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Students Talk about UIC

Business or pharmacy? Perhaps it's too soon to pick a major

Brandon BellSmall-town kid discovers life in the big city, including pizza

Brandon Bell: "My parents are really proud of me and I'm proud of myself, and I'm going to work really hard so I don't let them down." Read more...

Malikha DanielsA little bit intimidated, but not afraid

Malikha Daniels is excited about making the cheerleading squad. "I have to make sure I prioritize." Read more...

Parthiv PatelBusiness or pharmacy? Perhaps it's too soon to pick a major

Parthiv Patel had a major selected before he came to campus, but now he wonders. "I want to be sure I choose the right thing." Read more...

Camille SanchezA commuter student in search of the campus experience

Camille Sanchez: As a new commuter student, "I'm trying to find something to do" between classes. Read more...

Parthiv PatelParthiv Patel had a major selected before he came to campus, but now he wonders. "I want to be sure I choose the right thing."

Parthiv Patel thought he knew what he wanted, but now he isn’t so sure.

He enrolled at UIC thinking he would follow the pre-pharmacy academic track. Then he considered business. Now he’s undecided.

“I’m going to get a better idea of what I want to do at the end of the semester, but I’ll probably choose at the end of the year,” Patel said. “I want to be sure I choose the right thing.”

He thinks he can narrow his interests a little, so he’s loaded his first semester coursework with economics and chemistry classes.

“I can’t pick between the two, so I’m taking science and business-related classes to see how I like them both,” he said.

With a few days of classes over, Patel said his Economics 120 course had an early lead for his favorite class.

“The teacher gets us into the subject very well,” he said. “He has many examples to show you how things work out in the real world.”

The early workload in his courses has been daunting, he said.

“It’s not like high school,” he said. “I got homework on the first day, and I was like ‘wow.’ But I can get used to it. I’ll see how it goes as the year goes by.”

Patel signed up for 17 credit hours to ensure he graduates on time, he said.

“I probably shouldn’t have taken so many hours,” he said. “Next semester I’m going to take it easy.

“I’m taking the classes now and I’m getting used to it. Eventually, it will become easier for me, I guess.”

Patel is learning a lesson in managing coursework from his roommates, who are upperclassmen. Patel shares an apartment in Greektown with two other UIC students — one who will graduate in May and another who graduates December 2009.

“I think it’s pretty nice because if I don’t know something on homework, they always help me out,” he said.

When Patel didn’t receive a residence hall assignment, his dad connected him with his new roommates, one of whom is a distant cousin, Patel said.

“Sometimes I wish that I had stayed in a dorm, but I got wait-listed so I took the apartment,” said Patel. “It’s still better than commuting here” from his home in Des Plaines.

After four years of water polo in high school, Patel reignited his passion for the sport, which is “like soccer for the pool,” he said.

He joined UIC’s water polo team and isn’t worried about balancing his classes and practices that last until 10 p.m. twice a week.

“I never go to bed before midnight, anyway,” he said.

Though it’s still a few years away, Patel said, he expects graduation to be the highlight of his collegiate career. He’s not sure what degree he will have when he walks across the stage, but he’s happy it will be from UIC.

“UIC has a good reputation for having good graduates,” he said.

UPDATE (11/26/08): "Keeping Afloat with Heavy Course Load" (UICNews)


Meet the other freshmen:

Small-town kid discovers life in the big city, including pizza

A little bit intimidated, but not afraid

A commuter student in search of the campus experience

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*Interview courtesy of UICNews; Author Christy Levy; Photo Roberta Dupuis-Devlin.