Don’t Be Fooled by a False First Glance of Rice

A few weekends ago, our campus was visited by enthusiastic students from across the country in search of experiencing life at Rice. These prospective students were part of Rice’s fly-in program Vision, which draws a diverse range of people from this year’s pool of applicants. As I saw the excited, nervous, and awed faces of these prospies, I was forced to reminisce on my own experience at Vision last year.
I still cannot believe that it has been an entire year since I was in the same position as those high school students. My first year at Rice is passing by at a thousand miles per second, and soon I will be forced to leave my beloved residential college for the summer. Thinking back on my own experience at Vision, I came to the realization that it provided me with an incomplete perspective of student life at Rice. In all honesty, I disliked my first visit to Rice because it portrayed an academically-competitive, boring and challenging environment. I left with a bad impression , erroneously believing that this college was full of “awkward nerds”. Had it not been for the wonderful advice that I received from enrolled Rice students, I would have never committed to this school.
If you find yourself feeling out of place at Rice during your first visit, don’t fear. There is no way to capture a realistic image of student life at Rice in just a few days. You need to live through the sense of excitement during Matriculation, the bonding times during Orientation Week, and the college-pride of being in your residential college to truly experience a snippet of what being a Rice Owl is really like. From taking a selfie with President Leebron to attending the numerous cultural shows held by student organizations, life at Rice is unexpected, thrilling and worthy. There will be Friday nights when you will be stuck studying at the library or Sunday mornings where you will be overwhelmed by all the work that you procrastinated over the weekend, but that’s just part of the sacrifices that a college education requires. College life is difficult and challenging and never ending at times, but there’s a big Rice family waiting to help you out.

Selfie with President Leebron


Being a Non-STEM Student at Rice

When I was first deciding on a college to attend, I was initially discouraged about coming to Rice because I am a Humanities major. I thought that I would feel inadequate and less worthy surrounded by brilliant pre-med minds and the future engineers of the world. I was also fearful of the idea that as a Humanities major I would be unable to have the same opportunities as the rest of my classmates. As my first semester at Rice nearly comes to an end (thankfully), I”ve reflected on the fact that I love studying Humanities at Rice.
While some of my classmates are stressed out about Chem midterms and others are struggling with computer science classes,  I am fighting battles of my own. Readings of more than 300 pages per week and constantly writing essays is just as difficult as all the other academic challenges that my classmates are facing. Rather than fulfilling the scary perception that I had established in my mind of STEM majors, I’ve found the Rice community to be very encouraging and collaborative. After making the mistake of taking a calculus class for pure joy purposes (when it wasn’t necessary at all for my major), I’ve had the opportunity to bond with individuals from a variety of different majors, ranging from biochemistry to civil engineering to physics. Despite the fact that I am not the smartest person when it comes to optimization and integrals, they have never discredited my intelligence and have instead tried to find ways to help me understand hard concepts. I love the Rice community of caring and unconventional wisdom because people always receive my inquiries and doubts with open arms.
I am the first person to admit that academic life at Rice is challenging, stressful and never-ending at times. However, I’ve come to cherish the TA sessions and long hours spent at the library because of the amazing,helpful people I’ve met along the way.