I can’t say for you, but for me, I had tonnes of thoughts, (or rather misconceptions in retrospect), about Carnegie Mellon and the life students lead here. Coming from India, where not many people have experienced college life in the USA and where not many people can tell you about Carnegie Mellon, most of my perceptions and expectations about CMU were shaped by what I read off the internet or what I saw on popular media. Before coming to campus last year, I felt that all that anyone does at this school is be buried under a pile of books, that it is very difficult for an international student to adjust to the new surrounding and that Pittsburgh is a small little place with nothing to do. ALL FALSE. All my perceptions were completely false and so I’m here to clear up some misconceptions and myths that many have about Carnegie Mellon.
#1 Everyone here is always under a pile of books
People at CMU are extremely hardworking and if you make it through the application process and get in, you too must’ve worked exceptionally hard in high school to get good grades. However, just because our community is extremely hard working and dedicated to attaining academic excellence, it doesn’t imply that that’s all we do. You’ll find people with a myriad of other interests here, from joining dance clubs to being a part of the swimming team to engaging in theatre to being a part of specific clubs to playing sports to going Greek!
#2 It is difficult to adjust to the college life
Coming from India where we have traditions and customs that are poles apart from America, I still adjusted well to the college community, and so have many others. People at our university, whether students or faculty are all warm, sweet and welcoming. There’s always someone to talk with, hang out with, be study buddies with or just have a casual talk! The college community can literally offer you your second home, if you let it do so!
#3 The work load will kill you
There is no denying that there is an immense work load at CMU, with tonnes of assignments due throughout the week. But in my experience, classes and work are hard and challenging, but not impossible. With the support of friends, faculty and TAs, the work load isn’t that bad after all. Most of the time, it all comes down to how well you can manage your time. If a person manages time responsibly, the work load won’t seem much after a point of time!
#4 There’s no fun on campus
Myth busting this is very important! Carnegie Mellon has so many extra to offer – from performing in theatre, to going greek, to joining a professional business society to engaging in a multitude of sports to joining community service organizations. There’s plenty to do all through out the year! To top it all, our spring carnival is legendary with fun throughout the week. I promise, there’s something out here for each person!
#5 Pittsburgh has nothing to offer
Pittsburgh has so much to offer, you just have to explore! From tonnes of restaurants and shops to go to over the weekends, to visiting several interesting museums like the Andy Warhol museum, (that we as CMU students can visit free of cost), to enjoying super views from mountain inclines, to having picnics on a sunny day, to visiting the Mattress Factory, to hanging out in downtown Pittsburgh, there’s plenty to explore and visit here!