Theo Kaufman, ’18, near the Willamette River, a popular place for hikes. (Photo courtesy of Kaufman)

FRESHMAN FOCUS: Theo Kaufman, ’18, enjoys the freedom at University of Oregon

Theo Kaufman, ’18,  attends the University of Oregon in Eugene. He is undecided about his major.

Q: What classes are you taking?

A: Because I’m undecided, I’m taking required (general education) courses so I can get an idea of what I want to do in the future. Last term, I took Anthropology — which is world archaeology — Geography, Introduction to Math and a writing course. In my second term, I’m taking Humanities, Geology, Math 111 — which is a college algebra course — and Ecology.

Q: What is your favorite class?

A: Overall, my favorite classes are Humanities, Geography and Anthropology. These classes have been very interactive and not what I had expected, which was cool.

Q: What is your least favorite class?

A: Math is one of my least favorite classes because my teacher is really bad, so I have to teach myself. I also don’t like Ecology because we just do a lot of labs, and I thought that it would be an introduction to science.

Q: What’s the workload for your classes?

A: My classes this term are a lot different from last term. My only homework is reading, which is assigned daily. Usually, I have essays, big assignments and projects (that) take a long time to do. Last term, I had more daily assignments to do. The workload really depends on the classes you take.

I have weekly quizzes and tests (that) are worth half of my grade. Midterms and finals are (each) about 25 percent of my grade.

Q: How large are your classes?

A: In my first-term math class, there were only 15 students, which was really small. It reminded me of a Country Day class. My Ecology and Geography classes have 120 students because they are  required classes.

For the most part, I have lectures in my classes and section courses which come with the lecture. This is because all of my classes are so big. Section courses are with a group of 25 students, and we meet up once a week to discuss class notes.  

Q: What calendar system does your college have?

A: Oregon is on the quarter system. I don’t like this because we get out in June, which is a lot later than most colleges. Also, each quarter is only 10 weeks long, which means that we have to switch classes every quarter, which is a lot of moving parts. We get to start in late September, which is nice, but I would rather be on the semester system.

Q: Do you participate in any extracurriculars?

A: I tried out for the club soccer team because I did soccer in high school, but I got cut.

Q: What is the food like?

A: The food here is great! I live in Hamilton Hall, which is an on-campus dorm with a dining hall. There are only three dorms on campus (that) have dining halls in them, and I think we have the best food.

On campus, there is a store and a kitchen if people want to cook. Every student is allowed to go anywhere on campus for food, so there are lots of chain restaurants and healthy options as well.

Q: What is your living situation like?

A: We live in dorms, and dorm size varies depending the hall. Unfortunately, I have a small dorm, but I spend my entire day on campus, so I only come to my dorm during the night.

I live with my best friend, and we have known each other ever since kindergarten. It’s good to start college with someone I already know, but that didn’t stop us from meeting new people.  

Q: How’s the transition from Country Day to Oregon?

A: I wanted to go to a big college because Country Day is so small. In terms of time management and academics, Country Day prepared me very well. A lot of classwork, tests and assignments I do right now are really similar to the things I did at Country Day. The writing experience I gained helps a lot because I have to write essays often.

The one thing I miss about Country Day (is) the teachers. I was able to have a relationship with all the teachers, but because Oregon is so big, it’s hard to have a close connection.

Q: What is your favorite part about college?

A: College is fun, and there is nothing to complain about if you manage time well, maintain good grades and have a good group of friends.

However, the best part is the freedom. It is the first time that you are out in the real world and no one is telling you what to do. I can spend my time however I want, and our campus (has a lot of resources).

Q: What is your least favorite part about college?

A: I miss home. After moving out and being in the dorms for a while, I realized how nice it felt to sleep in my own bed  and room. Luckily, I’m not too far away, so I can visit when I have breaks.

Q: Any advice for the class of 2019?

A: They need to stop stressing out about getting into college. Getting into college is easy, and it’s not that hard to figure out where you want to go. I want them to enjoy their second semester because it’s a lot of fun.

Five-star or subpar?

Food: ☆☆☆☆

School spirit: ☆☆☆☆☆

Location: ☆☆☆☆

Clubs: ☆☆☆☆

Student-teacher interaction: ☆☆☆

—By Sanjana Anand

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