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5 Things That Surprised Me at the University of Rochester

During orientation week, I spent most of my time exploring the campus. It was a rare opportunity to wander around and uncover hidden gems of the University. I was pleasantly surprised by some of the discoveries I made – things I had no idea existed when I first enrolled. But fear not, these discoveries are nothing short of amazing, and you’ll definitely want to take advantage of them!

1. Tunnel System

As a mid-sized University in Upstate New York, Rochester experiences strong and cold winters that force you to layer under your puffer jacket. However, walking around campus bundled up is not enough to brave the harsh winters. When I participated in the tunnel painting event during orientation week, I realized that there is a tunnel system that connects Eastman Quad, plus Wilson Commons, Meliora Hall, and Simon Business School. I’ve come to rely on them religiously to attend classes without ever setting foot outside. There are also tunnels in Jackson Court, Hill Court, and Susan B. Anthony Halls. Convenience at its finest!

2. Take Five Scholars Program

When someone introduced themselves as a “fifth-year student” during my freshman year, I was baffled. I looked up what this meant and I found out about the Take Five Scholars program, a program that offers college juniors and seniors the chance to delve into a special academic interest in their fifth year, tuition-free. I was intrigued by the University of Rochester’s commitment to encouraging academic exploration beyond the traditional undergraduate path. I’ve had the pleasure of knowing a few Take Five students, and they’ve thoroughly enjoyed their extended time at the University.

3. Studio X

I first heard about Studio X in WRTG 105 class. Our professor took us to Studio X on the first floor of Carlson Library, where we had the opportunity to use VR headsets for class. It was my first experience with VR gaming, and I had a blast. Studio X offers a range of XR equipment for student use, fostering learning and exploration through technology. From VR headsets to 360 cameras, iPad Pros, and more, students have access to tools they might not otherwise encounter. It’s an invaluable resource for anyone looking to push the boundaries of their education using technology.

4. Libraries

When I first set foot on campus, I thought that Gleason Library was the only library on this campus. How wrong I was! The University of Rochester has a lot of libraries. Rush Rhees Library alone houses the Art and Music Library, iZone, Gleason, Special Collections, Robbins Library, and University Archives. But the surprises don’t end there – there’s also the Physics-Optics-Astronomy (POA) Library on the second floor of the Bausch and Lomb building and the Carlson Library in the Engineering Quad. With countless study spots spread across these various libraries, you’re sure to find the perfect spot to hit the books.

5. Combined and Dual Degree Programs

The University of Rochester provides several guaranteed graduate school admissions and dual degrees to students who know what specialization they want to pursue in the future. The five-year Graduate Engineering at Rochester (GEAR) program guarantees engineering students admission to one of Rochester’s engineering master’s programs. Similarly, the Guaranteed Rochester Accelerated Degree in Education (GRADE) guarantees master’s admission to the Warner School of Education for future educators. The Health and Epidemiology Advanced Learning (HEAL) program is for students who want to pursue a career in public health, guaranteeing admission as a master’s student in the School of Medicine and Dentistry. For those set on a career in medicine, Rochester Early Medical Scholars (REMS) is an eight-year BA/BS and MD program for students committed to pursuing medicine, ensuring admission to the University of Rochester Medical School. These programs are exclusive to high school seniors and transfer students applying to the University.

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