Spencer Scott, '20, and his friends dressed as characters Zach and Cody from the show "The Suite Life of Zach and Cody" on Halloween. (Photo courtesy of Scott)

FRESHMAN FOCUS: Spencer Scott, ’20, majoring in medieval studies at University of Chicago

Spencer Scott, ’20, is a freshman at The University of Chicago. He enjoys the chilly weather along with the street food around the corner. Spencer is majoring in medieval studies.

Q: Why did you choose to attend the University of Chicago?

A: I love freezing to death. On a serious note, there are many reasons. I visited the campus and liked it a lot. I also like the city of Chicago in and of itself, along with the university’s raw academic focus. When I visited, I met with professors in the medieval studies department and they were all very nice. The University of Chicago also has a ROTC (Reserve Officer Training Corps) program which I am a part of. 

Q: What are you majoring in and why?

A: I am majoring in medieval studies because I am fascinated by the subject. No matter what medieval material I look at, it always blows my mind. It really is a wild subject which I enjoy.

Q: How did Country Day prepare you for the transition to college?

A: Country Day did a lot of rigorous stuff. The math classes are great, and the writing really, really helped. I have friends that have never written an analytical essay and it shows. I felt confident turning my writing assignments in.

Q: How is the housing situation?

A: All the dorms are broken up into houses inside the dorms. Everything is at half capacity. Doubles are now singles. Third- and fourth-year students are all in apartments, attending class from home. There is house culture, and my house is one of the few where we actually talk to each other because of COVID-19. In general, it’s a quirky vibe.

Q: How are you liking your classes?

A: I decided to take only three classes this quarter because this is my first quarter of college, and the pandemic doesn’t make things any easier. I am taking Latin 101, Calculus 2 and my last class is a humanity sequence. I am doing Greece and Rome. Mr. Mangold explained Calc BC well, so I’m doing pretty good in Calc 2.

Scott poses for a photo on the University of Chicago’s campus. (Photo courtesy of Scott)

Q: Which is your favorite class?

A: My favorite class is Greece and Rome 1. I like history a lot, so I take interest in those classes.

Q: Which is your least favorite class?

A: Waking up early for ROTC is already annoying, but having Calc right after when I am tired does not make things easy. The least favorite class has to be Latin 101, only because I know everything.

Q: Which classes are on Zoom and which ones are in person?

A: My math class is in person, and my other classes are over Zoom. I do have friends that have 500 people in one Zoom class and they hate it. 

Q: Which types of classes are affected most by the pandemic?

A: Discussion classes are not the same at all. People do raise their hands to talk and share their ideas. It took about two weeks to get comfortable with the idea of discussions over Zoom. I still prefer being in person, though.

Q: What safety precautions has your school taken?

A: Once we got on campus, we either had to do a 10-day relaxed quarantine or a 14-day “stay in your room” quarantine depending on which state you came from. California had just got off the 14-day list when I arrived, so I only had to do the 10-day relaxed quarantine, where I could still get food from the dining hall and interact with people using social distance. Everyone is wearing masks.

Q: Any advice for the class of 2021?

A: Get your admissions done early. Like seriously, the last thing you want to be doing is cramming 10+ essays in a week.

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