Over Spring Break, I had the opportunity to return home and visit friends who attend universities in California. I was able see into the lives of both those who attended public and private universities. These visits gave me a glimpse into the life I would have had if I had chosen to attend such universities.
When I was going through the application process, I did not have the opportunity to visit or stay overnight at many of the colleges that I applied to. The only college I stayed at overnight was Rice, and this definitely impacted my decision to come here. Visiting colleges, and specifically staying overnight, can give you a completely different view of a college and the ability to more personally judge the fit of a college for you.
However, when visiting colleges, there is often a great deal of importance placed on the food and the dorms. Take this information with a grain of salt. For example, when visiting my friends back home, some of them had very nice dorm rooms and great food but talked about how their classes had hundreds of people or how crowded the libraries are or even difficulty getting transfer credit.
When looking at colleges, it is important to look at the full picture, the academic life, the social life, and the personal life. Visit as many colleges as possible and talk to the students there. Get as much first-hand information as possible and gauge your judgement of each college personally. Things read or seen online may not necessarily reflect what you experience at a college.
Although I enjoyed visiting my friends, seeing their lives in their respective colleges reaffirmed my decision to choose Rice. I would encourage all of you that can to come and visit Rice and get a glimpse into our lives.
Sometimes it’s just one of those weeks. It seems like everything that can go wrong does. Life at Rice is filled with fulfilling relationships, unique opportunities, and a beautiful campus, but also stress and academic commitments. When work piles up and exams are coming up, stress can build up and you can begin to feel overwhelmed.
I’ve experienced stress associated with academics across my life at different schools, and Rice is no exception. However, at Rice, there’s an incredibly supportive community that makes it better even when everything seems to be falling apart. Besides numerous academic resources like academic fellows at each residential college, review sessions, and TA sessions, it is incredibly easy to find other students to form a study group with. This collaborative environment works to alleviate stress and frustration that can build up when you’re trying to do a million things at once by yourself.
Further than just academic stress though, the Rice community has allowed me to meet individuals that work me through any of the numerous unexpected crises that have come up this year. Life at Rice is filled with highs and lows, but the friends I’ve made and the people I have met always find a way to make a rough time not seem so bad.
Rice is competitive, but collaboratively competitive, meaning you can always find someone who is more than willing to help you in academics or in life. I have never felt pitted against my classmates or felt an ‘every man for himself’ attitude since I’ve come to Rice. When you enter college, you never know what kind of situations may come up, and you may face things you never expected, encountered, or planned for. But at Rice, there’s always someone who’s gone through what you’re going through and is willing to be there for you.
One of the biggest transitions I encountered upon coming to Rice was the social environment. I came from a school that was academically highly competitive and this competition seemed to seep into all the interactions and relationships I had. Don’t get me wrong, I had close friends, but the general social environment I was used to was mostly unhealthy.
When I came to Rice however, I found a family in the truest sense of the word, and it started from the minute I set foot on campus for O-Week. I had envisioned a difficult transition to college and that I would have a hard time meeting new people, especially because I’m not an outgoing person. However, I couldn’t have been more wrong. O-Week really is a one of kind experience that indescribably helped me formed strong relationships with really great people. It creates such a strong community of new students and advisors, and ever since, I’ve never felt out of place at Rice.
Rice really is a social culture unlike any other. Beyond just O-Week, the residential college system allows you to form unique relationships with people you would never usually interact with. At any time, you can walk down into the commons at Lovett and find people working or talking at a table and sit with them. There is never a feeling of exclusive social groups or distinction between grades or majors. Everyone interacts with one another and is open to engaging and having genuine social interactions with you.
Further than even a place where you feel comfortable, the social environment at Rice really is a culture of care. This culture extends beyond just your physical well-being, it’s a culture that values you as yourself, as a person and does it’s best to be there for you in all aspects of your life whether it be emotionally, physically, mentally, or socially. In all interactions, this sentiment is evident. Continue reading