Parking on campus is a nightmare. You will get a ticket and it will haunt you until you pay up. For this reason it is a real pain to have a car on campus. Wait until you live in a house and have a parking spot to bring a car to school. Plus, Oxford is so small that you won't really need one. Speaking of housing... you have to live in dorms your freshman and sophomore year unless you figure a way to out-smart the system. Living in the dorms has it perks, but it also means you aren't completely free from supervision just yet. Once you get to live off campus your life will significantly improve. Living in a house with a bunch of people is a blast, and the ideal place to live is in what they call the "mile square." This is literally four blocks north and south of Uptown so you are close to everything. Most places to live in this square have humorous yet often inappropriate house names. Miami students celebrate a tradition called "Green Beer Day" because Spring Break usually falls on St. Patrick's Day. GBD is always the Thursday before break begins and means that the bars in Oxford open at 5 a.m. and everyone drinks green beer. The university is not very fond of this tradition but it is a lot of fun. If you are under, watch out because the cops crack down at the bars on GBD. The key to college success is balance! You don't need to spend all your time studying and you shouldn't spend all you time drinking, so finding a happy median will keep your parents and the cops off your back. Summers in Oxford are amazing; make sure to spend one taking a class or two. It is a whole new world. It gets super hot in August and very cold during the winter, but when the temperature is mild the campus really comes alive. Miami has "Monday, Tuesday switch days." This is just as confusing as it sounds, and is in place to balance the classes missed because of the holidays that fall on Mondays.
I guess the thing I really want to express about Miami is to not get bogged down in the image. Looking on the surface, it is easy to see why Miami is labeled so harshly. But college, any college really, is absolutely what you make it. And despite the fact that this is so very cliche, you really have to just stick to who you are, and as long as you do that, you'll find out where you fit into the campus. Like I said, I really did not want to go Greek, but all my friends did. It was really crushing--as an 18-year-old, sitting alone in my room, suddenly without the friends I felt like I had just settled in with. It was really lonely for awhile, because they all had other things to do. But eventually, when things calmed down, the people who really were there to stay, came back. And two years later, I live with three of the people I met in my Freshman dorm, and have lived with since. They're my best friends, and we all have our separate activities, our separate paths; I went to Europe, some of them stayed in Oxford, some of us have jobs together, others don't. It really doesn't matter, because in the end, I did what I wanted to do, tried out things I was interested in, and found out that Miami fit me just as well as it fit the sorority girl. So, I guess, in parting, do try to look deeper, and see that even if we aren't so diverse on the surface, there is more to us than just the clothes. And Uggs, after all, aren't really so bad.
Miami is overall a good school, and on the whole I'm glad I chose to go here. There just seem to be several odd things about it. It's very image-based, and this is reflected in the way students dress and behave, down to the way the campus and the buildings are designed. All the new buildings are designed to look really neat, but then you realize that they fail functionality-wise. Case in point: the 10 foot ceilings in my university-owned apartment. They look really cool, but the heating costs are so much higher, and it tends to be really cold in the winter. It's not very cozy. And all the wasted space in the new engineering building. A giant room with a staircase smack dab in the middle? TVs hung at random places that your eyes never bother to look? Why not! It looks nice, right? And that's all that matters? Yes, these things are very trivial. But I honestly think it reflects upon the rest of the university.
Overall, I think Miami is a great school in terms of meeting new people and becoming socially comfortable with things outside of your comfort zone. The academic departments need work because a lot of the profs aren't full-time so you don't really have a steady adviser to help you (I had 7 before I graduated in 2008). And while the students can be snobby and pretentious, it is easy to find people more like yourself in your dorm or in your major related classes. I am still friends with people from my freshman dorm and they mean a lot to me. Miami can be sold short on a lot of things, but the need to branch out and meet new people isn't one of them.
It was unique because the campus was located in a town called Oxford. This help bring about an special togetherness between university and community that I will never forget. While playing basketball at Miami University, I was able to meet people both from the community and inside on campus poeple. This made for a very rich experience that I think some other campuses might miss out on. Also, the education that a person can recieve from Miami University is tremendous in its potential to jumpstart a person into the world. Miami's academics and environment are its best qualities.
Miami is removed from the hustle and bustle of a urban center, but is 45 minutes and an hour away from two metropolitan areas. Miami has many distinguished professors and alumni that are willing to help. I have gotten to work with some of the leading researchers in Exercise Science, such as my academic advisor, who is a Fellow of the ACSM. There is also a unique bond with the Cincinnati Children's Health Medical Center, where I perform some of my research. Miami has also given me the opportunity to explore other areas of interest such as Engineering Physics.
Miami is unique in many ways, but something that stands out is the fact that Miami uses its size to their benefit. Miami's 15,000 undergraduates make it easy to constantly meet new people, but also form close relationships with students as well. Many of the other schools I considered were much larger and didn't really focus on getting the whole campus involved in activities. Miami's size allows students to participate in school wide events, bring people together, and create new realtionships that I know will last me a lifetime.
Miami has the "Oxford Bubble". The lifestyle here is different, the people, even houses are different. There is crime but no where near normal city rates, this is very much a college town. The staff and faculty really want to help and the people they are hire are one of a kind. The staff has a very "Miami" feel; they are kind, up-beat, assertive and problem solvers. They treat you like a person and not just a face. The campus is breath-taking, there is so much greenery and it looks so clean and crisp with the red brick.
Miami's traditions were apparent to me from the first time I stepped foot on campus and the excellence of their business program stood out amongst the others. Traditions such as avoiding the school's seal located in the central quad in order to avoid bad luck on one's next exam combined with the beautiful foliage that surrounds all of the red brick buildings around campus helped me to decide that Miami University was the place for me. Excellence isn't a destination, it's a journey, and Miami makes that journey possible.
Miami does a lot with studying abroad. Take advantage of it! I didn't go for an entire semester, I went during the summer. It was wonderful. If you can do a whole semester, I suggest it. You'll come back in debt, it's inevitable. However, the experiences that you will have outweigh the costs ten-fold. As I said, Miami does a lot with studying abroad and they can work with you financially if need be. DEFINITELY take advantage of this opportunity, you'll be so glad if you do.