Student perspectives on UO

(Audrey Kalman/Emerald)

A correction has been issued on May 14, 2019 to reflect the correct home country of UO student Jane Lim. This article was corrected again on the afternoon of Dec. 28, 2019 to correct a reference to Lim's home country. 

The University of Oregon is home to 25,000 students who all became Ducks one way or another. Twelve percent of those students are international, 37 percent come from another state and 51 percent are Oregon natives.

Each and every student has their own unique experience within this university, and it’s important to recognize the different perspectives between international students, out of state students and lifelong Oregonians.

Jane Lim is originally from Malaysia but has been calling UO her home for three years. She expressed that one of the biggest differences between UO and the schools where she grew up is that one-on-one interactions with professors is basically unheard of in Malaysia.

“Back home, if you ask teachers questions, it’s disrespectful. Kids are expected to sit down, be quiet and listen to the lectures. Until I came here, I didn’t know how much fun school could be.”

Lim is studying music here at UO, and another positive culture shock for her was how open and honest professors allow themselves to be with their students.

“One thing that surprised me here was that the professors are not afraid to say, ‘I don’t know, but I can look it up for you and talk to you about it later.’”

When asked about the diversity of UO, Lim responded that she found the school to be accepting, but not particularly diverse.

“I’ve never felt any discrimination here. You go up to someone and they talk to you.”

The international perspective was perhaps the most interesting, but the out-of-state angle had its own surprises as well.

Connor Patterson, a first year student at UO, hails from Newport Beach, California. Oddly enough, he chose this university for the gray and rainy weather. Another factor that influenced his choice was the strong school spirit and big-school atmosphere.

“People are pretty friendly here coming from L.A. I feel accepted for the most part, especially in the music program.”

At Patterson’s introDucktion, the Dean of students announced that this year’s freshman class was the most diverse one yet on campus.

If this is true, it’s a step in the right direction. A common complaint around campus is that this school is lacking in diversity. It is not enough to have just a few students representing different ethnicities from around the world. It is equally important that those students have a large enough community at school to feel at home and supported by the group they identify with.

Growing up in Eugene offers its own unique perspective about the school as well. Hadley Weiss, a sophomore at UO, has lived in Eugene her entire life.

Weiss considered attending different schools around Oregon, but ultimately decided on UO for the Clark Honors College.

“I was worried that coming here was going to feel like an extension of my high school, but it’s actually a lot different. I definitely don’t feel like I’m missing out on any college experience.”

Weiss expressed that several of her professors have spoken about intolerance of discrimination in their classrooms so that everyone could feel comfortable studying in their space.

While she did not find the U of O very diverse herself, Weiss admitted that the school probably has more diversity than the surrounding city of Eugene does.

Whether you traveled across the world, across the country or across the road to get here, we all chose this university for a reason. One way or another, we all became Ducks and we’re going through these short few years of college together.

Knowing that there is not a single student with same perspective as another is crucial for understanding the university as a whole. Ask questions and be curious about your peers. Everyone has a story to tell.