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I love the close, familiar environment that is a product of the small student body/campus and was upset when I heard that adm...
I love the close, familiar environment that is a product of the small student body/campus and was upset when I heard that administration was thinking of increasing the student body size. I would love to see diversity become more of an open dialogue between students than the lecture at white students that it seems to be. There is a lot of school pride and I wish more people outside of SoCal knew about OXY, because it is an amazing school for a number of reasons.
The student body is very diverse on all levels (race, religion, gender identity, SES) and I believe most students are comfortable interacting with everyone. The only people that may feel out of place on campus are republicans. Most students are from California, Oregon, and Washington. Many are also from the East Coast, though you can find students from all over. There is also a very large international student population. Most people do not get very dressed up for class, people are comfortable, though you may occasionally have to dress up for certain class meetings.
While the school promotes diversity, many students feel uncomfortable speaking about issues of race or ethnicity; even entering the multicultural hall can be an uncomfortable experience for some students who are not of color. OXY does promote dialogue when it comes to politics, but the main voice you hear is democratic.
The small class size is a real benefit to the school. All of my professors know me personally, and that helps to create a lot of opportunity. For example, students have the ability to conduct research with their professors during their time here, giving us great experience and a positive points on a resume. There are many interesting classes here that you would never find at other, especially larger schools. It can sometimes seem like a burden to fulfill the core requirements, but you get to experiment in various departments and perhaps find subjects you didn't know you are interested in.
There are many opportunities to get involved in groups, clubs, or sports on campus. Each hold specific events and most have very good turnouts. Most residence halls are social, doors are left open and neighbors get to know each other quickly; there is always something going on in the residence halls or on campus. Each year, the most attended events are Dance Production and Senior Film Comps. There are school sponsored events nearly every weekend. Our location in LA makes it very easy to explore the city if you want to get off campus.
The Occidental campus is thought to be very diverse and politically active.
Oxy promotes diversity but you will only experience that if you put yourself up for a challenge. Your major, your clubs, your...
Oxy promotes diversity but you will only experience that if you put yourself up for a challenge. Your major, your clubs, your extracurricular activities, your dorm....you choose to live in diversity or remain ignorant about. Oxy is challenging in every sense of the word. I have cried, I have been extremely upset, and I have a community that accepts me for who I am. You want diversity? You have to look for it and make it choice.
If you're not willing to face racism....don't come here. Oxy started off as a white, religious school. It is just starting to deal with diversity end even now you will face prejudices and racism. BUT...it's a place where you will find people that think and feel just the way you do. White students need to be challenged and Oxy is the place for that. Students of colors have a home here at Oxy, whether it be in Pauley Hall or multicultural clubs, you will find support.
Oxy is amazing...but we need students who will be more than willing to challenge faculty and administrators to fully embrace diversity.
To some extent, but every school has its folks who party.
Classes are small, hard, challenging, life changing. All this is up to you. Classes are so small that professors will always know your name. Dialogue classes will challenge you. Students are more about working together than competing for the best grade. Oxy has a lot of academic requirements, but they only broaden your curiosity. I decided to major in Urban Studies during my sophomore year after I started realizing that I was interested in social justice and the medical field.
Each dorm has its own life. Each dorm has its people that party till the crack of dawn and even of the weekdays. Who you live with is whats more important. Come with an open mind. I met my closest friends in Bible Study and I come to call them my family. Whether its a study break, study session, or small get together...i know I have like 50 people to call. Sororities are rivals and friends at the same time. If you're in a sorority....you will know about all the parties. If you're not into that drinking scence, well no one forces you to drink. But, movies and going out to Old Town Pasadena or just hanging out is just as fun.
Students are only concerned about partying.
Occidental has the kind of campus community that is very easy to be a part of. Joining campus interest groups or organization...
Occidental has the kind of campus community that is very easy to be a part of. Joining campus interest groups or organizations, with some natural exceptions, is as easy as checking campus news listings or just sending out an e-mail. I joined the newspaper originally simply by e-mailing someone I knew on it and asking if I could write for them. The same works for just about every other club I've seen on campus. As for social community, the campus has a college party scene which is also very easy to fall into so long as you're genuine and simply enjoy a good time, and there's more than enough else to find to do on the campus if the college party scene isn't your thing. The school brings speakers on campus regularly, the theater department puts on several shows throughout the year, and the music department puts on shows both by students and others throughout the year as well. Finally, the campus is located in Los Angeles, right between Pasadena and Glendale, a stone's throw from Dodger's Stadium and just a few minutes further from Burbank and Hollywood. If you can't find something in a city like this to entertain yourself with, then you should probably be Amish.
There's a very good exposure to all kinds of lifestyles and tolerance on campus. Occidental life, both in the classroom and among the campus community is rife with diversity of all sorts, and the activities and events around campus encourage, enable and stress education on these matters as well without being preachy.
They didn't ask us for any of the bad stuff we can criticize the campus for and really, there's nothing I can say is objectively bad. I criticized the new key card system that they established in the newest dorm they built for the campus (which is amazing by the way), but when campus safety became an issue because of a mugging, I suddenly found myself grateful for it. The school gives you the ability to educate yourself and to take real control of your place in the community and have a profound effect on the way events take place and the way the school is run (Students form an annual Senate that decides on funding for Students Clubs and Organizations for example) so I have to say this is about as golden an opportunity for higher education as I could have hoped.
We're certainly given a strong education in the practice of proper rhetoric so that no mater what subject we discuss we speak precisely and intelligently, whether it's an issue of politics or pop culture. Students, though practiced in this level of discourse, are hardly the kind of anal retentive asshats that being "politically correct" would lead people to think, the school represents a fairly liberal slice of the population, but has enough diversity that everyone falls into the natural flow of discourse well enough so long as they do so with open minds and intelligently. As for us being over-educated, I can't say i see that as a negative since there's really no such thing.
Oxy offers a good spectrum of the class room dynamics. I've taken more than my share of smaller english courses (some classes as small as three other students, though the average is about 12-16) and larger lecture courses (sciences generally fall under this, I took psych and chemistry) of 50 or more students and in all of this I felt that the professor knew me as an individual (all of my professors have known me by name and have been friendly towards me outside of the classroom also) and for every course professors make themselves readily available for one on one help, whether in their open office hours, or by appointment. I'd say that the classes here in general are taught in engaging fashions. I have a friend who I recommended to take an English course with a particular professor. The friend resisted for a while on the basis that he is a "math guy" who "doesn't get english or literature in a deep way" but a week into the course he found a passion for the work because of the professor and got straight A's throughout the course and was always excited by the professor's lectures to readily share the material with me over dinner. Every department has the basic run of courses, the 101's and then 200's that are upper level division courses, but then professors also teach courses regarding their particular focus so that you can really study something unique in a deep way with a professor you may have an affinity for. It's this personality manifest in all the courses you can take that really makes the curriculum here a fulfilling enterprise. The requirements at Occidental force you to take a full quiver of courses, and probably something outside of your comfort zone (I had to take a math course for example even though I hate the stuff) but you will find the multiplicity of discipline exposure will affect you in some way positively and enhance your thinking and application of various concepts to a given problem. For example, thanks to the curriculum, I can include some basic science concepts into my work, and on a practical level: that math class gave me a good enough handle on basic statistics and probabilities that my poker game has improved immensely. Students are competitive to the extent of demanding excellence from themselves, but thankfully, there's none of that annoying grade comparison to see who got the highest score in classes when papers or tests are handed back. Everyone here I know is driven to do the best they can do, not for the person next to them, but for themselves.
I don't really think we have a social hierarchy here, and I've asked many people about this and they agree. The way I see it is: we have social circles, everyone has their inner circles (say their three closest friends) and then their larger circle that falls within (their dormitory or sorority or house), and then that circle may overlap and connect with other circles (the frat you may belong to, the sports team one of your inner circle friends plays for, etc). As such the social scene at Oxy becomes a social spectrum rather than a hierarchy. No one lies at a particular point of the spectrum but everyone has their spread and overlaps with many others. It's a small enough campus where you can eventually feel like you know everyone, but as a fairly socially active junior, I'm still meeting new people all the time.
Probably that we're all politically correct and over-educated.
Occidental is small. Which means studnets here have an incredible ability to become involved and the college supports studnet...
Occidental is small. Which means studnets here have an incredible ability to become involved and the college supports studnets in numberous ventures. However, it also means that you never really get the steriotypical "college experience". Parties suck, everyone knows everyone elses buisness, and it's very difficult to esape the campus bubble.
Students here are diverse yet for the most part are very similar. They are a liberal (yet not radical) group of students raised in families that told them they can be whatever they want in life, and many come from progressive private schools or selective public schools. Students here are very sensitive to race and cultural issues as well as gender and sexual orientation, and race and ethnicity dominate discussions both inside and outside of the classroom. Most students here are from the suburban/urban westcoast - San Francisco, Seattle, Portland, and New Mexico/Arizona.
Academics are okay. For the most part classes are challenging, but like any school there are some horrible professors who don't do their jobs. Nearly every class is liberal in focus and conservative students will probably feel voiceless and ignored. The classes do allow us to think critically about the world and ourselves. The Critical Theory and Social Justice major as well as the Diplomacy and World Affairs Major are the two most notable academic presences on campus.
The cultural clubs put on a ton of events both social and educational, and BSA and MECHA*ALAS have a lot of power on campus. Students mostly live on-campus and meet their friends in their residents hall, especially in the first year. The dating scene here can be extremely unhealthy since the campus is so small and more than likely the guy you hooked up with last night will hook up with one of your close friend next week.
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