A Day in the Life at The University of Arizona

The tutors behind Varsity Tutors are not just here to teach – they’re sharing their college experiences as well. Lynn is a Tucson tutor specializing in Calculus tutoring, Statistics tutoring, Spanish tutoring, and much more. She is a 2012 graduate of The University of Arizona with Bachelor’s degrees in both Mathematics and Economics. See what she had to say about her school:


VT: Describe the campus setting and transportation options. How urban or safe is the campus? Are there buses or do you need a car/bike? 

Lynn: The campus is fairly large, but with a bike, you can get from one side to the other in 10-15 minutes. Tucson is a small city so the campus is not in a very urban area. I always felt safe, and the police department and programs like Safe Ride, make the campus even safer. On campus, we have the CatTran to get around, but most students prefer bikes. To get around the city, a bike or a car are best.

VT: How available are the professors, academic advisers, and teaching assistants?

Lynn: Most professors and TA’s are readily available, but you have to seek them out. Often, professors don’t receive any visitors during office hours and will be happy to help you with homework or talk about your future plans. If you want to do research, some professors are much more welcoming and encouraging than others, so you may have to search for a bit. Personally, I found my advisers (except for the ones who were professors) to be generally unhelpful so I looked to other students and professors for advice.

VT: How would you describe the dorm life – rooms, dining options, location, socialization opportunities with other students? 

Lynn: I lived in the dorms for 4.5 years, so I loved it. Depending on your price range and preferences, you can get a room in a historic building with a lot of character or a large room in a new building with fancy features like 3D TV’s and climate control. Residence life provides good resources and the halls are a great place to meet friends and study groups. Dining options are spread around campus, but most restaurants are in the main student union. The restaurants include a buffet, Mexican, Italian, salad, delis, pizza, bagels, and more. It gets old after a while, but that is motivation to learn to cook! 

VT: Which majors/programs are best represented and supported? What did you study and why? Did the university do a good job supporting your particular area of study?

Lynn: Engineering, Optical Sciences, Biology, and other Sciences as well as Business are big here. There are many research opportunities for the Sciences, and the College of Engineering and the College of Business are known for preparing students for employment. I studied Mathematics and Economics because those are my two passions and they provide a good basis for future study. The Mathematics department is very supportive of their students and works hard to match students with professors who have similar interests and with research projects. The undergraduate coordinator would send me personalized lists of summer programs and suggestions for classes. Economics is a forgotten discipline at the school. While the professors were mostly very supportive, the college was not always. 

VT: 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? 

Lynn: I quickly made friends in my residence hall and in the clubs I joined. Greek life is available and many people partake, but it is not necessary to be involved in Greek life to have a social life.

VT: How helpful is the Career Center and other student support services? Do many reputable companies recruit on campus?  

Lynn: I didn’t really use the Career Center. They hold a job fair every semester which attracts some large companies. A lot of tech/engineering companies like Microsoft, Google, Raytheon, Lockheed-Martin, etc. hold recruiting events and hold on-campus interviews.

VT: How are the various study areas such as libraries, student union, and dorm lounges? Are they over-crowded, easily available, spacious?

Lynn: There are several libraries, study lounges in the union, and all the dorms have study lounges. There are also several coffee shops near campus. It can be hard to find a room around midterms and finals, but there is usually plenty of space in the library.

VT: Describe the surrounding town. What kinds of outside establishments / things to do are there that make it fun, boring, or somewhere in between? To what extent do students go to the downtown area of the city versus staying near campus? 

Lynn: Tucson is a city that retained the heart of a college town. The area around the university is very student friendly. 4th Ave has local shops and restaurants and is a favourite hangout for students. Downtown is close (20 minute walk or 10 minute bike ride), and there are a lot of new restaurants and activities. There are a few annual evens that are mostly around the university or downtown, and UA sports events are big events.

VT: How big or small is the student body? Were you generally pleased or displeased with the typical class sizes? 

Lynn: We have a large student body. I took mostly Math and Economics classes which had classes of 15-35 students. I always made sure my professor knew me so class size wasn’t a problem. My large lecture classes usually also had a 20 person discussion section so I had a chance to express my ideas.

VT: Describe one memorable experience with a professor and/or class. Perhaps one you loved the most or one you regret the most.

Lynn: My first semester I took a general education Science class called Intro to Global Change. We studied things like water and climate. To supplement our class, our professor took us on field trips to Mt. Lemmon, the Desert Museum, and his tree ring lab. Afterwards, we always got lunch and talked to him about the class and whatever came up. It was great to have a professor who taught in a unique way, was passionate about his subject, and who took the time to get to know us as individuals.


Check out Lynn’s tutoring profile.

The views expressed in this article do not necessarily represent the views of Varsity Tutors.