Bucknell University - Comments and Student Experiences|
As you get to upper-level classes that are more professional, you might not want to do that, but by no means will you get ostracized for wearing a just a plain t-shirt and jeans.
Yes, there are a fair amount of people that dress up daily, but most people just wear Bucknell shirts, pants, and jackets.
The professors here are almost always approachable. They have office hours but will give you extra time as long as you talk to them beforehand. I've never been invited back to a professor's house to eat dinner or study (because my tour guide said that for here and a few other colleges said it too - Holy Cross, Boston College, Georgetown, SUNY Binghamton) - and it hasn't happened to any of my friends at those colleges either, so don't get your hopes up!
Like anyplace else, I feel, there are probably a few bag eggs in the bunch, but in my experience, I've never been told (or felt) that my extra needs have inconvenienced a professor. And that's good.
I feel that comparatively, my high school had better teachers, but my teachers in HS all LOVED teaching. Most people would probably describe them as book-worms, or "Gay for school", but I feel like when a teacher really loves his subject, when he's passionate about what he teaches and wants everyone to know it, that's when you get the best education. I had a bunch of those types in HS but only a few here at Bucknell.
This isn't the golden rule by far, and this is DEFINITELY only my experience, but I felt like I should say it so that the reader of my comment here thinks to ask it when he/she is on a tour at Bucknell.
Picking classes for Spring Semester freshman year SUCKS. If you're unlucky enough to be on the second and final day for freshmen, you will not get more than 2/4 classes you want. If even that. Be prepared to take a meaningless art class or philosophy or education or even Native american studies. Astrology is also a good choice, I think it exists precisely for first-year students who can't get into anything else. Now, I'm a management major, so this is a BIG blow for me, because all my classes are in management, and those were all taken by the time it got to my time to choose. But I guess this forces you to crank out those university required core classes. They're actually pretty flexible though, and one class can count for several core requirements (e.g. Econ 103 counted for social sciences, global persepectives, and fulfilled a major-related requirement.. and some econ103 classes even fulfill one of the university writing requirements!)
Choosing classes gets MUCH better as you rise from frosh to sophomore and beyond, but this painful time in freshman year must be noted, because it DOES inconvenience you.
There is a club called ACE that coordinates concerts and weekend activities and they do a good job at that. If you want to get someone to visit or create some kind of activity, I STRONGLY recommend you join that club.
There's always some sort of campus activity (bingo, movie, scavenger hunt, pub night for 21+) every weekend. Every weekend also usually has some sort of trip (paintballing, skiing, mall trips, city trips to NYC, washington, etc). There's always some kind of live music for the weekend, whether it is a student or profession performer, and there are REAL comedians at least once a month. There's also a movie every wednesday night.
So, the campus events are always happening. There is no excuse for you not going out and meeting people.
There are also a ton of clubs (well-funded clubs!) for you to join, but I feel like almost every college has this.
Also, the fitness center (known as the KLARC) has weekly programs for you to join in on: Yoga, Pilates , kick boxing, etc. Or you can just go and work out.
I also recommend trying out the Rowing machines (there's three of them on the upper level of the fitness center). Rowing is hard stuff and you need to learn how to do it right, but nothing else compares.
Excellent. The only problem I've had is being on a sports team and then not being able to get to dinner while the dining service is in peak hours. Peak hours for dinner are from 5pm until 8pm so once 8pm rolls on in, they close a lot of the stations and there isn't as much to choose from. But that's just a problem I've faced as a member of Men's Rowing. Most other sports get you out in time to get a good dinner.
And it is good. They have specials from a new country every week, and they repeat countries about every two to three months, so it's not something that gets too old. There's also "staples" like pizza, pasta, and salad every day. There's a huge wall of cereal for you to choose from, there's always the ability to have toast or bagels or bread and you can always make your own sandwich or have soup. I felt two months in that it was getting old, but if you have the specials you'll always be having something different.
So that's the Bostwick, which is the main eatery. All freshmen are required to have the unlimited meal plan, though there are different levels, which correspond to the amount of dining dollars you have to spend. And you can spend them at the Bison which is an a la carte type of place. The food down there is generally better than what you can get upstairs at the Bostwick, but because it uses the dining dollars it technically costs more to eat there (and seeing how my Freshman plan, the Silver Meal Package, only included $150 dining dollars, I'd quickly run out if I ate all my meals there).
You can also spend dining dollars at the 7th street cafe, which has a large variety of drinks, smoothies, and shakes. There's also sandwiches and fruit and other bottled drinks but they're kind of expensive. The library also has a food station but unless you're getting coffee, it too is expensive (compared to the Bison/Bostwick).
Also, don't get anything in the Bison that you could get in the campus book store's food area.
e.g. A power bar costs $3 in the Bison, but at the book store it only costs $1.50. So be wary of prices everywhere.
If you are not a first-year, you can get a meal plan that's unlimited like the freshmen get, or you can get a dining dollars-only mean plan, or you can get no meal plan at all (if you live off campus). I would suggest getting something, however, because if stop by anyplace and you have to pay in cash it ends up costing more than if you just had a meal plan.
And also, if you are part of a frat, you can eat there if you have the frat meal plan (the food is comparable to the rest of the campus).
Internet is great at some times but SUCKS most of the time. Ok, maybe sucks is too strong of a word, but there were weeks during my fall semester freshman year where the internet was so slow as to prevent going on youtube. A five-minute video would load over maybe 30 minutes or just not load at all. Not cool. We don't spend all of our time watching videos at youtube here, it's just an example, but the internet at Bucknell gets you access to EVERYTHING (classes and class readings on the intranet, online readings for class, library services, dining services, your student account, class registration, etc).
So when the internet's sluggish and you're paying $50,000 a year for an education and you can' access the required reading for your class, you have a right to be angry. The IT people here say they're improving it, but they basically need to just upgrade the network's capacity and that hasn't been done.
That being said, if you do game in XBL or playstation, the best time to do that would probably be after midnight and while everyone's in class.
- Some dorms don't have window screens so you have to buy them.
- Some dorms don't have Air Conditioning but most do (if you are a freshman stay FAR away from Larrison/Harris)
- Laundry (as of 11/20/08) is STILL coin-operated, so bring lots and lots and lots of quarters. It's supposed to be accessible by your university ID, but that's been on the block for nearly a semester now.
- Getting copies done cost you $0.10 per page.
- Coffee only costs $0.79 at mini-marts, the small food stand by the post office on the bottom of marts hall (and to the left of admissions).
- If you're sneaky about it, you can "steal" (more like use, because my tuition surely covers it) coffee and cookies from admissions.
- The book store overcharges you, get what you can from walmart.
- Walmart overcharges you, buy your stuff on Amazon or look for wholesale retailers like Costco or BJ's or Sam's Club.
- If you're sneaky about it, you can have a car freshman year.
- If you do it right, no one will ever bother you if you want to have a party in your dorm room.
- The dorms' common areas are messy. I lived in smith hall my freshman year and a urinal was broken midway through september and it stayed broken until we came back from christmas break. NOT COOL. Not what I want to see after my family pays $50,000 a year. They didn't collect trash on weekends so it would pile up into an (often putrid smelling) heap. The tile floor inbetween halls was hardly ever free of sticky goo. The lounge area was sucky.... Look at some of these other small, liberal arts colleges and they'll all have sparkling new or just remodeled common areas, whereas many of these bucknell areas look like relics from the 60s. The least they could do is drop $1,000 on a 46" TV for the common room, but no, we still have one of those RCA TVs that you see at Days Inn or Cheap Motels.
Well, in summary, I feel (and studentsreview.com agrees with me) that the statement "College is what you make of it" is 100% bullshit. College is what you pay for. And at $50,000 a year, Bucknell better do a good job of making me happy. And for the most part, it does.
Great food, good clubs and athletics, great teachers, good access to nearly everything you'll ever need.
The places where Bucknell loses TONS of points are the little things.... supbar lounges, shoddy cleaning of public areas, patches of dead grass here and there, etc.
The whole package is great, and you usually don't see these little problems on the tour. I'm sure this is the same at other schools. Hopefully if enough people complain the University will finally see to these problems and correct them. It's not a reason at all to not attend school here - I feel the atmosphere more than makes up for it.... but I sure as hell wish they'd do a bit more sprucing up.... sometimes I feel like they do a lot of impressing to get you in here and once you're in they don't do as much. And that's a shame.
A few things I forgot:
1) Orientation is the greatest five days of freshman year, make sure you go to all the activities, meet lots of people, and always make sure you're doing something, even if you are exhausted. You'll thank yourself over and over if you do.
2) Frat parties are AMAZING, but if you're a freshman the de facto rule is that you won't get in (unless you're a girl!) The way around this rule is to try and meet lots of upperclassmen during orientation. Say hi, don't be a jerk. Most frats have socials during the first week of school that you can get in to, usually. If you say hello to a member, get his number, make friends.
Also, if you're on a sports team, you'll probably be able to get in to a party every once in a while.
Also, look out for students who may have older brothers in frats who will let you in.
Above all, always be persistent. Don't give up. You never know when the guy manning the door will be looking away or will be in a good enough mood to let someone not on the registered list inside. Don't give up.
3) You can sneak food out of the caf if you sit down. Don't do it at the food stations, that's where they watch you.
4) Sports are good here, but don't expect to be champions. Football was atrocious when I was a freshman. Basketball faired a bit better, but it wasn't anything overly great. The good side to this is that you're only 45 minutes away from Penn State, so if you're in the mood for huge football games you only need to find a ride there and you're set.
5) Speaking of finding rides, make friends with kids who have cars. As a freshman, you really don't have a HUGE need to leave campus. You can walk into the local town, Lewisburg, and that's usually enough. There's a bunch of good restaurants, a barber shop, a hair salon, several stores to buy you family gifts, and other specialty stores. The university also supplies buses to the local Walmart on weekends. But if you want to see a movie that's not being shown at the in-town theater, or if you want to go to Target or Bestbuy or whatever, you'll need a ride, and you'll need to find someone that has a car.
6) Join something. Be in a club, a sports team (I recommend Men's/Women's Rowing, great kids, great fun, great sport if you're looking for one), or make something that you and your new friends can do. Belong to something. Don't just waste your life doing schoolwork and partying. There's life beyond that.7) Possibly more. I think I can reply to this comment, so If i have any more to say or think of any more words of wisdom, I'll sure as hell post it.
Professors: We have some great professors. Freshman year biology courses are too big to get to really know your professor, but it is possible to have a relationship with them (and by too big I mean about 100 students). Research options for science majors abound. Professors will tell you straight out if they think for any reason they can't give you a good recommendation.
Classes: Some are challenging, almost none are really easy. Most are a moderate amount of work, enough to keep you showing up each day, but not enough to make you go insane with stress.
Facilities: Dorms are generally pretty nice (worst is Swartz but even it's better than most at the MD state schools). A few have air conditioning. Upperclassmen have a ton of options, including apartment style houses, modular home style housing, dorms, or off-campus. There are a good mix of singles and doubles available on campus so if you don't want to be crowded in a room, we have lots of options.
Food: Better than average, but it's still school food. There are vegetarian options (that aren't just, eat some salad) and healthy options. The freshman meal plan sucks if you don't eat a lot of meals a day, but then you can go to declining balance which is a pay-as-you go system. The caf has pretty good hours, but food in-between peak lunch and dinner times is a little sparce.
Social Life: Greek life is big, but as a non-Greek I still manage to be out whenever I want and have tons of social opportunities. I know that there are substance free options with the substance free living and club, as well as coffeehouse house nights (no beer or liquor in there), alcohol free dance parties, and concerts. Personally, I like our party scene. There are registers (where you need to be on the list to go in...or else go very late), mixers (where a frat and sorority are exclusively having the party until after 12 when it's opened up), and dorm events (mostly freshman year). It is hard for freshman guys to get into parties, but it's not hard to find an upperclassmen to buy alcohol, so generally they party in the dorms. Freshman girls have it easier, but still cannot get into everything. By sophomore year you either have friends that will make you an honorary member of their group or are in a frat or sorority yourself so its easier.
To address the current (7/26/06) policies on drinking: They are stringent if you get caught, but many RAs even freshman year look the other way. If you want to be substance free there is an entire substance free dorm and a group on campus called CALVIN AND HOBBES. There is talk of changing the alcohol policy to one that is even more lenient for this upcoming year.
Students: Preppy and conservative is the trend at Bucknell. That doesn't mean we don't have some liberal people, but the BUCC (Bucknell Conservatives Club) is HUGE on campus. It is countered with some strong liberal groups, but expect if you are voically liberal to be offended and attacked at times by the BUCC. Girls do dress up for class (a nice thing if you graduated from a high school with uniform policies) and guys generally look acceptable. You can't get by with pajama pants and a hole-y tee shirt every day, but that also helps to prevent people from falling asleep in class and make the class look professional (we are, after all, training to eventually have professional jobs where you can't roll into the office in what you slept in last night). People can be a little snobbish, but as one of the poorer kids at Bucknell I've never felt pressured to have a designer bag or shirt. Looking good (and taking pride in your appearence) is more important than what designer you're wearing - since for every group that loves one designer an equal number of people hate that designer.
Campus Jobs and Work-Study: Campus jobs are totally accessible at Bucknell, but many people do not have them. This is due to the upper-middle class predominance at Bucknell. If you have a job, expect friends to occassionally ask you why you can't skip it. If you want a job you can skip apply to 7th Street Cafe or the library, they are pretty lenient about hours.Overall: Bucknell is well known on the East Coast and in CA. It is also becoming more renoun in other parts of the country. If you live on the East Coast and go to Bucknell, everyone you meet will have some relative or friend that graduated from there. Academics are great and networking opportunities abound.