13 Perks To Attending A Small University

13 Perks To Attending A Small University

Woke up fifteen minutes before class starts? No problem.
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Let's admit it, the college search is a long and tedious struggle. Trying to find the best school for you can require thinking about a lot of factors: teacher ratings, dining hall quality, dorm room quality, athletics, student/teacher ratio, and so much more. Often during a college search, size does matter. When the word college comes to mind, the stereotype turns to a huge campus, fraternity parties galore, tailgating, college football games, and lecture halls that can fit over a hundred students.

But what about those smaller, less recognized universities? Often, they are simply overlooked just based on their size. However, over the past year of attending a small town university on the prairie, I find that there are many overlooked benefits that cannot be found on a big college campus.

1. Dining hall lines are unbelievably short


Even when it's the big lunch rush, it never feels like you're waiting in line for hours.

2. Walking distance from your dorm to where-ever

Small college campuses allow you to get up fifteen minutes before your class on the other side of campus and still have time to get ready and make it on time. Definitely comes in handy for people who are not early birds.

3. Smaller classrooms = Closer connections

No need to feel claustrophobic in those huge, crowded lecture halls. Small classes in smaller classrooms give the class a more connected feel with their professor during class as well as their fellow students. This make a difference when talking to your professor about concerns regarding your classes. Less students = more opportunities to get help from your professor.

4. Involvement within the community

There are numerous ways to get involved on a small town campus with the outside community: volunteering at the animal shelter, going to church in town, attending town council meetings, town library book clubs, bingo night; the list is endless!

5. Nature is everywhere, and she's beautiful

When living in a small town in the middle of no-where on the prairie, biking and nature trails are the best way to get away from campus life for a while. It gives you a break to clear your mind from the hectic life of classes and homework while also getting you some fresh air.

6. Everything big community wise happens on-campus

Small towns don't have concert arenas or professional football teams to watch, but the university does. All major events that happen in the town happen on campus and usually students get a discount. Talk about a win for the home team!

7. Hang out spots, diners, coffee shops and restaurants - you know them all!

You know every nook and cranny of your university town as well as the go-to places? Need the lowest gas prices in town? Go to the gas station on Main Street. Need a good cup of coffee and place to do your homework? The coffee shop on the corner by the dollar store has a great Americano along with comfy chairs next to a fireplace. And forget about those chain restaurants, local eat-out spots are one of a kind! A homemade hamburger, fries and chocolate milkshake from a local diner always beats out McDonald's when it comes to that homey feel.

8. Easy and cheap transportation


When living in a small town, you don't have to drive fifteen minutes to go to the grocery store or to your favorite restaurant. Everything is either walking, biking, public commuting or short drive distance away - definitely a money saver on gas.

9. Internship and scholarly research

Can I bring up those professor relationships again? Professors really look for those bonds with their students. Those bonds can later turn into opportunities to work with that professor on internships or scholarly research, which looks really good on your resume.

10. Familiar faces

There comes a point in the semester where you are able to recognize every face you pass by. Whether you've seen them in class, at a club meeting, in a performance or just walking around campus, you feel like you've seen them at least once. Just knowing this makes you feel like you're part of a community.

11. Better chance of getting into college athletics, clubs, or organizations

Although small universities don't have the money to have huge athletic programs or scholarships like many Division I schools, it does provide students interested in sports the chance to participate. Smaller universities are more fluid on who is involved in extracurricular and give every student a chance no matter their experience level!

12. Making it personal with your major

Larger universities are often strict on criteria and classes needed to fulfill a major. Same goes for small universities, but some small universities give students the option to customize their major if they'd like (with the approval of the academic board), giving them a more hands-on control of their major.

13. You become more than just a number


To small universities, it's the person that lies behind the GPA that matters. Their mission is to to connect with each and every one of their students on a personal level in order to help them succeed. College is certainly the time to become your own person, and having a university that recognizes you individuality truly helps you along on your journey through college and beyond.

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Five Main Reasons I Chose Communications

Because I know people will forever hound me about "fake news".
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I did an article a few weeks ago about “questions my family would ask” and my answers to them. One of the questions was as follows:

What’s your major?

  • Communications. Yes, I know to not get involved with fake news. To be honest I will do my best not to write about politics at all in my field because I want to get involved with entertainment journalism and meet new people and write about stuff I actually enjoy hearing about twenty-four seven.

This answer got me to thinking more about the fact that people may have a stigma against those going into the communications field. I know I for one have seen many articles doing “majors as _______” and the communication ones are humorous and true, saying that the communications slogan would be “trying to convince people your degree is worth something.” Honestly, it’s the truth. I feel as though many may have a negative impression when I say I want to go into the communications field. I can not count how many times someone has said “fake news” to me in some way shape or form, and it may make people hesitant to admit this is their passion. So this articles for you, if you wonder why in the world someone would donate so much time into something like this.

Learning on the Job.

I for one always had a passion for learning. School? Not until recently, but learning was always something I enjoyed. With communications, there are endless opportunities to learn about places, events, and people. You learn so much about history and settings which you may not otherwise think you would find interesting. Yes, you can learn on your own time, but being paid to learn about things that you may not otherwise open your mind up to- and things you do find fascinating, as well- is, to me, the perfect environment because there is always something new to introduce.

Meeting People.

I can’t think of a more interactive job than one which involves heavy communications skills. Journalism or public relations are so heavily involved in other people’s lives that it makes my life seem less boring. I believe the perfect example of this would be the 1998 film by Todd Haynes, Velvet Goldmine, starring Christian Bale. It follows a journalist who gets to travel all over New York and meet people in attempt to piece together a piece of mysterious history. Ironically enough, that wa the film that really made me want to go into journalism. The interviewing process is more often than not, highly intimate. You learn details about people you may otherwise never have met before, or crossed the street and not thought twice. Heck, you might have even let a door shut on them, but in that moment you’re sitting across from them hearing their entire life story.

Travelling

Probably the most glamorous part of the communications field is being able to travel and meet the people I mentioned above. It is no secret that some of the most well known publications are nowhere near my home state of Virginia, but that’s okay! I look forward to taking that risk and living in New York. In my eyes, and probably a few other students’ as well, moving is part of the job, and all too worth it when you could get the chance to meet someone truly extraordinary. Personally, if I were to carry on in communications, my section would focus on the entertainment industry (films and the like) and so conventions are a big part of publicity and press. Being able to go there under the title “press” interview some of the biggest stars in horror or other films, interviewing Oscar nominees? There’s no opportunity if you stay grounded in your roots. You have to move to find the story.

Advertising

And communications isn’t just for talking! You get to get involved with campaigns and marketing as well. It opens doors to getting work scene, making posters and merchandise for artists, commercial advertising, films, and so forth. There’s a truly creative aspect that comes with communications whether it be posters, presentations, or merchandising. It’s a real art form you don’t appreciate until you sit through a lecture on fonts.

Having a Voice

Okay, this ones a little cliche, but one of my personal favorite aspects of communications- mass communications- is being able to have a voice, be it in front of a small group or a big audience. It allows you to test yourself, and see where you really stand on certain aspects (yes, we are taking the political bullet here). It also allows you to spread your message and persuade others to think critically about what they believe. I believe that communications gives a very heavy sense of empathy which some (most) may lack, the understanding of other people and their sides to some issues, big or small. Once the message is out, it’s the ultimate gateway to compromise.

I use to be incredibly introverted, and going into the communications field has helped me to create another version of myself entirely. It opens doors to figuring out what your morals and ethics are, a road of self discovery, if you will. Communications isn’t just “fake news” and politics, it’s an entire world of never ending education and facts and learning, and while it may not be as glamorous as a lawyer or doctor, it is just a fascinating to the right people.




Cover Image Credit: pixabay.com

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Let's Arm the Teachers

.....with what they really need
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The news is swirling and people seem to be losing their minds over school shootings (as they should be). From conversations on mental health to intense arguments on gun control, the national dialogue on school shootings has once again reached a peak. Survivors are seeking action by politicians now more than ever - although many have been fighting for change for decades.

The newest, most creative, "ah-ha" idea in many localities around the country is to arm teachers and administrators with guns to protect students. Whether this idea seems genius or like the stupidest thing you've ever heard, I am not concerned. Put it in a Facebook post.

I want to talk about a different kind of armament for teachers and school district employees. What if the government armed schools with the supplies, salary, and training to protect their students in a way in which they were capable of the positive mental, physical, and emotional development to protect them from a plethora of disasters including suicide, bullying, poverty, and, yes, school shootings? What if all teachers, not just private school teachers, were given the resources to properly support their students? This could lead to a compounding of armament meaning that students would be provided with the 'arms' (support and skills) they need to protect themselves from poverty, mental and physical illness, violence, etc.

Picture this, a student is struggling in school academically and socially. A teacher being paid sufficiently, with enough free time due to small class sizes, with the motivation and drive through proper training by their administrators, and with the extra supplies to help his or her students practice and understand class material is equipped to support the student emotionally and academically. This student, with this careful attention from the teacher improves in school socially and academically to become a productive member of society with some self esteem as icing on the cake.

The student without these resources falls through the cracks. He or she remains behind in school, emotionally damaged, and vulnerable to failure. Failure comes in many forms whether it be not graduating, not getting a job, falling into poverty, getting into trouble with drugs and alcohol, not having friends, deteriorating mental health, etc. These things are as much of a threat to one's life as gun violence. Furthermore, these things can lead to gun violence.

I do not agree with those who want to arm teachers with guns in order to protect students, but I do believe, although to a different degree, that education and strong teachers have great amounts of power in protecting the world. I believe it is possible, through funding and stronger infrastructure, for education, specifically public education, to protect students from violence inside and outside of school buildings themselves.

Overall, the politics of gun violence in America is complicated and wrought with many strong and conflicting opinions. I believe the most recent solution, to arm teachers, is complicated and dangerous, but my point has nothing to due with this discussion. I believe, though, that teachers should be armed with resources much more effective in the long run than guns. I believe in the power of teachers to keep students safe.

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