Thursday, August 13, 2009

College Smollege :P

Well, whaddy'a know. I was halfway through this (was) lengthy post, and suddenly I hit the wrong button in my clumsy stupor, and the whole post is GONE. I wasn't connected to the internet when I was typing it either, so the undo didn't work. Just my luck ;P.

In any case I think I'll be a little lazier now and just kind of highlight some things, because it's getting late and I'm not feeling up to remember what all I said before. I think I rambled on too much in the first attempt anyways.

Every time I step out of my small town bubble I'm slapped with the realization that it's a whole lot more competitive out in the "real world", if that's what you'd like to call it. Even in the high school stages. Where I am now, I feel like I'm in good shape. I score well in just about everything, take up my extracirriculars, and I have a basic idea of what I want to make of my life. But outside of Smalltown, New York, other kids my age, including many of you are well on their way down the college path already. Am I in any AP courses? No, our school doesn't offer them, and I never thought to seek out the community college in the summer, which I regret. Am I in good standings with my SATs and ACTs? Nope, I haven't even studied for them on my own time. I went to a few afterschool sessions, but it didn't do much because I couldn't make it every one. Now it's crunch time. I need those scorings to begin the whole application process. I also need to check into scholarship opportunities/financial aid. It's just so much.. And I feel like I kind of have to do it alone. My mom supports me, and would love to see me go off to a great college, but she never went, and doesn't know much about the whole process. She's a great help, taking me to visit the schools, but I know she'd rather not have to meddle with the pesky details. I don't blame her. So this week I visited both SUNY Geneseo and University of Rochester. Both of them had their own sets of advantages and bummers, I'll attempt to organize them as best I can.


* The campus was beautiful, really nice architecture.

* The tourguide really seemed to love her school. She was energetic and loved her study abroad trip to Italy through Geneseo. She was the most talented person I've ever witnessed at walking backwards. Especially for an hour and a half long tour session.
* It had alot of resources. Rental electronics from ipods and cameras to laptops, free of charge. Library personel who are there to proofread/give opinions on your papers. Computer program that tells you which washers/dryers are free so you don't go down there to find them unavailable when you do your laundry. Buses that come along every 20 minutes to run you around town. Weekend bus to Rochester. Student tutors that are available til 10 in the evening.

* You're allowed to bring your car to campus no matter what year you are. But it costs money.

* Sense of security/trust. Faculty allow students to use equipment and resources pretty freely, whatever you need you can usually get your hands on. No real issues of safety.

*It received an award for campus dining, which is kind of rare.

* Opportunity to apply for the Writer's Hall, which a suite with fellow students with the same interests, where they can really focus on their passions.

* REQUIRED COURSES. That was a major "D:" for me. When I imagine college, I think of the freedom of choosing all of your courses of interest. I mean, it's probably fairly flexible, like for art you can opt for something like photography. But I don't know about math or sciences. Or what all they require anyways. But I don't like the idea of having to fill up my schedule with particular classes that don't necessarily prime me for my future career.

* Maybe it's a little too convenient. I mean, in theory all of those resources sound great. But I feel like I should be gaining independence at college, not expecting others to assist me all along the way. Feedback from professors is always wonderful, but I don't feel like I should have someone else read through my papers and help "make it better", I should be able to make it the best I can on my own. Plus some of those things would make it pretty easy for me to become lazy.

*There isn't much to well.. do. To be fair I never saw "downtown", but from where I was two miles off campus at my hotel, it wasn't too exciting. There was a Walmart, Subway,Wegmans, Sears, and a movie theater basically. It's definitely better than my town, but not quite the excitement I was hoping for after highschool.

University of Rochester.

* The whole reason I explored this University was because of a generous scholarship opportunity I received for the Frederick Douglass and Susan B. Anthony award, which if I'm accepted, will take care of roughly $30,000 tuition. That's a nice sized portion.

* The area is teeming with life and vibrance. It's a great art and indie music scene, I'd love being close to that. Especially with all of the great musicians that come there.

*Both of the tour guides were teriffic. Funny guys, who offered what I felt to be honest insight of the college. They told us places to get free food, the cool places to study, and the places to head to when you want solitude and quiet when you're readings. Professors are helpful, and there are opportunities to get involved in projects, including published books. When students assist in the making of the research/text, they're given written credit in the book. The two guys seemed really "at home" when showing us around, they weren't "selling" us on the school like past students have, they were just chill and honest. You could tell they enjoyed it there though.

* The buildings here are great too, everyting is pretty visually appealing. Students really play a prominent role in the place, like one group chose how to renovate the social studying area, and it's wicked cool in there. Students also voice their opinions in The Campus Times, which one of the guides went through the trouble of scrounging up a personal copy for me :).

*Rochester is a brutally cold and snowy area, but all of the campus buildings are connected by tunnels, so you don't even have to trudge through the snow with all of your materials. I'm just not sure if the dorms are a part of this network, but regardless it's still cool.

*YOU CREATE YOUR CIRRICULUM. Such a relief to hear after Geneseo. Whatever you want to learn, you have the opportunity to. It doesn't even have to apply to your major, really. Like I of course want to be involved in Creative Writing and Journalism, but they told me it would be easy for me to also sign up for Political Science, Philosophy, Languages, whatever I wanted. I like the sound of that.

*Studying abroad is covered in your tuition costs. There really isn't any excuse not to go :). Plus they offer a wide range of places to see.

*Research is a large part of the school, students have access to many tools. Some of these include very old original documents, like those from Frederick Douglass. Students can actually view these with proper care. Mostly everyone receives work related experience through Rochester before they graduate.
* It's slightly easier to get into Rochester than it is Geneseo. It's still competitive, but not at the same frightening level. Also, it's a bit closer to home, although not by much, hahah.

*I was able to meet with an Admissions Counselor and have an interview, so the school could get to know me better as an individual. I found that to be unique.
* I was not able to see the dormitories. However, I assume they're just as unimpressive as every other one I've seen, haha. A dorm's a dorm.

* The area isn't as "safe" as smaller towns like Geneseo. It's a city, so crime exists. I'm not used to it, but I'm sure it's something that I'd be capable of getting accustomed to. You just need to be more aware of your surroundings.

Whichever I choose, including other schools, the distance is a little scary. I feel like all of my friends are going to stay in this town, and when I leave, I might lose a little bit of them.. Things might not ever be the same, I'm scared they'll all have wonderful times together after I leave, and once I return, I might not fit in with them quite the way I did before.. Sigh. :/.
I feel like I need a change of scenery though. I've lived here my entire life, I'm sick of these same roads, same stores. I've explored nearly every corner of the place. I'm not saying it's bad, but I would definitely like being somewhere new, digging the places and the people. Especially when it's an exciting city-esque setting. I don't really care to forefeit that.
The path ahead is a bit unclear, but I'll trudge my way through it one way or another.

Straight out of the

jar :)


Nicole Linette said...

Olive.. that's awesome! The pros and cons you've listed from the impressions made were excellent! Enthusiastic tour guides always help, and I love those ones who seem to give a little extra besides the required schpeel. I spent a day at SUNY Geneseo in their library doing research back in May, then had lunch at this lovely cafe in town. There's definitely a "bubble" comfort-feeling going on, but all the transportation options would help a lot. I have to say, it's very admirable how you pointed out for a "con", that you didn't want professors to just hand you the grades -- you'd rather put overwhelming effort and maybe sacrifice a perfect grade. That is amazing.
Rochester is kinda iffy because of all the crime, but that's unavoidable in any city. If you can see yourself there, I say go for it. Did they tell you about Waterstreet? There's concerts there all the time, usually for under 15 bucks :). And you could eat at the Dinosaur BBQ! Oh, how I love that place, haha.

If you have anymore questions about this area, ask away! I'm so glad you're trips were a success :D


natalie said...

Acckk, I hate it when Blogger does extremely stupid things like eating posts and comments XP Hopefully it doesn't eat this one too....

I've never been to tour any colleges or anything quite yet, but I'm sure I'm going to be in your exact same shoes when the time comes. I feel like I'm pretty smart, but I'm sure that once I get out of my teeny tiny town I'll feel completely under-prepared :P

Geneseo sounds pretty awesome with all of the electronic rentals, but the fact that you can't completely choose all of your courses is a downside... that's definitely something I really want to be able to do, so I'm not stuck taking something I hate. Rochester sounds like it would be great because of the scholarship on top of all of it's other perks, but yeah, I guess the crime thing is something to think about :p

Well, it sounds like both have upsides and downsides, so good luck making your end decision :) And have a great weekend!

Kaitlin said...

Whoa... University of Rochester sounds awesome, and Rochester is a pretty awesome city too.