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Although I'm sure a number of things have changed in the last 10 years, there are a few constants about the University of Chicago. It seems to me that the student (undergraduate) community is divided in half: those who decide they are "into" the whole UC experience, come hell or high water, and those who decide that they hate the place and everything it represents. In my experience, these decisions are made within about 6 months of entering, so if you're interested in the school, you'd do well to spend as much time as you can trying to get a sesne of what it's really like. If you find you don't like it, transfer immediately. Don't ruin your college years --- and those of people around you --- by sticking it out when you hate the place. If you love it, feel free to laugh at, taunt, and ridicule those who hate it. After all, these are people stupid enough to spend 4 years shelling out 30-odd thousand dollars to stay at a place they hate. In other words, idiots. So laugh, laugh, laugh. Assuming you are feeling even remotely positive, here's some basic advice. Don't spend all your time trying to get into the one or two supposedly wonderful Civ or Soc sections, then complain because you didn't get your choice. Take something weird, something you hadn't intended to take. Remain undecided in your major --- if you just know exactly for sure 100% that you are going to be a doctor, this really isn't the school for you. Besides, Med. School placement isn't great. Here's some more advice: don't confine your intellectual activities to the classroom. The most fun you will have at UC, apart from sex and whatnot, is sitting around at 4 in the morning, drinking with a bunch of friends, having a not-terribly-coherent argument about how Thucydides is relevant (or not) to the current situation with Iraq. Or something of the kind. If this sounds like your idea of hell, DON'T GO. If it sounds to you like it might be interesting to meet people who could actually argue about such a thing, and would do so at 4 in the morning, and actually you kind of suspect you're that sort of person, welcome to the U of C. As a final test, consider the following. A very unscientific survey of 300 colleges in the US found that Chicago was either 299 or 300 (depending on the version) in fun level, neck-and-neck with the Air Force Academy. If you look at various reviews and such of the school, a lot of the negative ones will remark on this, and say, "See?" Now here's the thing: the people who like the place responded a bit differently. We said, "Woohoo! They actually _bought it_!" That is, they actually think we have no fun and work all the time! Bwa ha ha.... Now if you think people who respond this way to a "dis" on the school are freaks, you're going to hate UofC. If on the other hand you enjoy knowing that you and your profs are smarter than just about anyone, and you think you might enjoy carping about the idiots in the admin. who think that UC should be made "fun," then you're going to love it here. It's a love-hate thing. One or the other, pretty much. It's not much like other places, and it's really as good as they say, but it's sure as hell not for everyone.
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