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Wow. All I can say is, if you value individuality I would strongly recommend you not go here. I find it hard to be in this place. Granted, the town is safe, but the lack of diversity is astounding, and the town seems to be made of people who strive to look the same and act the same- a kind of bland midwestern persona or a annoyingly snooty and arrogrant east coaster. Those two subgroups make up 99.99 percent of the campus. There international students the school is so proud of are all from Asia, which is nice and all, but the school would have you believe they come from all over- really only the grad students do. The treatment of minority issues in class is fair and honest, but the town of Madison does not follow suit- racism might be hard to see at first (outside of the basically all white student body), but after living here a while the situation of blacks in the town becomes heartbreaking-students could care less about them, and they seem so segregated, like they're swept off campus or something. Many students would not consider interracial dating, and I believe that says alot. For most students, this is not a problem, but if you believe a good education cannot be so unless it includes all kinds of people, you will get verrry frusterated. As for the social life- honestly students are ambitious and very full of themselves off state street (main street) area...the private dorms are notorious for the eastern metrosexuals and catty girls. Those from the midwest are more layed back and typically have a good sense of humor, but are cliquish with friends from home and go home often if from wisconsin. Parties are everywhere, but there just seems to be something lacking in the scene. Nobody seems to think to deeply for themselves-they are slaves to their texts and study only for tests...it is actually very dissapointing. Paradoxically, classes here are always interesting and mind broadening. Professors are great and accesable, and the lecture halls are the perfect size. However, going to classes is hideous, as it can be (and usually is) horrifically freezing here...and its a huge campus to walk across. It can be very discouraging to try to go to class (if you come for a tour, they will be scheduled one of the 6 or so weeks when its warm out...sneaky) The discussions can be infuriating because students rarely discuss-I've had TA's just completely kinda twidle their thumbs and such to fill the time. Advising is also a challenge, considering the majority of departments in L and S literally have advisors there for no reason. You come in to be advised and they got nothing to say. Other schools, like human ecology, have great advising services. It is also maddeningly frusterating to get into many programs (journalism, education, design, business, theater are all very competitive, to name a few) even if you're at UW, which is something they dont tell you in the brochures, The school and town are artistically inspiring if you actually go out of your way to look for oppertunities to get involved- theres a great art gallery, some community theater, and tons of local bands that nobody ever talks about but if you see them are guarenteed to be fun. Sports are huge here, tailgating parties are fun. The school offers very interesting lectures and clubs and discussions. Honestly, academically it is a very good place to be-the classes and other UW-sponsored learning activities themselves are great. But the social scene is full of pretty superfiscial carbon copies, and it can be very trying at times. My experience personally has been nightmarish, though outwardly it might have seemed normal and fun. To live in madison is to live in a classist society...
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