Question yourself

High school and college are rather transformative times in your life. Whether it’s college applications or deciding your major, people are constantly asking you things like “Who are you?”, “What do you want to do?”, and “Why do you want to do it?”. While some people might already have the next decade of their life planned out to the hour, others might lack the faintest idea of what they’ll have for dinner. No matter which side of the spectrum you fall, it’s always a good idea to explore the resources you have, because you never know how they might change your mind.

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The Highs and Lows of Life at Rice

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.

Introducing our Brand New Instagram Account! @future_owls

This post is going to be a little bit different from the blogs that we normally post. Rather than talk about my favorite off-campus restaurants, my classes, or my residential college, I wanted to introduce you to SAC’s brand new Instagram account!

SAC, Student Admission Council, is the club on campus that works directly with the admission office in showcasing life at Rice to prospective students. Our job is to share our experiences with students exploring and applying to Rice. We give campus tours to visitors, we host students overnight in our dorm rooms, and we write this blog, among other things.

Starting this week, we are also making use of an Instagram account! We have created this in order to give a visual perspective of life at Rice to prospective students, from the perspective of current students. We hope this will give students a chance to picture themselves eating in a residential college commons, walking to class through the academic quad, or sipping a Nutty Bee from Coffeehouse while they study for that math exam. We hope this will be an especially helpful resource for prospective students who are unable to come visit campus themselves. You know what they say, a picture is worth 1000 words!

Additionally, we will use this account to provide information from the Admission Office regarding application deadlines, as well as information about Admit and Owl Days, which are coming up later this spring. We will theme the content on the account each week, so you’ll have the opportunity to learn about student life, off-campus food options, student events, and more.

Go ahead and follow @future_owls on Instagram! Check out our first few posts here: https://www.instagram.com/future_owls/

Being an Economics Major at Rice

Rice has one of the most prestigious undergraduate economics programs in the country, and when I was admitted to Rice as a Mathematical Economic Analysis major last year I was elated to start specializing my studies and begin a new chapter in my life. At the same time, though, the thought of living and breathing economics for the next four years seemed daunting, so I wanted to share my experience as a freshman studying economics for all the Future Owls reading this blog!

While Rice does allow you to place out of Principles of Economics (ECON 100) if you scored well enough on both the AP Microeconomics and AP Macroeconomics exams,  I highly recommend that all new students considering to major in economics take ECON 100! ECON 100 is taught by the one and only Dr. Jimmy DeNicco, who works full time at Rice teaching 4 ECON 100 lectures every semester! His lectures are filled with crazy sound effects and even crazier stories and analogies, but nonetheless Dr. DeNicco takes teaching his students very seriously, having quite possibly some of the most accessible office hours on campus, asking his students every week for advice to improve the lectures in exchange for a small bit of extra credit, and empathizing with his student’s struggles and doing whatever he can to help you understand the material. I came to Rice with a decent understanding of basic economics, and Dr. DeNicco’s class was the perfect refresher; there wasn’t a boring day with him!

However, should you choose to take advantage of your AP credits and place out of ECON 100, you would be taking ECON 200, Microeconomics, your first semester at Rice. I am currently taking ECON 200, and it is the polar opposite of 100! Whereas Dr. DeNicco is a rambunctious, spirited, fire-in-his-eyes kind of guy, Dr. Brown, my ECON 200 professor, is mellow, quick-witted, and serene (plus his voice is very soothing and patient!) And though Dr. DeNicco tries his best to steer away from using calculus in ECON 100, Dr. Brown embraces derivatives and multi-variable functions with open arms. That’s not to say that the lectures are confusing, though: Dr. Brown explains each concept he presents very thoroughly and stops frequently to make sure as few people as possible are confused. Like Dr. DeNicco, Dr. Brown makes it very clear at the start of the semester that he wants you to succeed, and is willing to even hold review sessions on Sunday afternoons and help you brush up on your calculus skills one-on-one if you need it! ECON 200 may be very technical and complex at times, but Dr. Brown is with you every step of the way.

The Economics and Mathematical Economic Analysis degree programs at Rice also include many other specialized economics courses for upperclassmen, like Behavioral Economics (ECON 210) and International Finance (ECON 421), but at the end of the day, if you decide economics is not right for you, Rice makes it very easy to switch majors! Rice requires you to declare your major by the second semester of sophomore year, but before then, most major paths are fair game! At Rice, you can take the time to figure out what you’re passionate about, even if it isn’t economics, and although you’ll only be able to find Dr. DeNicco and Dr. Brown in the ECON department, Rice’s professors are all caring, dedicated, and willing to help in their respective fields of study.

Happy Lunar New Year!

My friends and I formed a string quartet in our freshman year after we found that orchestra wasn’t our thing. I grew up playing cello, and luckily, I found some friends through the non-major orchestra who shared the same sentiment that I did. We played Dvorak and Beethoven quartets for our semesterly performances in the Rice Coffeehouse, but this year we were invited to play at the Chinese Student Association’s annual Lunar New Year Show, a cultural show for all Rice students that featured performances from dance groups, Vietnamese Student Association, and Rice Taiwanese Association as well as tons of delicious food.

Performing our pieces on the LNY stage

I’ve never celebrated Chinese New Year (which was yesterday, actually) despite being 100% Chinese, but it felt really good to perform in a show celebrating my heritage, something that I am learning to be proud of. LNY showcased modern and traditional Asian performance ranging from a traditional Vietnamese hat dance to modern hip-hop performances and a fashion show displaying statement pieces that are hot in the world of “crazy rich Asians.” Watching all the performances made me wish that I had put more effort into connecting with my heritage in college earlier on (I highly recommend joining a cultural club in college!), but I was nonetheless thankful for this opportunity to perform as a graduating senior. My quartet played two folk Chinese songs as well as the widely-known and loved pop song “Tong Hua”. Our performance was a success, and I enjoyed adding to the diversity of performances showcased that night.

My quartet! We’ve taken on a variety of names including Southside Quartet, Rice Farmers Quartet, and 7/8 Asian Quartet.

Hope for Humanities Students!

As a humanities student, it can be daunting to attend a school such as Rice—a university known for its STEM research and programs. Though I love my two fields of study, English and Ancient Mediterranean Civilizations, I sometimes wonder what opportunities I will be able to find after I graduate from Rice. Thankfully, the School of Humanities provides many opportunities for undergraduate students to enhance our studies and help us translate our education to a variety of professional environments.

One of these opportunities is the Accounting Workshop for Humanities Students, a one-day, non-credit workshop hosted by the School of Humanities and led by Professor Ben Lansford, Director of the Master in Accounting (MAcc) program at Rice’s Jones Business School. I recently attended this workshop after the Associate Dean of Humanities, Professor Lora Wildenthal, brought it to my attention. A basic understanding of accounting is essential in jobs for both nonprofit organizations and for-profit companies, so I decided that it would be beneficial to attend this workshop and dip my toe into the world of accounting for a day.

This workshop taught me what accountants do and how their job is relevant in the professional world. I left this experience with a better understanding of accounting and knowledge that I can use in careers I may not have considered if I had not attended this workshop. I am glad that I took advantage of this opportunity, and I look forward to attending more events geared towards humanities students such as myself in my remaining three years at Rice.