The tutors behind Varsity Tutors are not just here to teach – they’re sharing their college experiences as well. Roxanne received her undergraduate degree in biology and chemistry from The University of New Mexico. She is currently a tutor in Albuquerque specializing in algebra, biology, chemistry, and several other subjects. See what she had to say about her experience at The University of New Mexico:http://www.varsitytutors.com/algebra-tutors
Describe the campus setting and transportation options.
Roxanne: The University of New Mexico has very limited parking for students who do not live on campus. Most commuting students must purchase off-campus parking lot passes, and then ride shuttle buses to campus. Parking is expensive, so living near enough to campus to bike or walk is a great way to save money. The University of New Mexico parking and transportation department provides free city bus passes to students, which is another money-saving option. The campus is in the middle of Albuquerque between the Nob Hill district and downtown. The area is mostly safe, and the campus has thorough security. Lights have also been added around the more dimly lit areas of campus to increase night safety for students, but I wouldn’t advise walking late at night alone.
How available are the professors, academic advisers, and teaching assistants?
Roxanne: This question is extremely class dependent. Some professors are incredibly helpful, whereas others are busy with their work. Academic advisers’ availability also depends on the area of study. Most department advisers have open hours of availability, but the university-wide advisers have more limited hours. Teaching assistants tend to be incredibly helpful during their office hours/help sessions, but it is important to remember that they are also students, and they have limited availability around exam times.
How would you describe the dorm life – rooms, dining options, location, socialization opportunities with other students?
Roxanne: The University of New Mexico has a plethora of clubs and organizations, so every student should be able to find at least one that interests him or her. The school also hosts several campus-wide events for students to socialize and recruit for their organizations/clubs. Dorm life is dependent on the style of dorm that the student is placed in. The University of New Mexico has apartment style, suite style, and traditional dorms. I lived in both the suite style and apartment style dorms, and I much preferred the apartment style. Most students enjoy the community of the traditional dorms. Living in the dorms gives students many other opportunities to socialize through events scheduled by the Resident Advisers. The on-campus dining options are plentiful, and the main cafeteria, “La Posada,” was recently redone and is greatly improved. The area around campus has plenty of restaurants within walking distance, as well.
Which majors/programs are best represented and supported?
Roxanne: The University of New Mexico has a very diverse student body. Business, psychology, biology, and engineering are popular programs. I studied biology and chemistry. I began as a biology major with a chemistry minor, but I bumped chemistry up to a double major once I realized how much I enjoyed it. The university did a fine job of supporting my areas of study. The biology department has several advisers, making it relatively easy to find solutions to scheduling problems and other questions. The chemistry department is less supported, having only one adviser who is also the only adviser for the biochemistry department.
How easy or difficult was it for you to meet people and make friends as a freshman? Does Greek life play a significant role in the campus social life?
Roxanne: I was shy as an incoming freshman, and I had trouble meeting and talking with people at first. I joined Nourish International, and I also became friends with my dorm-mates. Events like Friday Night Live and other student union building-sponsored events were also helpful in meeting other students. Greek life does play a significant role on campus. I never pledged a sorority, but I know many people who were members of Greek life.
How helpful is the Career Center and other student support services?
Roxanne: The University of New Mexico offers many students employment and work-study positions. The Career Center hosts several job fairs each semester. They tend to under-represent careers in the sciences, so for me they weren’t extremely helpful, but they do have many opportunities for other areas of work.
How are the various study areas such as libraries, the student union, and dorm lounges?
Roxanne: The main campus library has recently been redone. The main area has many supplies for group and private study. If the main area is crowded, there are also several other computer labs and study rooms. If students need absolute silence to study, there is an entire wing of the library where no noise is allowed. The student union building is a great hangout spot, and it also has a computer lab and print area. The dorm lounge situation is dependent on the dorm. Several of the dorm common areas are newly refurbished, but some of the older buildings have rundown common areas that aren’t great for studying.
Describe the surrounding town.
Roxanne: The University of New Mexico is in the middle of town between downtown and Nob Hill. Albuquerque is close to several beautiful mountain ranges with many hiking trails. Some of my favorite things to do besides hike are visit trampoline parks, go to movies, and play putt putt golf. Students go downtown a lot on the weekends. Downtown is within walking distance of campus if students aren’t opposed to a decent walk. There aren’t many reasons to go to opposite sides of town from campus because they are mostly just residential areas. The University of New Mexico is placed in one of the busiest part of town.
How big or small is the student body? Were you generally pleased or displeased with the typical class sizes?
Roxanne: Again, this question is dependent on the area of study. Lower-level courses that many students take for their core curriculum are extremely large. My first class at The University of New Mexico had around 300 students. The honors program only allows up to about 12 students per class to suit the discussion setting of the courses offered. The higher-level classes tend to have fewer students because there are more options to fulfill degree requirements.
Describe one memorable experience with a professor and/or class. Perhaps one you loved the most or one you regret the most.
Roxanne: I worked as a Peer Learning Facilitator (PLF) during my senior year of college. A PLF is similar to a teaching assistant, but we only work in lower-level science courses that have a high fail/drop rate to help students pass those classes and move on in their degree paths. We also only work for classes where a certain portion is dedicated to active learning. My last semester, I worked for a General Chemistry II course and absolutely loved it. The professor I worked with was incredibly fair and helpful to her students. She wanted everybody to have the opportunity to do their best. It was awesome being part of that class. Working with a professor who was so encouraging to her students was great! Being able to be a part of that class was something I loved most about college, and I wish I discovered the position earlier.
Check out Roxanne’s tutoring profile.
The views expressed in this article do not necessarily represent the views of Varsity Tutors.