I recently found a website that ranked schools based on "The Number of Nerdiest Students." Needless to say, the University of Chicago was ranked number one. U.Chicago is supposedly known for having students that love to spend time in the library and in conversations with their friends, discuss the thoughts of Plato and Aristotle. We are known to only study and not participate in school activities or sports. In fact, it seems like people think that people who graduate don't find jobs because we don't have pre-professional majors like Finance or Engineering. All of these things are true, but that isn't the average U.Chicago student. I would be lying if I said that I had never walked buy a lunch table that had students fervently arguing about a humanities subject, but that doesn't mean that everyone does. In fact, it isn't that students at the University of Chicago like to spend time in the library, but it is more that we like to learn and accept the challenges that our professors pose on us. We may not have the best sports team, but our sports team dominate our division. We have one of the best women Volleyball teams in our division and our schools has one of the best Intramural sports programs that hundreds of students participate in. We have school formals, an active greek life and parties every weekend! Our housing system allows for people to make great friends and we have hundreds of student organizations for every kind of person. As for the rumor about pre-professional majors, yes, we are a liberal arts school. But that doesn't mean we graduate without jobs. In fact, the top corporations come recruit from our student population because we have been taught to learn quickly and to think differently from our peers at other schools. U.Chicago students know how to face a challenge and that is why we dominate in school and once we graduate as well, whether it is in Grad School or in the work force. In fact, U.Chicago has the #1 Business School (Booth School of Business) and amazing Medical and Law schools as well that love to recruit from the undergraduate program. So in all, yes we are nerdy. But we welcome every kind of person. Whether you think you will be a frat brother, a nerd, a jock, or a class clown, we welcome you. The University of Chicago is for every kind of person and we love to prove our stereotype wrong!
The University of Chicago has a reputation as the place where fun comes to die. As a first year student, I question that a lot. I came to UofC with the same stereotypical beliefs: students are studying all the time, workload is so heavy and there is no fun on campus. Unfortunately, It turned out to be not that accurate after all. The students of UofC are definitely studious but it does not mean that they are not having fun. First of all, Greek life is expanding rapidly . This year Delta Gamma had a record number of new sisters. In addition to that, not only Sigma Chi is rising as the new fraternity of UChicago but also other frats are much larger this year. These all mean that there is definitely a party scene on campus. We even have bar-nights on Wednesdays. Apart from the activities of fraternities, there are always apartment parties, house/dorm activities, regular downtown trips and shows/activities of Registered Student Organizations such as but not limited to the shows of South Asian Student Association, downtown Restaurant Week of the Student Government (ChewChicago), tea parties of International Student Organization. All those in mind, it is definitely true that a UChicago student is intellectual. Yes, we are intellectual and yes, we are proud of that! It is very easy to see a UofC student talking about Plato, Kant, Mozart, Occupy Movement or economic crisis in Greece in the dining hall or in a coffee shop. At the end, we know that crescat scientia; vita excolatur, thus we we will be enriched by the knowledge. All those might seem a lot to do; however, at UofC you learn how to organize yourself. Here students are social, intellectual and hard-working therefore multi-tasking. It might come as a surprise but UofC students also love sports. One can always see the gyms (Ratner and Henry Crown) with full of people.
Of course, most of us have heard the infamous saying, "University of Chicago - the place where fun comes to die." As true as that may have been in the past, currently the university has seen a dramatic shift in terms of the student population and sociability. Within the last decade, dozens of new buildings have been erected in UChicago's gorgeous Hyde Park campus, including: Gerald Ratner Athletic Center, Max Palevsky dormitory, South Campus dormitory and dining hall, the Gordon Center for Integrative Research, the Mansueto Library (endearingly called the "reg egg" after the Regenstein Library to which it is connected), and finally the brand new Logan Arts Center. Collectively, these additions have made UChicago a more appealing option for many prospective students and brought more viable resources to the campus. But to answer the original question at hand, at UChicago it is very difficult to pinpoint one stereotype. The university presents an international, eclectic mix of students; 10% are from Chicago while the remaining 90% are from all corners of the world, representing all 50 states and over 70 countries. Because of this cosmopolitan "melting pot," students frequently break through common stereotypes and work together on problem sets, play on intramural sports teams, and yes, go out together too. While it is only natural that students eventually form their own groups and such, the university does not reinforce the typical stereotypes of the jock, frat kid, or geek, but instead allows for ample opportunity to meet students from all walks of life. To some, it can be even seen as the place where "fun comes to thrive."
There is perhaps no other school in the United States that has as specific a stereotype as the University of Chicago. Rather than the general opinions of certain types of school, UChicago has been transformed, at least in lore, to a type of its own: "Where Fun Comes to Die". While most reflect on the college years as a time of unabashed excitement and freedom, most also imagine that nothing positive can overcome the soul-crushing workload and cold of the UofC. This, however, is simply not the case. Although one could make the claim that the population here is perhaps a little more invested in the "Life of the Mind" than the average collegian, I would say that the real classification of the UChicago student ends there. As part of our intense investment in intellectual life comes intense investment in all walks of life, many even that can classify as good-ole-traditional fun. Those whom only know the University by rumor would be surprised to know that fun does live here, and in ample and varied opportunities. Yes, some of us are "geeks", but mainly in our commitment to our beloved pursuits: from theater to investment, and everything in between. There are jocks too, but also those who simply love sports. There are frat kids, but also those whom love a different ancient greece. You can find stoners too, and those committed to changing society's "foundations". In short (certainly something foreign to UChicagoan writing), there is perhaps less of a real "type" here than most places. Sure, most come here to be immersed in learning, but that learning is by no means independent, or mutually exclusive, or "fun".
I'm not going to lie - there is some truth to UChicago's unofficial motto ("where fun comes to die"). Most students care very much about their academics, and many RSOs (registered student organizations) on campus are largely related to academic and career ambitions. However, not all students are, as a result, socially awkward and unable to "party." A good time is had by most, though the definition of that good time varies depending on your social circles and, honestly, on your dorm. The dorms at this school have reputations, and while not all who inhabit them fit into these stereotypes, they are there for a reason. Max P is unofficially the "jock dorm," filled with students on the school's athletic teams. It is also, as a result, one of the more notoriously social and drinking-focused of the dorms. South Campus houses 800 students and also has a fairly strong party culture, as over half of the dorm is first years. On the other end of the spectrum are Snell-Hitchcock and BJ, both of which are regarded as the more nerdy and "UChicago strange." Both of these dorms participate heavily in Scav (a large yearly scavenger hunt), and their definition of fun is generally closer to the board game/intellectual discussion side of the spectrum. I don't mean to say that your dorm determines your social status however - you will find like-minded people wherever you go, be it to a frat party or to the Starcraft club's weekly meeting.
Many prospective students assume that UChicago is where fun comes to die. Time and time again I've tried to battle this stigma. University of Chicago students have incredibly diverse interests, which means that there are tons of activities to join on the weekends and plays, concerts, sporting events to attend, as well. Joining an activity (we have over 400 registered student organizations) will definitely enhance your social life on campus. There are over 70 volunteer groups, which will definitely give you something fun to do on the weekend, as well as dance groups, literary magazines, student government, and even a zombie readiness task force! The housing system at UChicago is also conducive to having a good social life. At UChicago, every first year student is required to live in the dorms. Each dorm is split into a few houses, and houses typically have 70-100 students each. Those students live together, and often eat and play together, too. As a first year, I went to a Bulls basketball game with my house, on the annual ski trip, to a few plays in the city, and joined them for many, many meals both in the cafeteria and out and about in Chicago. All activities are subsidized using house funds, so an amazing musical can cost you on $5!
The most common stereotype of the students at the University of Chicago is that they are mostly nerdy or geeky. I feel as though this stereotype is rooted in the fact that the University of Chicago is a very competitive school with a very rigorous academic environment. Also, it is true that the University of Chicago has a very high mean ACT and SAT score acceptance rate. Nevertheless, I find that this stereotype is not completely accurate and assuredly does not do justice to the University. Indeed it is true that many of the students- my peers- are witty and clever, but they are as “normal,” engaging, and eager to have a fun and fulfilling college experience (in the social and academic spheres) as any other college students. Thus, while the University definitely has an aura of wittiness about it, it certainly is an enjoyable and productive community of which to avail. In essence, it is not necessarily the place “where fun comes to die.” In fact, I see this stereotype put to the test each and every day with our intriguing dining hall conversations, interesting intramural sport opportunities, and entertaining Saturday nights.
Where the fun goes to die-- you've all heard it-- the rumor that UChicago is a place to go be with a lot of anti-social, unattractive, book-absorbed, and awkward folk. You can let the fun die whereever you'd like, that is always your choice. People most often reference the party scene, so I'll say now-- Our Greek life has increased dramatically in the past years, and there are multiple parties every night, of different types, starting Wednesday nights. We study hard, party hard-- turn all of the meters up to 11 out of 10. But that is generally not the kind of fun that we care most about, though it does matter to us. We look for the UChicago moment-- the philosophy behind the popular show, different ways to understand time, outrageousness from our professors, theater and the circus arts, pub crawls and city life, Scav and three days of madness, the polar bear run and other brave Winter traditions...We want to push the boundaries and break them, and that is what is fun to us. Yes, we are intellectual, even when intoxicated, but we are not afraid. And we are certainly not for everyone.
The typical stereotype for a "Uchicago kid" goes right along with the slogan that the university of Chicago is the place where "fun goes to die." Although i would be lying if I said there are not a good amount of geeks at this school, there is plenty of fun to be had. The nice thing about this school is you will not ever be lured into doing something you do not have to do. Because the curriculum here is indeed so challenging, if you have a midterm on the upcoming Monday and there is a party that Saturday night, everyone understands that you need to stay in and study and get some rest. With that said, there are three main fraternities that throw parties generally every Friday and Saturday which are all open any kid in the school. Personally I like this a lot, because I know at big schools such as Ohio State a lot of times the party's are invite only, and at apartments. With all of this taken into account, at Uchicago there are definitely plenty of kids whose only priority is school, but if you want to come here and still have a good time, there is a good time to be had.
We all hear the same self-deprecating UChicago joke, "UChicago: Where fun comes to die" and the equally self-deprecating quote, "UChicago: Where the squirrels are cuter than the girls/Where the squirrels are more aggressive than the boys." Truth is, the squirrels are just unnaturally cute in Chicago with their ungodly furry tails (I swear, you've never seen anything fluffier and quite dangerous too), and, like any college, fun comes to die(t) once in a while (it's not all fun and games like the movie "College" makes you believe). What binds all UChicago students together is, at the same time, what makes us all different; we are unique in our thinking and quirky in expressing our thoughts. The quintessential UChicago student is not just one person, it is a combination of football players, Model UN-ers, Human v. Zombie-ers, musicians, community activists, sorority girls, artists, and intellectuals, all aspiring to transform the world with their knowledge and actions. There is no stereotypical UChicago student, unless you consider being fabulous stereotypical.