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Michigan State University

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Date: Dec 31 1969
Major: Unknown (This Major's Salary over time)
Here are my comments about Mich. State University in the 1970's. There were many opportunities for independent study in areas of interest, for research participation, and for practicum experience, such as earning academic credit for working in programs with mentally retarded adults, working at a state mental hospital, and teaching reading in adult literacy classes. I got a great deal of practical experience that led to a job in my field (I was psychology major) while waiting to get into med school. I worked for a couple years as Executive Director of a group home for mentally retarded adults. Also, the experiences I gained helped me to feel comfortable in the mental health field and contributed to my getting into med school and in my gravitating to psychiatry where I did well in med school and since then. I was very much "at home" in psychiatry because of experiences gained during under grad years at Mich. State. The Honors college was great for giving me the flexibility I needed to develop the independent studies that served me best.

I will say I am a little different case since I essentially double majored in psychology and pre-med though pre-med is not an actual major. I was not primarily seeking to go to grad school for psychology but it was my official major while trying to prepare for and get into med school. The pre-med courses were excellent though by now, 25+ years later, the faculty and courses are not the same.

Although the practical experiences I developed on my own was great, and I loved the flexibility, I do feel that many of the courses were wastes of time and that the thinking at the university tends to pull students away from moral values and beliefs they would have held at home.

For example, the Human Sexuality course for sophomores showed an explicit film of a man and woman having sex, for the expressed purpose of causing a breakdown of inhibitions. My understanding is that it was a goal of the professor for students to realize that sex is natural and to feel comfortable enjoying, even for unmarried students. The course was videotaped and shown to thousands of students all over campus, with discussions held in small groups led by trained facilitators, covering each new topic.

I worked as a volunteer in a free clinic which served students and others, where people were treated were sexually transmitted diseases, birth control pills handed out (new research has linked the pills to cancer) and where young women were referred for abortions. If you think that abstinent young people should be encouraged to have sex so that they can get STD's, get pregnant, have abortions, etc. you'll especially love MSU. Little known fact, they also had an extremely high rate of rape when I was there, my recollection is that it was one of the highest in the U.S.

I also had roommates who had their boyfriends living in the dorm room with them.

While courses such as Comparative Anatomy and Comparative Physiology were taught well and I learned a lot from labs and lectures, some math and science courses were taught by foreign grad students who could barely speak English, and courses such as the one year intro biology course were beamed over closed circuit TV to thousands of students, with grad students leading homework sessions and labs.

Many of the Social Science classes seemed to me to be indoctrinating… The professors may hold that they are opening your mind to look at all possibilities, but the world view they promoted when I was there, is one where moms are irrelevant because day care can raise children just as well and abortion has to be a given. Newer research on child attachment and development shows that maternal-child bonding is extremely important for development, but I felt that there was an effort by some professors to prove that traditional patterns made no sense.

If you are very, very bright and can get straight into Honors College, if you want to develop your own program (which to a large extent you can in Honors College) it is probably a school to look at. If you have traditional values and want to be in an environment where they are supported, look carefully. If you want individualized instruction by competent faculty who speak English, look at your major and see how it is taught… many of those freshman and sophomore classes are shown on TV and not taught in normal size classes, also you do have many of those huge lecture halls with hundreds of students in one class. Honors college students get to bypass some of that.

I foolishly turned down an opportunity to get straight into Honors and then had to wait a year… so I had to take many of the large clases to meet requirements. Some were poorly taught and wastes of time, and the TV thing is not ideal.

As far as jobs, since earning my B.S. I have worked as a hospital pharmacy technician (which I had done since high school part time), as Executive Director of a group home for mentally retarded, and as a psychiatrist. Michigan State did not hurt me in getting where I am today educationally and career-wise though in terms of my personal life, I think I would have been better off and happier somewhere else.

I think some colleges and some majors would be very different experiences from my own, and that with the passing of so many years, some things may be different—or the same. I think it would pay anyone to examine these different issues at any school before registering.

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