When I first announced where I was going to school, I got a lot of doubts from my high school teachers, my friends and my parents. My school has a tiny population of only 900 students, laughable when compared to the size of big schools like Florida State and University of Central Florida. Everyone was so worried that I wouldn’t find friends, that everything would be steeped in drama and that there would never be anything happening on campus. But this was far from the truth. My school is one of the smallest I’ve heard of, and I’ve grown to love it for that reason. Here’s just a few reasons why I love going to my small school:
1. Everything is a social gathering.
There’s only so many places I can go on my campus, and no matter where I am, I can always find my friends there! Whether it’s waking to see the sun set on the bay, going to get food in the dining hall or just hanging out on the porch outside my dorm, I can always talk to a friend or meet someone new. This is especially great since I’m an extrovert, but the intimate little nooks and crannies make for a great opportunity for the more shy students to make friends in small casual groups
2. Institutional memory.
We’ve never had campus size hit 1,000, which makes it much easier to track down alumni and the stories they tell about our school. Our first classes were of only around 100 students, making for some really fun and easily accessible stories. We have a whole room dedicated to memories of the campus, including a banana from the 1970s and old pinball machines that used to be in the dining hall.
3. You feel more like you live in a neighborhood than a campus.
The student who lives next to me isn’t just someone who lives in my building— they’re my neighbor. The person across the hall? A neighbor. The person living on the other side of my dorm? Still my neighbor. Even the people who live across campus are more like neighbors to me. Because there’s so few of us, we treat the campus less like a collection of unconnected individuals, and more like a community of interconnected people who care about each other’s well-being. Everyone I pass walking around here basically gets a friendly, neighborly wave.
4. You’ve seen every inch of your campus.
Our school is, like I've said, tiny. Since one of my (and a lot of other students’) favorite pastime is walking around enjoying the fresh air, I’ve seen almost every unique, beautiful place on my campus. Not only that, but so many other people have been there that they all get some really great backstories (and maybe some rumors).
5. Every party has an open door policy.
Since everyone is my neighbor, there really isn’t a concept of a “party crasher.” Every weekend, no matter who’s throwing the party, I know I can always come and socialize a bit, with plenty of party favors to go around. Even if I don’t know the host, I almost always know a guest of the party, meaning I can always get an in to wherever the party is. This also means I can befriend the host, too!
6. Your friends are never too far.
Unless it’s the case that a friend lives off campus, I can always pay someone a visit in less than a 10 minute walk. There’s only about 10 dorms on campus, and often there’s a couple people hanging out at any one outside most of the time. Not only is this convenient, it also prevents a lot of drunk driving incidents.
7. Your professors can pay attention to you.
Most of my classes only have around 10 to 20 people. This small size means my professor knows my name, knows my circumstances and can give me much better feedback on my work. Not to mention that they can write some amazing recommendations and speak well on my behalf for internships and jobs.