Bianca Hansen, ’19, attends Oregon State University in Corvallis. She is majoring in general engineering but plans to switch to mechanical engineering.
Q: Why did you choose Oregon State?
A: I visited Oregon a couple of times before to see family members, and I just loved the weather and how clean it is. The atmosphere here is just really nice, and the people are amazing. I just connected with (the school) from the moment I visited. Just walking around campus, I could see myself studying there. The people that I met, all the tour guides and students that I talked to, were super nice. It was just a different experience than what I got visiting other schools.
Q: Why are you pursuing engineering?
A: I’ve always been interested in the sciences, and mechanical engineering is just what I’m most interested in. I really love working with machines and everything that comes with engineering.
Q: What classes are you taking?
A: I’m taking Billiards, Normal Calculus, Introduction to Engineering Computing and some chemistry classes.
Q: What’s your favorite class?
A: I like Billiards because it is just very relaxing since I don’t have to do any science or math. But all my classes are super engaging and interesting, so you can’t really go wrong with any of them.
Q: Are you in any clubs or extracurriculars?
A: Yes, I work in a lab that studies how plastics can be broken down and turned into usable fuel. It’s been a lot of fun getting to learn the mechanics of the chemical reactor and going on trips to present our research. It’s also been amazing working with such a small and close-knit group of people. And from my experiences so far, I would like to continue research in college, either working on this project or branching out.
Q: How big are your classes?
A: My biggest class was during the last term. I had about 500 people in my section alone, and there were four other sections in the class. My smallest class is about 20 people, so it really ranges.
Q: What is the workload like?
A: The term I have right now is a lot of work. My engineering class averages about 10 hours of homework each week alone, and I have reading for other classes.
Q: How was the transition from Country Day to Oregon State, which has over 30,000 students?
A: It was definitely jarring at first. It was hard to make myself known to some of the professors. Going up to see them after class and trying to put my name out there was a struggle because it’s a fairly big campus, and there are so many people. But, all the time, I will run into people I know, so that makes it feel a lot smaller like Country Day.
Q: What’s your housing situation like?
A: I live in a dorm. I’m on a pride floor, so all of the bathrooms are gender-inclusive, and there is a whole bunch of different resources for the LGBTQ+ community.
There are also some pre-engineering and pre-business dorms, but I decided not to go in them because I’d rather not surround myself with science all the time. But, next term, I’ll be getting an apartment with a whole bunch of friends that are just across the street from where I live now.
Q: How are your roommates?
A: I have one roommate, Jaden. She’s part of the LGBTQ+ community and is super cool. I randomly got assigned to her, which was kind of nerve-wracking because I’ve heard horror stories about people not getting along with their roommates. But, we seemed to click really well, so I lucked out.
Q: What’s your favorite part about college?
A: The freedom to do whatever I want. Of course, I have to go to class, but you have a lot of free time to study or go out.
The school also puts on a whole bunch of different events. In one, there was a bubble rave (a party in which participants dance to music on a floor covered with several feet of suds or bubbles), a dance, a semiformal party and a roller-skating party all on the same day, so you can just go down the street and find something to do.
Q: What’s your least favorite?
A: Probably all the homework, especially this term. I have been doing a lot more studying, which is obviously less fun than actual classes, but the homework can also be very interesting. It just becomes a drag when I’m doing busywork.
Q: How do you like living in Oregon?
A: I love it. It has been really rainy and cloudy, but recently, I’ve been getting a lot more sun. My friends and I have been going out to play soccer and frisbee, hiking, biking or driving to the coast. There is so much to do, and the whole state is surrounded by outdoor activities, so you’re never bored.
Q: What is your go-to place so far in Oregon?
A: I haven’t been able to explore Oregon too much yet, but so far, Eugene and Newport have been my favorite places. I have a bunch of friends from Eugene, so they know all the best places to go to for food and fun. Newport’s also really fun because it is really different from the California coast. There’s a little aquarium and some amazing restaurants like the Coffee House right near the port.
Q: Any favorite restaurants so far?
A: There are a whole bunch of diverse restaurants, but one of my favorites is this one Greek place called Alley’s Gyros, but our dining hall is also really good.
I heard that a lot of people don’t really like the dining halls at their school, but mine has a whole bunch of different options, from burgers to even quinoa bowls.
Q: How did Country Day prepare you for college?
A: Definitely the workload at Country Day was a lot more than it is in college, at least for my first term. Coming from Country Day, I had really good time management skills, so when I got into my first term, it wasn’t as much of a shock.
Q: Any advice for the class of 2020?
A: Trust yourself — everything is going to work out. I know it’s really stressful going through applications and trying to sell yourself to schools, but I really loved where I ended up. People told me all the time they never expected me to go to Oregon State, but I knew this place was a good fit for me. I know people who ended up not getting into their dream schools and still loved the schools they went to. So you just have to be open-minded and not freak when something doesn’t go as expected.