Are you considering visiting your significant other, sibling or unrelenting friend who keeps asking you to “come and see what their life is like” at their respective university? Do you wonder what another college is like, especially one that is starkly different from yours? If you are, I am here to tell you about my experiences taking the leap and booking that ticket.
So far, as a sophomore in college, I’ve been able to visit three different universities: the University of Michigan, Michigan State University and Washington University in St. Louis. Going to Lehigh University for one year doesn’t *quite* count, but if it does in your book, it does in mine as well. Visiting a Big Ten school like UMich or MSU was an exciting experience, to say the least. Coming from a midsize university that specializes in the liberal arts, stepping onto a campus of nearly 40,000 students can feel a tad overwhelming, even if you don’t attend. When I visited, I was shocked by how vast both campuses were and, to my surprise, how necessary the campus shuttle is for students to get from their dorms to their classes. The lifestyle, put frankly, is not for me. But then again, that’s why I chose a liberal arts college.
When you visit a Big Ten school, you’ll see how a wind of opportunities, people and places takes over the campus and puts you in a sea of movements within the student body. What I loved about being a visitor to these schools is that I got to experience all the excitement of the student body’s school pride without really having to express or be anything but myself. I was kind of just there, but I liked that. Big Ten schools are unique in that the college town is less important than the school itself in many aspects, as the school tends to be so literally “big” that it engulfs just about every part of the typical student’s day. That isn’t to say that there aren’t fun things to do off-campus — there are plenty of such things.
Most recently, I visited WashU over break, and to a lesser extent, I saw many similarities between the school and Tufts. A midsize university carries many of the same traditions, lifestyles and student life experiences regardless of its location, for the most part. It was interesting to see how the different dorms and dining halls shaped students’ perceptions of the school and how they had created their terminology for navigating the confined campus.
I recommend visiting another school if you can. It allows you to see that your college is far from all there is. There are many different types of universities, and they carry unique charms and characteristics wherever they may be. At the very least, you’ll get to act like a menace without reaping any real repercussions from your actions! On that note, visit wisely and have fun!