Being an Out-of-State MAC Student
The NC State MAC program attracts students from around the country. In fact, more than half of this year’s class of 107 students did their undergraduate work at another school. This is a telling statistic, as many students are venturing to Raleigh for the NC State MAC program, and I am one of those students.
I traveled to NC State from the Chicago area about two months ago. A lot is different in Raleigh compared to what I am accustomed to, but it’s been an easier transition than I was expecting. The MAC Program does a lot to help students from other schools make an easy transition and it didn’t take me long to feel right at home.
A True Program
One way the MAC Program made my transition easy was the set up of the program itself. Unlike many other master’s degree programs, the MAC Program is what I like to call ‘a true program.’ Instead of just giving students a list of classes to sign up for and giving a degree once those classes have been taken and passed, the MAC Program has a clear track from start to finish.
With the exception of some part time students, everyone starts and ends the program together, taking the same classes with largely the same teachers along the way. Each class section falls between 1:30 and 5:45, and no one has class on Fridays. When I have an exam or an assignment due, everyone does too. There is a community feel that begins the first day of classes that is a constant reminder that everyone is going through the exact same thing as you.
Additionally, the staff, faculty and even NC State undergrad students involved in the program are extremely accommodating to students from different schools. When I first got to NC State and the almighty Nelson Hall, which is where the accounting department and classes are located, I don’t ever remember feeling lost or confused about anything because there was always someone there to help.
As an example, a thoughtful email was sent out from a MAC staff member before the program began, offering to set people up with roommates if they wanted. The MAC Program staff knew there were people brand new to the area that didn’t know anyone (like me) and volunteered to help us out.
I took advantage of that and live with two other MAC students that both came from different undergrad schools like myself. We are all adjusting to both the MAC Program and a new area of living, so it has worked out well that we share an apartment. A lot of other students in the program share other apartments as well and having the MAC Program help with roommates has proved to be a great resource for adjusting to life at NC State.
The MAC Program makes it easy for people to meet each other as well. Since everyone is taking the same classes and only three sections of each class are offered, you meet a lot of people through your classes. Every class has group work to complete, so you meet more than just the people sitting around you.
In addition to that, the MAC Program created a ‘MAC Organization’ that is run by MAC students and plans social and community service events for everyone in the program to be able to participate. So far this year, they have planned socials at local bars, viewing parties for away games, tailgates and a trip to the NC State Fair.
They also collected money for an NC State fundraiser, scheduled an Adopt–A-Highway cleanup, and are organizing students to run in the local 5K Race. These events make it easy to meet people you don’t meet in classes and are great opportunities to get away from schoolwork.
Because of all that the MAC Program does for out-of-state students, I feel right at home in the program and have met more people than I thought I would meet in two months. In fact, I took a look at this year’s class picture book to see how many people I knew in the program so far. Turns out I have talked to more than 80% of the students already and I have no doubt I will know everyone pretty soon.