The University of Maryland - College Park
The University of Maryland - College Park - Comments and Student Experiences|
But as the year went on, I found out what Maryland was about. If I were to choose which school I would go to back in senior year of high school, I would have definitely not picked UMD.
The classes are huge and impersonal. You are able to skip any class at any time because none of the professors know your name. Classes are based not around in-class learning and relevant material, but textbook crunching. Rather than learning from the professor, you end up skipping class midway through the semester because you realize that you're not learning anything important. That said, you can just read the textbooks and take the exams and still do just as well (if not better) as someone who has attended all the lectures.
Some people say the campus is pretty and I agree, it has some nice spots. But much like a pool of poop with gold at the bottom, you'll mostly be staring at the shit. The alumni center is closed off to students. It's really pretty, but there's a steel gate surrounding it to prevent people from getting in. The student athletes have their own cafeteria, which is fenced off and closed to everyone else. Also, there's red brick everywhere -- it gets kind of old.
College Park as a town is horrendous. In a two week period over winter break, 5 students were shot and one had his home broke into (in which he was subsequently shot and killed). There are rundown, closed stores everywhere resembling the economic decay of CP. When I was walking on route one, I saw some black guy beat up his girlfriend as she ran across a busy highway. I also saw a guy threaten someone with a gun. Enough said, this town is a dump.
Let's move onto costs. The diner food isn't good. It's not horrendous and it's certainly edible, but it gets old pretty fast. The food is not all you can eat and they overcharge you for EVERYTHING. I've easily paid over $20 for a meal that is cafeteria quality food. They charge you just for using a cardboard container rather than a tray. About 2/3 the way through this semester, after eating healthy food and gaining muscle through good diet, I ran out of dining points. I've paid an extra $500 in dining related expenses since then. I'm not fat either: I'm 6'2" 160 lbs. If you're an out of state student and are attracted to the cheap tuition, don't go here. They'll make you pay the rest in dining expenses.
Apparently, the students outside my hall are pretty friendly. Try to be placed in an honors/scholars dorm or you might hate it. I got placed with the worst people in the school. I've gotten in two physical fights, both of which I have not instigated. One was started because I was talking to some kids and somebody wanted to rough me up for no reason so he started slamming me against the wall. Then some other kid earlier this semester decides it's funny to spray shaving cream all over my bed. Overall, the guys are stupid, lazy, and drunks. At least one day every week, there's someone's puke smelling up the bathroom. Some always want me to do their homework because they're too lazy to learn the actual material. The girls are just as bad. Some are just plain mean while others just act nice to use you to do their homework. And while there are some really great people who go to this school, they are smart enough to usually go home over the weekend because they know just how boring it is in CP. This school is too big to keep in contact with people on a regular basis, so it's tough to have a good social life if the people on your floor sucks.
Luckily, the academics are easy. I hear engineering is hard, but all the other courses seem pretty easy. I have yet to get less than a B and I don't consider myself that smart. I was able to do very well my first two semesters and got into some very good transfer schools, such as William and Mary and UNC.
Overall, this school isn't great.
As for social life, there are plenty of things to do and people to meet here. I didn't meet as many friends as I hoped to my freshman year because I was stuck in a primarily-sophomore dorm, but I still met a couple of people that I connected with. This year I met so many more. Honestly sometimes you just have to go out of your comfort zone and go ahead and introduce yourself; that's how I met almost everyone this year, and we're all such good friends now. Before attending this school, I was super shy and reserved. Most of the time RAs will have activities to introduce you to your hallmates, and you'll end up being extremely good friends very quickly, so there's really nothing to worry about in that aspect. Plus, people here are always willing to go out and play games, sports, or just plain hang out watching tv or playing video games. Sunny days at Maryland are the best because students will just be out on the mall enjoying the weather (biggest mall in the nation, btw).
Back to classes... Teachers are almost always there to help you. if not, there are guided study sessions, TA hours, free tutoring services. There are a variety of ways to get help if you are struggling in a class; many people form study groups (and I highly recommend that because some of the classes here are impossible to survive without one). Come to Maryland.. you won't regret it! I sure don't.
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