I am going to start this post out with saying that I do not like SMCM. I chose the wrong school for me but due to unfortunate circumstances I wasn’t able to transfer. I wanted to let you know this before I start answering your questions.
Housing is bad. My freshmen year I lived in a dorm that they are currently closing down because it’s “not needed.” But I have a feeling it has something to do with it having no air conditioning, sporadic heating that comes from 100 year old radiators that spit boiling water, and the fact that the top floor of rooms is literally in an attic. Other dorms are better but not by much. Some don’t have a/c, and in the winter the rooms get so hot it’s unbearable. So I support your move to live off campus. If you do end up living on campus, try hard to get a townhouse, and if not that then a suite.
I can’t speak much on the sexual violence. I wasn’t aware we had those sorts of problems until people started talking about it on yikyak. And SMCM is on the list of schools being investigated, so there must be some truth to it. But as a female who has been here for two years now, I have not experienced it and I have never felt threatened.
Academics…Biology is one of the hardest majors here and we are well known for it. I’ve heard we have a very high rate of getting students into med school. But that also means that if you are not interested in med school, you are going to be competing against people who are, which means it is really tough. I am not sure how it will work as a transfer, but as a freshmen you have to take Principles of biology 1 and 2. Those are the weeding out classes. Especially the second one. I took the first and got a C, which I was thrilled with, but I knew I would never pass the second. The second POB tries to make you fail. Friends have told me the teachers are cruel about grading and they are trying to push you past your breaking point. One of the teachers has actually said he makes the test so that you fail. They want to make sure that whoever sticks with the bio major will make the school look good, which is really disappointing. I expected a small liberal arts school like SMCM to care more about the students than their grad school ratings. But like I said, if you want med school stick with it. Also, because it is so hard it creates a nice little community of the bio majors. They help each other and stick together.
As for neuroscience…I was actually planning on being a neuroscience major. However, St. Mary’s does not offer that major (only a minor) so you have to create your own major and submit it for approval. A lot of people make that major though so it’s not a hard one to get approved. I ran into some problems because I didn’t decide I wanted that major until sophomore year. I started to go through the approval process but I found out that if you don’t start this major freshmen year then it makes it very difficult to go abroad. Because of my feelings toward this school there was no way I was not going to go abroad for at least one semester. So I had to give up that major and now I am just minoring in it. But it really make me angry that they don’t offer neuroscience as a major. So many people do it at the school and they make it so difficult for a student to do it. I hear they might be trying to make it an official major, but who knows when that will happen.
I have liked many of the teachers I have had, but that’s mostly because I have been staying away from biology classes. I have had challenging classes, but with teachers that support me and guide me through.
The atmosphere of the school is very…open and free. There is such a wide array of students that go to this school that I feel like there isn’t much judgement. The only type of people you don’t see much of are rich/republicans. No judgement to either of those things, but they are a rare sighting.
Weekends are mostly about drinking. There isn’t much to do otherwise. There is a club all about doing stuff that isn’t drinking on the weekends, but I have never done it before. They do things like bingo, nerf wars, scavenger hunts. But anyways, the weekend during the day is pretty quiet most of the time, but it comes alive at night. Everyone is walking around visiting different parties and seeing people. But if you are from a big school, don’t expect the parties to be like that. If you aren’t into drinking, then join the non-drinking club. Also, if you join other clubs like outdoor adventure then you might go away on weekends to different trips.
Some people do go home on the weekends, but not every weekend. Some weekends it will be weird and it seems like everyone randomly picked this weekend to go home, but a lot of people don’t want to go home because they love the weekends there.
I admit that for people that are not me, it is a great school. It is beautiful and very outdoorsy (things that I myself like about it). It has a campus farm you can volunteer at, there is sailing, kayaking, paddle boarding, it’s small and very much a community of it’s own (A lot of people call it camp smcm). But I cannot handle the seclusion. You need a car to get anywhere off campus, but even the nearby town isn’t much. I also wish there was more to do on the weekends. But most people love the school, as far as I know, I am in the minority. What can I say…I never liked camp.