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Looking back on the person you were when coming to Reed is often like looking through an opaque window. You still see the frame and some features of your old self, but the greater part of who you are rests on this side of the mirror, having been tempered by your experiences at Reed. Often after four years, students’ reasons for coming to Reed still hold up: the desire to attend a small school with an intimate academic setting, amidst a liberal and open culture of mostly-nice and genuine individuals. Many students choose Reed because they do not want to be another face in the crowd at a large state school. Empirically, Reed’s commitment to making critical thinkers and writers out of its students separates it from other academic institutions. Although many other institutions will train their students to write and think, Reed bombards your mind with reading, writing, and thought, helping many realize a level of intellectual self-awareness that they never thought possible. Students push themselves hard because they choose to, just as they go here because they want to. Any Reedie who wishes to be somewhere else has already left for that place. People stay at Reed and endure its academic rigors because they truly love and are committed to what the college has to offer.
Essentially, most students believe in Reed. Although they may feel disenchanted with their institution of higher education at times, most Reedies accept their school’s shortcomings for what they are, and accept that they cannot see themselves anywhere else. Reed is not just a college; it is an academic, personal, and social experience, and Reedies respect and cherish it.
Every major at Reed is intense and would be an honors major elsewhere. All students take a qualifying exam in their major in the junior year and write a thesis in the senior year.
There is a one and a half year PE requirement at Reed, but not all PE is athletics per se - like dance, yoga, and martial arts. There are skills classes in sports like tennis and squash and training/conditioning classes. Some PE classes like rowing, sailing, hiking and skiing travel off-campus. Sports Center facilities are good. Outside of PE, IM teams and club sports are not well organized.
Rugby and Ultimate Frisbee are the predominant "intramural" sports on campus. There are a variety of interesting/new sports students may be involved in or may discover if they wish to. Students here are busy enough that it is difficult to work physical fitness into one's schedule - hence the PE graduation requirement.
Oregon drizzle is conducive of study. Better winters here than in New England or Midwest, but they can get boring. I managed to run outside a few days a week while at Reed, and the wet weather didn't get in the way. Senior year there was an unusual "drought" in February and March: 55-60 degrees and sunny. Better bring rain wear as it probably will never happen again.
The Spring, Fall, and Summer this year were wonderful - an unusual amount of sun and one of the driest years on record.
This is a big topic of debate. In the past, there have been those who misused the unusual freedoms of Reed to their own detriment.
Community Safety Officers and new head of safety keep things safe.
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