The first few weeks of attending a large, public university were definitely an overwhelming experience. It was difficult to juggle a demanding class schedule, studying, meeting new friends, joining organizations, and building a new social life. It was difficult to navigate through a new city and a new school. It was also difficult to be away from home – I truly missed my family. But, I soon discovered that many freshmen experience these same feelings and I also quickly discovered ways to manage and prioritize my time. After successfully completing my first semester, I feel much more connected and more confident.
Getting Financial Aid can be tough. The amounts they give out and to whom they give it to each year varies - if you enter in the right year, you could get a decent scholarship, but in another year, a similar applicant could just get federal loans. Scholarships are focused more on varsity sports then anything else. There are academic scholarships but they are very hard to get and there is no ongoing aid (ie after freshman yr, there are no upperclassmen scholarships available through the school), so if you didn't get one before, you won't now.
Most of the students have always had everything given to them. They have never had to struggle. A majority of the students who attend The University of Pittsburgh are not actually from Pittsburgh. They were raised in other areas. They are students and only play the role of a student. Most of them never had a job. Although this is one of my biggest struggles, I feel that it allows me to stand out in the long run. Also the school departments are disconnected from one another.
Receiving clear responses from the financial aid office is always tough. If your account is not in good standing you can't register for classes and you have to have proof. Getting that proof if money had not 'pinged' your account around the time you had registered and so wasn't showing up on the most recent pull of your account, when trying to register was always annoying. Because then you would have to walk across campus back and forth, until things were straightened out.
The most frustrating thing about my sachool is that tuition is high and continues to rise every year, but you don't really see the money being spent on useful things. Instead you see money wasted on dumb things like a big plasma T.V . that displays messages and advertizemants in the Pete, and on panthers that people painted. These things among others are examples of unnecessary spending of my tuition money.
The Advising! I had a wonderful advisor during my freshman year, but as soon as I declared my major, the quality of advising went down. I was not told until my last semester that I was 2 classes short of graduating during the Spring of 2008. While everything worked out great in the end, it was still very frustrating to find out last minute that I would have to take two more classes during the summer.
being limited to 15 credits allowed to count toward graduation taken outside of your designated school (i'm in the school of arts and sciences but only 15 credits of classes from the school of education or school of general studies can count toward my graduation even though i need to take 21 credits in the school of education during undergrad in order to apply to pitt's school education grad program)
Sometimes non-specific academic advising, and impersonal relations with faculty. The school has very large class sizes especially in the introductory classes (especially in the natural sciences) and so building quality relationships with faculty members is difficult. Although the university isn't nearly as big as some other schools around the country, it is still big enough to feel lost at times.
There aren't very many frustrating things about Pitt, though the financial aid department is probably one of them. They are usually helpful and considerate, but this department becomes painful when your materials are incomplete or not turned in on time. In addition, sometimes they say they didn't receive material even though a student submitted it on time.
The most frustrating thing about PItt is the lack of study space during Finals Week, where everyone is looking for the right, quiet place, but there is hardly any room available. The library tends to overflow during this time, and many students end up studying in their own dorm study spaces, which can be incedibly distracting.