Oregon Travel Diary Day 3: Visiting University of Oregon

Hey everyone! So this concludes my two part series of the documentation of my Oregon trip over spring break. It’s currently Sunday and I’m pushing to get a lot done before the start up of school tomorrow, so let’s get into it!

Day Three: Friday, March 23rd, 2018

Itinerary:

○ University of Oregon Duck Days (12 PM – 4:30 PM)

So in these posts I wanted to give the most detailed recount of how it felt to be on campus and what I learned from my visit, and I do think I was very successful at that with the OSU post. However, I unfortunately did not have the same impactful experience at my U of O visit, and therefore do not have as much info. to share with you all 😦 I’m trying my best to separate the situational differences between the days from the inherent differences between the schools, but it’s harder than you’d imagine. I’ll try my best to explain (with as little amount of complaining as possible) as I guide you through what my day was like.

Check-in + Opening Ceremony (1 PM – 1:30 PM)

So check in and the “specifically for seniors” panel discussion was a little more than 30 minutes of introducing the school and a lot of talk about the school’s successes. The panel was present to state what they specialized in at U of O and to answer any student or parent questions about the school. One of the most talked about aspects of U of O at the panel were the “FIGs” and the “ARCs”

F.I.G. = “First-Year Interest Group”

A.R.C.= “Academic Residential Communitiy”

Although confusing at first, what I understand the difference between the two is that the FIG is an academic experience in which 20 or so students take 3 courses together that are tied to an overall theme. So an example of a FIG would be animal behavior, human genomes, chemistry in nature, etc. Students in those FIGS would take classes together based on that topic. In short, it’s basically a way to connect with people during your first term at U of O.

A SAC on the other hand is a living arrangement dedicated to students who share the same interests. So basically, you can live with other people who either share your passions or study the same major. Pretty simple.

All the rest of the 30 minutes was kind of in one ear and out the other…oops.

○Academic Interest Sessions (2:30 PM – 3:30 PM)

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This is where I must hold back my complaining…

The academic interest sessions started off nice because we the science group were greeted by a very enthusiastic physics professor who gave an interesting and informative introduction speech about the benefits of studying at U of O. He repeated how much funding the University receives for research, and specifically, noted something very important: 80% of students doing research at U of O are undergraduates. This is exciting to me because that means that there are only 20% worth of graduate students to compete for funding for scientific research. This is something I never really thought about when it came to what my career in the natural sciences would look like, so I made sure to keep that noted.

But alas, the fun died there.

After the physics professor was done, he handed the mic over to a woman who had retired from U of O to give the actual specialized interest session. First of all, these sessions were not broken down into “specializations,” because I, the aspiring environmental scientist, got stuck with the generalized biology group in the emphasis of medicine.

Um…okay? Let’s just ride it out. I told myself. Maybe it’ll still relate to what I want to do…

Yeah, no. This lady not only talked over her time limit, what she was talking about was almost irrelevant to everyone in the room, because you know what I listened to for about 30-40 minutes? Other people’s success stories. I couldn’t help but sit there thinking: this!! isn’t!! important!! And of course it would’ve been too rude to get up and leave to try to ask to join other sessions, so I had to ride it out.

By the end of that, I told Colleen (who agreed) that we honestly could’ve just checked in at 12 and left and came back at 4 when the supposed to be funcampus tour started.

○ Campus Tour (3:40ish PM – 4:30 PM)

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So it is important to note that this campus tour was 30 minutes shorter than my OSU tour and that there were more people on this tour than OSU, but I honestly don’t think the 30 minutes or amount of people made much of a difference in the quality of the tour and in the information we were supposed to be getting. This is where there are a lot of situational differences that are swaying my opinion, but I’m really trying here. This is what I learned from the campus tour:

  • U of O is a giant football school (this is probably obvious to everyone in the world but me)

  • There are 18 different dorm layouts around the school

  • Some dorms have floors that are dedicated to LGBT+ students, which is awesome!

  • U of O is on a quarter system (which has pros and cons)

  • Pros of quarter sys: more classes and less time enrolled in those classes (AKA if you hate your class you can be comforted by the thought of being done with it sooner than you would on semester sys)

  • Cons of quarter sys: Easier to fall behind (AKA if you slack on this sys you’ll get overwhelmed faster than you think you do now in high school).

  • The school is more modern, as it is right in the middle of Eugene

  • The school is on an uphill slope, so be prepared

  • There are actual ducks that roam freely around the campus. How appropriate.

As you may be able to tell, big difference in the

amount of things learned about this school vs. OSU…

And this isn’t even a case of me “playing down” the University to push my agenda of liking OSU better, I mean I really didn’t retain much from the tour, and I do think that is unfortunate because I’d like to have more to report in case others are in need of a detailed review. Anyway, here are the most immediate and inherent pros and cons of U of O:

Pros:

  • The school is big. It feels like a university. If you’re looking for a big school feel, this is it.

  • Close to familiar things like Target, a shopping mall, a cinema, a Barnes & Noble, etc.

  • It does have great research opportunities for science people like me

  • Quarter system (depending on what kind of student you are)

  • Is big on football (if you played during high school and want to continue, it’ll probably be good to do that here)

  • Takes school rivalry very seriously

  • It “feels like an Eastern school” -Colleen

Cons:

  • The dorm layout that is most abundant on campus is REALLY cramped.

  • It’s not that “big school small feel” kind of scenario, if you were hoping

  • Bipolar weather (we’re still in OR)

  • (Personally) I just didn’t feel connected to the school…

So there’s the opinion. It’s into the world. Overall, my trip to Oregon and seeing the schools was definitely a lot of fun even if I was a bit disappointed with U of O.

A personal and special thank youuuuu from me to my Godmom and Colleen for making this particular trip possible, and another thank you to Linda for the preceding NAU trip as well. I’ve got so much love surrounding me, and I hope the appreciation is shown.

Can’t wait to do my school-of-choice post next month!

….Did I really just say next month?!

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