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Kayeromi Gomez, Published January 07 2013

Letter: Thus far, NDSU has it all

I have lived the past decade in big cities such as Chicago, New York, Accra in Ghana and so on. I received my college degree and master’s degree from well-known universities in Chicago, worked for a few years and then decided to go for a doctorate degree. So I started researching Ph.D. programs in the country.

Having lived in the United States for the past 12 years, I have heard about many universities around the country, but I never paid attention to North Dakota State University. I Googled Ph.D. programs in statistics and I saw a good number of them and started applying for admission. NDSU caught my attention, not only by the beautiful (and easy-to-explore) website, but also the detailed information available there.

I told my friends that even if all my applications were accepted, I would go to North Dakota. I applied to universities around Chicago where I have friends and family, but I did not factor in the weather aspect until a friend expressed concerns about how bad the weather could be in Fargo.

I researched the weather in North Dakota, and I was disappointed. But my disappointment did not overtake my interest in NDSU. I knew what I wanted, and my heart told me that NDSU could deliver just that. I felt so strongly about it that even a scary minus-20-degree weather forecast did not change much. I still had NDSU on top of my list before Northwestern and University of Illinois, Chicago, just to name a few. A few months later, I received my admission letter from NDSU and had to accept the offer within a limited time. Fast-forward from that point, I am now at NDSU. I just finished my first semester, and this is what I have to say:

NDSU has not only met my expectations, it has actually exceeded them. I spent one semester and already feel like I know everything (not really) in my subject area. The education is different here. There are practical hands-on assignments and experiences that I have acquired. Homework is not simply another burden on students but a taste of reality after graduation. Students are urged to apply what they have learned via capstone projects. The professors are knowledgeable, and they make sure they give you enough work so as not to allow you to be bored.

Resources are available to students. The department of statistics (where I belong) is so well organized and managed that there is not much room for distraction. And people are always willing to answer questions.

The Memorial Union is by far my favorite place and sometimes I even leave my office to go sit there. There is so much space there that anyone can find a spot to sit and open a laptop to do some work. MU has many activities for students when they finish their homework and have some time for fun, such as free movies of the week, etc.

MATBUS takes you anywhere without additional financial burden. Bison Connection opens as early as 7:30 a.m. to answer questions from students. Everyone is available to help you when you need help. The speed limit is strictly enforced on campus, and you can literally cross any street at any time without worrying about being knocked down by a car. Computer clusters are available when you need them. Parking is free after 4:30 p.m. in such a way that after classes, I can take a free bus home, eat, do some house chores and drive back to campus to study for as long as I need. These are resources that you don’t get everywhere.

This place is set up in a way that once you get here, you will study, and you will pass your classes. I know it is not perfect. But there are many things that are easily accessible for students here, compared to other universities in bigger cities.

My nervousness on my way to Fargo has turned into excitement. I am impressed with Fargo, NDSU and what they have to offer.