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Eckerd College was an interesting experience. Firstly, the Professors were amazing. They're really open to hear your opinion and are willing to work with you after hours to make sure that you are up to speed. Not to mention, in general, they seem like quality people who you wouldn't mind having a beer with. There are, of course, a few duds, but you'll find those anywhere. A cool thing about Eckerd is that you can push yourself as hard as you want. That competitive environment is fairly non-existent here, so it's up to you to make the most of your opportunity. Secondly, the general atmosphere of the beach combined with some really close friends made my stay enjoyable for the most part. Even though ethnic diversity is somewhat lacking, there are many different types of personalities and most people (about 90%) are laid back and accepting. Going out on weekends to the beach (which is beautiful), having dorm parties, and going into the city for Saturday morning market provided me with some of my best memories. If your a tech-y or a person who really hates fake hippies (unfortunately, we have groups) then you probably should look elsewhere. Other than that, people are pretty cool and by the end of 4 years you know most everyone in your class. Whether your ultra religious, ultra-liberal, a jock, etc. etc. -- there's a place to fit in here. Also, I've known many of shy kids who really blossomed and broke out of their shells here. Now for the negatives. I don't know if this is the case for all colleges, but there was a lot of busy work at times in a good portion of my classes. I didn't appreciate that too much because it was a lot of extra effort for no extra learning. A second negative was that their dorms (the traditional ones) were God awful. While they do admit-tingly create a sense of community, they are outdated and dirty on the whole. I heard that they are renovating them soon, which I'm jealous of because I had to suffer through colds due to the mold in the air conditioning ducts. The bay front dorm is cool, but you can't get into it unless you're an upperclassman. A third negative thing is alcohol and weed use, which some people would consider a positive. While drinking is fun and all, your body tends to hate you after year 3 of continuous partying. Unfortunately, there is little else to do on Friday and Saturday nights. Some fun epic nights, but too much for me. Now for advice time. If you wind of coming here, this is very important advice. 1.) As a freshman, make sure to take the Leadership and Self Discovery course, which is only offered to Freshmen during winter term. This is a great way to meet new people and feel connected to the college. 2.) Get involved with at least one sports club and some sort of service project. This way you can get your exercise some other way than the gym and you get to meet people in the community. This will make you feel good and also more connected. Maybe by senior year you'll be leading a service trip abroad (which many students do) during the spring term or you'll be a president of a sports club 3.) Check out internship opportunities via your Professors. This is important for getting a job after college. 4.) Make sure you pace yourself. Too much partying or too much work can make things unpleasant. 5.) Get off the cafe plan by year two if possible -- too much greasy food and not enough healthy alternatives. 6.) A step I never took - but I would recommend by Junior or Senior year to have an apartment off campus. The last year you're pretty tired of the campus. Make sure to have a solid group of friends though and a solid living situations before doing so. 7.)The Anthropology curriculum is hard, but rocks. 8.) Environmental Studies is fun too, but make sure you kind of take some science classes too - i made that mistake and kind of in limbo in terms of what to do in that field. 9.) Marine Science is for those who are serious ab school - this is the strongest program here and is pretty well known out in the real world. 10.) Don't date too soon. 11.) Be smart.
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