I just annoys me, when people who have probably spent all of 2 hours at UC Merced believe they have now become the foremost expert on everything here, ranging from social life---->difficulty of classes. Well, here is some feedback from a current UC Merced student.
I'll start with the bad....
1) The majority of students here live very close to home, and go home EVERY WEEKEND. Let me describe an average weekend here at UC Merced for you: Wake up, eat, go back to dorm, entertain yourself in your dorm, because NOTHING and I mean NOTHING is happening on campus. Im lucky to even see someone walking around on campus on the weekends. This place turns into a ghost town, I can go into detail forever on this really...but in the end its best summed up as "UC Merced is INSANLY boring on the weekends"
2) THE FOOD SERVICE HERE BLOWS. This is not another "LOL! I dont like the food here, because im a food guru with high standards". I mean, honestly the food is amazingly bad. I think the largest UCM facebook group is "I hate the food at UCM". On the weekends, they DONT OPEN until 10:30 am. Kinda sucks if your awake at 8, trust me it will happen. Second, the food during the weekdays can best be imagined as the slop farmers give to there animals in the morning (not really, but its VERY bad). Town is 5 miles away from campus (UCM is in the middle of a corn feild if you did not know this...), but the food in town (Mcdonalds, toco bell, etc.) is better than the food on campus....I got food poisoning from the Toco bell here, and reported them to the local poision control center. Breakfest here is impressively poor, the scrabbled eggs are squeezed out of a bag, and served in a rubbery state (to the extent, that I had to stop getting them) This left me with the following choices EVERY FRICKEN DAY: Hard pancakes, stale bacon, and tator tots. The prior three food items mentioned, are what is offered in the mornings aside from cereal and apples. Enjoy eating that for four years, I got sick of it after two weeks. I find, that oftentimes the vending machine has a better selection.
3) Location- UC Merced was ingeniously constructed in the middle of a corn feild 5 miles away from the closet building. If you are the type of isolated person who enjoys solitude, you will fall in <3 with this place. For the rest of us, it feels like a prison. A judge sentenced a convict to either 4 years in a minimum state security prison, or 4 years at UCM, the convict opted for the prison. Not really, but sometimes I feel like that wouldn’t be stretching the truth.
4) Classes- Ok, if your still considering UCM I would stop reading at this point. Going beyond will crush any illusion you had of this place being what you perceive it as from a tour guide here. The "student to teacher" ration is quite small, which is actually a positive. However, there are NO "fun" classes offered at UCM. Like tennis? Ever wanted to learn how to fence? Interested in how Disney impacts America? Too bad. CHEM,BIO,PHYSICS,CALCULAS,SPANSIH, and upper division classes of the former are essentially all that are offered. There are a few exceptions that I know of, but alot of work needs to be done to help make this place worth the $$$ Im paying for it (the same price tag as if I went to UCLA or UCB...what a joke.) UC Merced is a small school, and is expected to make vast improvements, too bad thats is not in the near future (2-5 years).
5) The degree of academic excellence overall- Fact: The majority of people who attend UC Merced, are not the brightest lightbulbs in the factory. When one thinks of college, you may imagine intellectual, political, or social debates with your peers, sadly I must say, carrying this out here is laughable at best. To be fair, in a few of my courses here, the professors had meaningful conversations with the class about issues. Sadly, this is not representative of what happens outside the classroom or even day to day here. At best, you'll have a semi-intellectual conversation with someone for 5 mins. The people who live above me smoke pot on a daily basis, and the more social kids get drunk on the weekends for fun. Kinda hard to debate who should be the next president of the United States with these people. *Note, im not a pretentious person, in fact I could probably be classified as quite humble, but my impression of my fellow students here is that they dont want to even be in college.
6) Size MATTERS- Excuse the pun, but yes I do believe that size matters when it comes to a college. If you’ve visited the campus, you will have seen all 2 of the main classroom buildings, and the library. Hope you liked them, because thats all there is. You might think "No no premed4life, But I like a sma11 campus LOL!" Yeah, not having to walk 1/2 a mile to class is cool, but living across the sidewalk from my classes isnt. You will know what I mean, come here and find out. Not much more to say about the campus (afterall, there isnt a lot of campus to talk about...)
Now for the good stuff....
1) Housing is great on campus (off campus, you may find yourself living in the ghetto).
2) "Its a UC"
3) You dont have to go to a CCC, yay =]!
4) You get to know alot of people personally
5) Personal attention by TA's and profs is good.
With all this said, I will be transfering to either UCLA, UCB or UCSD next year. If I could do it agian, I wouldnt pay $20,000 for UC Merdead. I would go to a community college and pay $180 a semester and transfer.
*It may seem like I am biased or even resentful of UCM, but really Im not. Most students here share my opinions, and some in fact are even more adamant than I am.
My favorite quote: "College is what you make it." Yes, so if I give you some glue, tick-tacks, and a rubber duck; can you make me a Shermen Assult Tank? Probably not, dont expect to make too much of UCM