The interdisciplinary approach was what drew me to the RC. Nowhere else at U of M could I dive into the psychology of creative minds like Picasso and Van Gogh, analyze multiple facets of urban planning in Latin American cities all while speaking and writing in Spanish, or familiarize myself with Afro-Cuban culture and history through the learning and playing of traditional drumming songs.
The college within a big university concept made the RC a great home-base as an out-of-state student. I had all the perks of the large university -- big lectures, sports, clubs, etc. -- but also had the instant comfort of small courses, one-on-one interaction with professors, and a built-in community of friends in the RC.
I am so thankful for the Spanish language immersion I had in the RC. I'm putting it to great use every day in my job at UCSD -- whether it's advising students, corresponding with visiting scholars and guest lecturers via phone and email, or setting up institutional partnerships with Latin American Universities.
The RC is fun, fun, fun. But it is more than fun. It's a fantastic new experience and there is so much to soak up here. I have met people from all over the country and world, learned so much, and it's never the same here in the RC. I live with a bunch of quirky kids, and I love it!
The RC Intensive Language program is just as it sounds. I took Spanish for four years previously, and I am not only getting a great review of what I've learned, I am learning more, and I feel more confident in my ability to comprehend the language.
The Residential College is a perfect way to get the small liberal arts school feel, yet still enjoy the benefits of a first-rate research institution with a big-school social life. I marked my time in the Residential College with late night discussions with friends, dance parties in the Benzinger Library, and romps around East Quad in the rain. I spent the first few hours of each spring listening to peers play music in the courtyard; I played make-believe across our stage in student and class productions; and, I sat for German Kaffee Stunde while Spanish, French, and Japanese softly teased the edges of my hearing. I met best friends upon whom I still depend and from whom I continue to learn.
In my experience, the students in the RC are engaged, socially conscious individuals from all different backgrounds and with all different interests. Its very easy to find people whose interests are similar to or compliment yours. Your fellow students will push you to question why and to what end you hold the beliefs, opinions, and impressions you do.
The faculty welcome and challenge to you to step up to the intellectual plate and become their peers. They are always available to continue a discussion from class, inform your first professional steps with the wisdom of their experience, or lend an ear to your struggles and offer guidance. These personal relationships afford invaluable perspective and are very helpful when it comes time to get letters of recommendation.
The staff likewise, are just great! Just as they help the professors and the institutions do their jobs, they work with you to book rooms, get appointments, or find resources for things you're working on. This is not something you'll find in large, impersonal institutions. They lead interesting, involved lives, and are fun conversationalists. Its also really nice when it comes time to get last minute transcripts or documents, to be able to pop by or shoot an email and have someone remember your name and be able to help you meet a short deadline without wading through red tape.
Finally, the advisers are superb. For me, and countless others, Jennifer Myers was more than an academic adviser, she was a mentor. She takes time to get to know you, and is able to adapt her style and advice to what each student needs. She helped me craft my academic schedule. Without her, I probably wouldn't have been able to graduate from LSA in just three years with an RC Certificate, a double major, and a honors thesis under my belt - all while having participated in student government, been active in the arts and my community, studied abroad, and interned with the British Parliament.
I am now in law school at the University of Michigan. While here, I have volunteered on pro-bono projects and interned with the American Bar Association. In the summer of 2010, I worked both for a non-profit, pro-bono law firm called the Public International Law and Policy Group in DC, and with the Army JAG Corps in Heidelberg, Germany. In the fall of 2011, I became certified as a Mediator in the State of Michigan. I have also completed an externship with the State Department Legal Advisor's Office at the US Mission to the UN in Geneva.