even find a spot. From there it takes 20- 25 min to get on campus, so you have to deduct that time from your commute. If you can't find a parking spot you're shit out of luck. Then you can park at the metered spots or risk a $30 ticket. If you commute, you have the option of eating off campus, which I will shortly discuss. If you live in the dorm, you will be tripled your first semester, meaning you have to share a room for two people with three people. I had to go through with this. It was bad. Yeah, they reimburse you $500, but it's not worth being packed with two other guys. It's kind of gay actually. I was bullied by my roommates too. I always got the higher bunk. It was also hard to walk around. Fucking assholes made me too scared to sleep for fear of falling from the bunk. If you have to dorm, choose Roth or H Quad. Roth is nicer but HQuad you get more space. Bathrooms are nasty, wear slippers when you shower. Another thing about dorming is that more people do drugs there than you think. Most likely your room mate and/or suitemates are drug users/dealers. The advantage of dorming is that the reduced distance to get to your classes.
Now, for eating. The food on campus really sucks. DO NOT eat at the SAC! I repeat, DO NOT eat at the SAC. You will get food poisoning immediately. Me and many of my friends got food poisoning there many times. I saw some workers take buns out of the garbage once and walk into the kitchen. It's fucking horrendous. The buns for their hamburgers/cheeseburgers were stale 9 times out of 10. I never had a good burger there! Never had a good meal there either. Food there is ridiculously overpriced. Oh, and if you dorm, you have to get a meal plan. I mean why? If you don't use it, they keep your meal points. It's just another way to scam you. The Wang Center is no good either. It's really expensive and their rice tastes pasty. If I were to eat anywhere, it'd be the Union and the HSC. If you can, try to eat at the HSC. They don't care if they food poison the students, but they can't food poison their patients. That's why the food at the Hospital is at a much better quality. If you commute, take advantage of the fact that you have a car. There are many restaurants nearby. Okay, that's the living. Summary: Living sucks whether you're a commuter or resident. The food is an abomination. Preferably eat at the HSC or the Union.
Academics. Okay, here comes the meat. First, choose a good major and avoid Biochem at all costs. It is really really hard. You most likely will not make it through the program. You have to be really really smart to graduate as Biochem. Cell bio can stop you from graduating as biochem. Harvey Lyman is the gatekeeper. In my class, only 75 people graduated as a Biochemistry Major. Just don't do it. Even if you were somehow able to make it through the major, you will not find employment afterwards, and even if you find a job, you will be making $30K minus taxes. Biology is not much better. Anyone can do biology, but only a special person can do biochem. Chem, Math, Physics, English, Foreign Languages, Computer Sci, and Business are good majors. Chem, Computer Sci, Business and Law are good programs. They have very promising job prospects. The other ones like Art, Music, etc are good majors too I guess if you're into that stuff. Personally, I wouldn't pick the majors that nobody's ever heard before because you don't know if you're gonna find a job afterwards. Some of their programs are really weird, like Sociology, and Women Studies because it's very opinion based and there's no right answer. You might have trouble on exams, just saying.
For their science classes, like Gen Chem. They stick 1000 people in a giant lecture hall with a professor/professors who can't even teach. Seriously! Some of them can't even speak proper english. I had to fail a biochemistry exam once because the professor that taught it just could not speak English. No joke. It's like he was speaking gibberish the whole time, or he might as well have. The textbook they assigned us wasn't good either. Anyways, the science classes are really hard. They're all weedout classes and they get progressively harder. Another thing to note is that competition is tough. Many people took AP classes in these subjects, but don't think that if you took AP classes, you can just slack off. Asians ruin the curve. They learned this shit in 6th grade so they will most likely beat you in Math, Bio, Chem, and Physics. They might even beat you in English class even though they can't speak a lick of English. It's not impossible because reading uses a different part of the brain than speaking. But don't worry, when you get to the upper level classes, it will be more of a level playing field. Some classes are curved, some classes are not. Make note of that. Gen Chem and Orgo are not curved. Bio and Physics are curved. Most of the upper level classes are curved. But hey, don't slack cuz you think there might be a curve. You might actually end up failing. If you have the choice to choose your professor, do so. Go on ratemyprofessors.com and choose the easier professor. I don't mean no disrespect for no professors, but you want to maximize your potential for a higher grade right? Take BIO 202 for example. If you had a choice between Erster and the other guy, why would you not choose the other guy? All of Erster's questions are trick questions. Like "If this happened, and this happened, what would not happen...". If you're stupid, you could fail even if you know your shit. For the other guy, every question is just recall and word recognition like "What is this?" "what does this do". She might teach well, but at the end of the day, it's the letter grade that counts. On the plus side, she curves generously.
In sum, some professors are good. Most of them are not. You have to go on ratemyprofessors to check it out. Use ratemyprofessors as a guide to choosing your classes. Choose wisely, it can make a great difference in your grades. Remember that the professor you choose will be teaching you for the entire semester and has control of your grade, so you have to choose the right ones. Also know that some of them are just there to get tenure, so if they don't give a shit about teaching or about you, that might be why. Take Frank Fowler for example. He's a horrible professor. What the hell is sp4 hybridization? There's no such thing. And if you go to his office hours, you will see that he doesn't give a damn. They can't fire him. He has tenure. For the liberal arts classes like sociology, english, european history, or music, those can be easy or those can be hard. But like I said, use ratemyprofessors. If ten people are saying this is a bad professor, you'd have to be stupid to take that particular class when the same class is being taught by another professor. Choose your DEC's wisely. Don't plagarize, don't be stupid. The classes are already easy. Cite your sources. Be careful when uploading on Safeassign. Sometimes they will accuse you even if you didn't plagerize. Remember to use quotation marks. Not putting quotation marks is technically plagerizing and they will screw you if you miss those two keystrokes. Take no shortcuts on those papers. The BIO department is notorious for randomly accusing people. So when writing papers, be careful, especially when you're dealing with the BIO department!!
There's a lot of wannabe premeds in the school. Honestly, don't be premed, unless you really want to be a doctor and your good at it. Don't do it for the money, for the prestige, or any other bullshit like that. It's a really really tough road. Med school is so much harder than you think. You will have to sacrifice 7-12 years of your life studying all day everyday, no sleep. And it just gets progressively harder. And if you don't make it all the way through, you will be in a shitload of debt that will take many years to pay off. The only way is if you become a doctor. Do you see the problem here? It's a lifelong committment. If you fail the intro level science classes, quit premed. I'm serious. For premed, you can't take too many hits. If you fail too many classes, you're out and no med school will ever want you or you might have to work much harder (ie. spend two extra years getting a masters in Biomedical sciences or some shit). And if you struggle in the beginning, don't you think it's time for a career change. That's just my personal opinion. I'm not saying that if you fail one class, it's the end of the world.
Extracurricular: Okay, the extracurriculars I won't bash on. To be honest, the extracurricular activities aren't bad, but you have to look for them. Join marching band, get involved with student gov, join a faith organization, do research. There are many activities that you can get involved in. Remember that life is not just about school. You also have to enjoy yourself and relax. Remember, everyone is on the same boat as you. They too have chosen to come to this shitty institution. So, since you're here, you might as well make the best of it. Who knows, you might even make some friends. So definitely get involved, if you really choose to come here.So, who am I? I won't get too personal here. All I can say is that I was a student here before and I made many mistakes in my life. The biggest mistake I made in my life was coming here. After going through all that bullshit busting my ass off for all 4 years, I finally got my diploma. I'm unemployed, homeless, and have a worthless degree from a no name school. My parents kicked me out of the home after I graduated and I was forced to find a job. But I can't find one because I went to this shitty no name school to get a worthless diploma. Not only am I homeless, I'm stuck with a huge amount of debt. Well, not a huge amount, but it makes a difference when your freakin homeless. Yes, this is my sad life. I'm living on the streets looking for a homeless shelter. I have some skill sets. But really, how far can knowledge of Gen Chem, Orgo, and Biochem get you in life. Stony Brook didn't even teach me any practical lab skills. I took two lab courses and that was it. Look, I'm not trolling. This is for real. Okay, some of this is exaggerated, but most of it is what I experienced. Take my advice with a grain of salt. You can choose to follow it or not. Honestly, I don't see how anyone can like this school unless they're addicted to pain and suffering.To sum everything up: 1) Don't go to this school. There are plenty of other schools. It's a horrible school. There is a reason why Stony Brook is the third most depressing school in the country. Who knows? Someday, you might be the one on top of the Physics building. I hope not though. Actually, now I'm on the subject, you wanna avoid Hendrix for dorm, and the top fifth floor of the Physics building if you are the superstitous type. I know I am, I never stepped foot in those two places. 2) If you choose to go to Stony Brook, you are a really brave soul and I wish you the best of luck. I mean it. 3) If you go through this program and realize halfway how shitty this school really is, then I TOLD YOU SO! Remember, if you really choose to come here, it's 4 years of your life and it will be the most miserable 4 years you ever experienced. Think long and hard before making the big decision.
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