A Day in the Life: UChicago Student


(relaxed happy music) – Hi, my name is Luke Sironski White. I’m a senior at the University of Chicago. I’m a major in anthropology
and I’m a photographer. So, we’re in my room right now. These are my cameras that
I use for assignments, or just for fun, honestly. I like to hang up photographs
that I haven’t taken because I think that surrounding yourself with images that you’ve already created kind of reinforces what you already know. And I just, I like to pick out things that are different or
that I wouldn’t have taken and kind of investigate, you know, how I could take those
photos in the future. That’s pretty much my space. A typical day in my
life, I normally wake up between 7:30 and 8:30, I like to get up, have breakfast, have to
have a lot of coffee. And then I’ll normally head out and usually go to class
or I’ll go to work out. I’ve got an internship with a photographer on the South Side, so
sometimes I’ll go and work with him for a little bit. On days that I have
off I like to go uptown and get some film developed, or stay at home and edit some photos. I’ll scan in some film, and
the best part, absolutely, is I’ll go out and take
photos when I have the chance. (playful rock music) Behind us is the Logan
Media Center for the Arts. It’s, it was just erected
a couple years ago. So, my job is as a projectionist
for the film study center. What I do essentially is I project films, DVDs, videos, and then when
it gets really exciting some 35mm and some 16mm film. It’s honestly a great job,
you just get to hang out in the booth, get exposed
to a lot of different films. The university’s really theoretical, so the film content that you’re exposed to is not very normal; most of the time you’re kind of getting into some art films and some, some really odd stuff. And it’s nice to get
exposed to all of that. (projector ticking loudly) So yeah, that’s 35. – How did you start getting
involved in photography? – Yeah, so, my ninth grade year when I was in junior high
I went on this cruise. Our family had saved up
for a really long time and we decided to go to a cruise to, um, throughout the Mediterranean, so, Italy, Greece, Egypt, Israel, and Turkey. And I took some photos
on some crappy little digital camera that I
had back then, and, um, I was looking at the
photos when I got back home and I was like, “You know,
some of these are really cool.” But this was when Flickr, which was like a photo-sharing service,
was really big at the time, and I was like, you know,
they’re really cool but they’re not, they don’t
look exactly, you know, like the really good photos
that I’m seeing online and I wonder how I could do that. And so I did some research
and my mom came up to me at one point and was like, you know, “I really liked photography
when I was young as well. “You should try that.” (somber piano music) The brilliant thing about going
to the University of Chicago as someone who’s trying to
get into the creative field is that you’re not learning necessarily the technical skills,
right, but you’re learning how to think critically about the work that you’re producing. (mellow old-fashioned music) (relaxed modern music) This is Haskell Hall;
we’re on the Harper quad and this is the anthropology building, so I spend a lot of my time here for my major, doing classes and stuff. – So you are an anthropology major. – Mm-hmm. – What made you decide
to major in anthropology? – I was taking soc, and, you know, all of the professors
are really amicable here and you can, they’re all
engaged by what you have to say, no matter what it is, and so I was speaking with one of my professors about photography, and
she told me, you know, “There’s this photographer I know, “Sebastiao Salgado, and he’s got “a lot of really
interesting things to say.” And he said if you’re
going to study something and you’re going to be a photographer you should study anthropology because it creates within you a curiosity and a willingness to
engage with other cultures that isn’t laden with, kind of, preconceptions or prejudices. And I was really interested by that, so I took some anthropology classes and I really loved it. I really, really enjoyed
learning about it. – So tell me about the Core. – So the Core at the University of Chicago is a core set of classes
that every single student has to take, no matter their major. I think soc and hume are
the most important classes you take as a U. Chicago student for building your intellectual foundation, for building the way that you think. It causes you to really really look at your life and the way that you think and the culture you exist in, and to examine it and pick it apart, because you’re reading
all of these authors that did the same things
in their lifetimes. (relaxed happy music) – [Interviewer] Anything
you wanna tell us about him? – I’ve known Luke since
the first day of college. Luke has been like,
incredibly important to me as like a, kind of just like my rock, but he’s also incredible talented and perhaps more than anyone I know just so deeply passionate
about what he wants to do. I love Luke. – Well, thank you. – That’s a rousing endorsement. – No complaints. – Zero complaints.
– At all. – We’ll talk about the dishes later. – Sometimes he leaves the back door open. (laughter) (mellow music) – Okay, so where are we now? – Right now we’re sitting in front of the Regenstein Library. I’m sorry to say it is absolutely the social hub of the
University of Chicago. Well, I mean, we, so we’ve got some pretty good cafes in there. We’ve only got one cafe
in there, correction. It’s Ex Libris cafe. Best baristas on campus. And you know, honestly,
when you wanna go hang out and you’re feeling a
little lonely at home, you know there’s gonna
be a friend at the Ex. – So, so you’d say social life revolves in some, to some
extent, around the library? – You know, and it, it does. And that is entirely to do with the fact that everyone is so
dedicated to studying here. It shows by how often you see
your friends at the library. But there is a, a lot of variation in study space out there, and, you know, you can find a cubicle, you can go down to the B level where there’s absolutely
no-one and it’s dead silent. Or you can be chatting away in the cafe. But I would say certainly if you’re trying to meet some friends and if you’re trying to
hang out with people, Ex is a good place to do that. – So what’s been most surprising
to you about U. of Chicago? – The thing I’ve learned
is that everyone is, is deeply passionate about something. And they will engage with you if you talk to them about it and they’re kind of prodigiously like, knowledgeable about something, anything. You know I, I went to sushi once and I just saw this like, huge group of really really big dudes talking. And I thought they,
they were like fighting for a little bit, and
then you realize, like, they’re not fighting about like, basketball or whatever,
they’re fighting about like quantum physics, and
they’re trying to figure out, like these quantum physics
occasion, equations together, and it’s just, I don’t know, something really beautiful
about like, having this kind of intellectual
hum surrounding everything. – And what advice would you give to a high-schooler applying to
a school like U. Chicago? – Number one, it’s, it’s
gonna be a gamble, right? There’s just, there’s so many people and there’s so few spots that if you don’t get in it’s not because of some kind of deficiency in yourself, it’s, it’s because that’s just, you know, the odds are never great. So if you are fortunate enough to get in I think that one of the reasons that you were fortunate enough probably is that you
stayed true to yourself. And by that I mean like, you’re gonna get a random essay question, right? Like, you should write
about what you care about. Don’t try and pad your application with, you know, all your volunteer work and all of the traveling that you did. Talk about what you’re really invested in. It shows in every student here. Everyone is really invested in something, and you should talk about that, because I think that’s what
the University looks for. For instance, I didn’t know I
was gonna get into photography but it’s what I really
cared about when I applied. So my essay was about the
way that I edit my photos and the way that I color-correct and crop and frame and whatever, and, I wrote about what I cared about and I managed to get in somehow, so I think if you, if
you do the same thing you’ll be in a good place. (calm piano music) Hey, guys, thank you so much for watching. If you enjoyed this video please make sure to subscribe and check out more.

Danny Hutson

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