I love Oxy. When it came time for me to chose where I would go to college I was only thinking about big UC's. When I realized I had no direction in what I wanted to eventually study in college I knew I would need a lot of help from college adults to find the right place for me. I wanted to go somewhere where people would notice if I fell off the map or was not in the right place academically. Oxy has huge amounts of support and has been the perfect place for me to move away from the comfort of my home and parents and in to a more independant place in my life. I have learned more about myself in the past two years that I did all of highschool and while that is to be expected at any school, Occidental's student body and faculty played a huge part in my positive expereience over the past two years. Also, I absolutely love Eagle Rock and being in a city. I am not surrounded by students all day every day. Families walk through Oxy daily with their dogs and children. High school students are often skateboarding on the outskirts of the campus and always remind me that there is a world outside of the "Oxy Bubble".
I have so much pride in my school. That being said, there are some reservations that I have about Occidental. One of the biggest challenges to my perceptions about Occidental regards classes. I asssumed that because I went to a small school, I would be able to take whatever classes I want. However, due to Occidental's size, many upper division classes are only offered every other year for one semester. It makes scheduling a real problem, especially as you progress in your major. I also want to say this: If a school "brand name" is what you're concerned about, Oxy it not for you; If you are seeking an excellent eduation, and an environment where you can stand out and succeed, Oxy is exactly what you're looking for. For example: One of the fellow researchers in my laboratory group is currently working at the National Institutes of Health. Because of his/her intense preparation at Occidental he/she is thriving there (they just can't stop giving him/her new projects and funding). He/Sheis blowing students from Yale, Harvard, Princeton, and many of the other Ivies out of the water.
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.
There are many things about my school that make it wonderful. It is beautiful, in a great location, and holds many vibrant and exciting opportunities. The teachers are passionate about their knowledge and want to share it with their students. But the most unique thing about my school is the ambience of friendliness and genuine care on campus. There are so many nice people that it seems to be part of the admission process to be accepted--on how friendly you are. The school is very diverse and having so many open-hearted people make people feel welcome.
oxy was a fuckin experience that i thought i wasnt gonna make it thru at some points (challenging in all sorts of ways), but now that I'm at the other side of the tunnel, i feel that it has made me a better and stronger person. i pushed myself to new limits and grew a lot. who knows if it was just oxy that did this, but i know that it was very influential in my development the past four years.
The campus is small, you will have seen and/or met the majority of the people within the first month. The majority of the professors are really accessible and willing to help. There is a section in the library that helps students with their homework from 6pm to 9pm. The Career and Development office is always sending emails with possible internships and job opportunities.
The party scene can be stifiling and you will see that random drunken hook-up again, so when your out on saturday night, remember someone, or 50 someones will remember that time when you were so drunk you got up onto a table started rapping along to The Good Life, and they are likely to be in your class!
Choosing to attend Oxy was one of the best decisions I have ever made. You will have total strangers stop you in resturants because they say your Oxy Alumni license plate tag. When you run into Alumni there is a special sense of closeness because you both went to the same small, unique, fabulous school.
Occidental is amazing and if you're into everything liberal Arts and really want to learn, you have found the place. Despite my personal issues with the school and my desire to transfer, I have nothing but good things to say about it, my situation is just messy.
It's an interesting place. Why? Because it's a bubble that preaches breakingout of social bubbles. Because students have cliques but still aren't afraid to openly shout out against racism and sexism. Because professors care even when students don't.