A Mid-Sized School Was The Right Fit For Me, And It Could Be The Right Fit For You Too

A Mid-Sized School Was The Right Fit For Me, And It Could Be The Right Fit For You Too

Not too big, not too small, and just right for me.

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When I was looking for colleges three years ago, I had very little idea of what I wanted. I was the oldest (and therefore first) in my family to go to college in this new generation, so I didn't have any older siblings or cousins to look to for advice on the 2000s college experience. I also had the minor problem of hating the "college visit" experience. I was never a fan of the overly-peppy tour guides, the staged presentation of the university, and the long presentations about financial aid, student life, academics, and more.

Couple that with the fact that I was looking for colleges in the Midwest – which meant that it was almost always too hot, too cold, or too rainy to be outside taking a tour- and I was definitely NOT a fan. To try to cut down on the number of visits in light of having no idea of what I want, my family and I decided the best course of action was to look at schools of three different sizes first and then pick a school in that size range that I was interested in based on distance, academics, and/or student life.

And thus my college visit plan was laid out by the beginning of my junior year of high school. (Hard to imagine that it was already four years ago!) I knew fairly quickly just from reading that I didn't want a really small school so that limited me to either mid-sized or big schools. The first middle-sized school I looked at Bradley University in Peoria, Illinois. Wonderful school, but a little too close to home. I wanted the college experience of living on my own, but I couldn't economically rationalize paying for a dorm room when I technically drove a farther distance to my high school than I would have been driving to Bradley. I did, however, like the size of a mid-sized school and kept looking at similar institutions.

I also, per my parents' request, looked at larger schools. I took a tour of their alma mater, the University of Illinois, and I was certain about 15 minutes into the tour of the campus that this wasn't for me. This is nothing against the school itself; in fact, I had been visiting the U of I since I was a kid as my family made return trips for athletic events. (Yes, I was at the Wake Forest game in '05 season.) But regardless of how great those experiences had been, I couldn't wrap my head around the vast size of the school itself. I was used to a smaller grade school and high school environment, and the sheer number of people I saw walking around that day was too much for me to feel comfortable. It didn't feel personalized, and I didn't want to get lost in the sea of people. My brother goes to the U of I now and loves his experience there so far. So it is the best choice for some people, but it definitely wasn't for me.

So now that I had the mid-sized school decided upon, but ruled out the one closest to home, I started looking outwards from Illinois. After visiting a few different campuses, I settled on Butler University, a manageable 3-hour drive to Indianapolis. I couldn't be happier with this decision and wouldn't change it for the world. I love the personal atmosphere- the relationships I form with the professors and the fact that they actually know my name. I like the open atmosphere in the classrooms and the freedom to share my opinions without feeling like I am addressing (or actually addressing) an auditorium full of people. I like being able to walk from class to class and recognize and talk with the people I see. And I love that while Butler is able to have some of the big-school amenities (like an amazing basketball team to watch every year), it maintains a feeling of home that I don't think I would find at a larger school.

Like I said earlier, different size schools and better for different people. Some people like the anonymity, while others like attention. Some people prefer something in between. I would say, however, that a mid-sized school has a perfect balance of each, and I would highly encourage anyone struggling through the college selection process to give a mid-sized school a chance.

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To All Student-Athletes Beginning Their Respective Seasons, Remember Why You Play

You are going to get tired. You are going to get worn out...

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Dear athlete,

The season is by far the most exciting time of the year. Big plays, good memories, traveling new places, and winning championships... But yet another promise is that season is also exhausting.

You are going to get tired. You are going to get worn out...

But remember that this season of your life doesn't last forever. Remind yourself why you play.

You play this sport because you love the game. You love the competition, you love your teammates and the friendships that you've formed, you love the lessons you learn aside from the physical aspect.

So each day, continue to choose the game.

It's not easy. But if it was, everyone would do it. But discomfort is where progress happens.

Quit dreading practices, quit wishing for rain, quit complaining about conditioning, and quit taking for granted a busy schedule that is literally made just for you. Tens of thousands of young girls and boys would do anything to be in the position (literally) that you are in. Take advantage of being a role model to those young kids who think the world of you.

Freshmen, this is what you have wanted for so long. Take advantage of the newness, take advantage of the advice, encouragement, and constructive criticism that your older teammates give you. Soak it all in, four years goes by really quickly.

Sophomores, you now know how it works. Be confident in your abilities, yet continue to learn and grow mentally and in your position.

Juniors, prepare to take the lead. Use this season to, of course, continue to sharpen your skill, but also recognize that you're over halfway done, so mentally and physically ready yourself to take the seniors' lead next year.

Seniors, this is it. Your last year of playing the sport that you love. Be a good leader, motivate, and leave your mark on the program in which you have loved for so long. Encourage the athletes behind you to continue the traditions and standards set by the program. Lay it all on the field, leave it all on the court, and leave your program better than you found it.

Take the season one day at a time and, each day, make it your goal to get better. Get better for your team, for you pushing yourself makes everyone else work even harder. So even if you don't get a lot of playing time, make your teammates better by pushing yourself so hard that they have no other choice than to push themselves too. And when a team has every single player pushing themselves to the max, success happens.

Take advantage of this time with your teammates and coaches, for they won't be your teammates and coaches forever.

No matter what year you are and no matter what your role is this season... GROW. You are an integral part of your team and your program.

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Top 5 Villanova Food Destinations

Just some good food recommendations from a second semester freshman

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I'm a big foodie which makes it difficult to truly enjoy myself while dining in the dining halls that don't offer foods that I truly enjoy. Here are some places I go to when I'm in need of food that isn't mass produced for college students!

1. Campus Corner

CampCo is Villanova's biggest love. Its a great place to go when you're just hungry at 1am or when you just want junky foods at any time. I've been to CampCo in my first semester a ridiculous amount of times. This is the main cause of the Freshman Fifteen.

2. Winger's

Winger's has fantastic wings and amazing fried pierogis.

3. Flip & Bailey's

DISCLAIMER: Not a picture of Flip & Bailey's

I'd just recently gone to Flip & Bailey's and it was a great experience. I loved playing shuffleboard and watching the football game with my friends.

4. Azie on Main

Azie on Main is a great restaurant to go for birthdays or any celebrations. The restaurant atmosphere is very boujee and elegant. The food is absolutely incredible too if you're a fan of sushi or Asian food.

5. First Watch

If you're a fan of brunch this is the place for you. Sunday mornings are packed with Villanova brunch fanatics always. I'm a big fan of the avocado toast but every option is great.

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