Thoughts After One Year at Southern Oregon Univeristy

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So here I am, sitting at this desk that I've written so many posts from before. Scattered around me are miscellaneous notes and papers crying for attention, "Study me!" says my Geology Final review sheet, "Fill me out so you don't get a $50 fee!" says my end of the year dorm checkout packet. Its the end of my freshman year at Southern Oregon University. Some of the time has been great, some bad. Here are my thoughts for anyone interested in the school:

The Good

First of all, lets talk about the size of the school. Its small, really small, for a university. There are only about 5,000 students in all. Now I never quite understood why this turned people off, but I think its great. The average class size is only about 20 people.  When you combine that with the fact that 90% of all the professors have a PhD in their field you get some really good personal education. The classes here are absolutely top notch, every day I go to sleep feeling like I've learned a lot. Professors are also very acessible. Because there aren't too many studnets office hours aren't very cramped, and its usually possible to see a professor for help without an appointment. Many of the professors also run extra curricular clubs after class.  This can be really beneficial to students interested in the subjects they are studying. If you like the outdoors you will like Ashland. SOU lies under the shadow of Mt. Ashland, which has skiing in the winter and top notch mountain biking during the summer. The Rogue and Klamath rivers are just as stone's throw away as well abundant hiking trails in pretty much any direction. Make sure to pack your boots.

The Bad

Dorm life. I know this can be a matter of opinion but living in the dorms is a nightmare and there is no way it should be "required" for incoming freshman. You pay nearly $800 a month to be put in a little 15x20 room with another person. I could practically tell what my roommate had for dinner every night just from the smell of his breath even though he was on the opposite side of the room. In the summer there is no air conditioning, during the winter we had our heater up 100% for 3 months straight and it never got warm. Its loud, there is no privacy, it smells and the bathrooms are absolutely horrid. On top of that you get a bunch of drunk idiots wandering around all the time thinking they are your friends just because you were unfortunate enough to be stuck in the same hall as them. Now I can only speak for myself, but I don't enjoy being treated like a child. There are special "campus public safety" officers wandering the halls all the time trying to keep an eye on you making sure you aren't doing anything naughty. No, dorms were not for me. SOU also comes across as a little money grubbing at times. This is understandable considering the economic state of schools in Oregon but it has to be mentioned anyway. Lately the school has been renting out the F&G classroom, which is basically the main entrance to the Forest Hall where I live, and us students often have to go around. How would they like it if we held a party in their living room and made them go around? Often us students feel like second class citizens to anyone else using the school even though we pay the most to be here. Also, there are fines for everything here, but I think that comes with the territory of running a profitable institution.

The Ugly

The Cascade Food Court where freshmen can spend their meal points which come as part of the dorm package. This place has literally made people sick, and its made me skinny. We are talking bottom of the barrel low quality generic Sysco food that is left in steaming buckets for way too long. The food has often times been known to be inedible, and sometimes students say that they would prefer just to skip a meal or two than to dine in cascade. I would encourage dropping the meal points and learning how to cook.

Conclusion

I think SOU is a great school and I will be returning next year. Although it does have its share of bad parts, I believe most of them are associated with being a freshman. Next year should be great for a number of reasons, mainly because I wont be living in the dorms any longer and I can take some of the higher level classes I have been waiting for. Have a good summer all!