My older brother goes to Centre, and never misses an opportunity to tell me how much harder his classes are than mine.
“Oh, your tests are multiple choice still? I haven’t had a multiple choice test since my freshman year.”
“You go out on Thursdays? I have way too much homework/studying to ever go out on a weekday.”
“Your classes don’t all require attendance? At Centre, my classes are so small, my teacher would know if I missed class without an excuse.”
The list goes on and on. Cue my constant eye roll. In many ways, he is probably right. The classes are probably more vigorous in a lot of ways, and he is getting an excellent education that is going to really prepare him for Med School. I’m proud of how hard he works, and I know that Centre was the right school choice for him.
I would never consider going to Centre, or any small liberal arts school for undergrad. Those kinds of schools aren’t realistic in how the world works.
At UK, no one is going to hold my hand and call me out if I don’t go to class. If I wanted to skip all of my classes, and never get any attendance points, and just show up for the tests, I could do that. However, my grades would probably reflect poorly on that decision.
It’s not that my professors don’t care, but they are not going to be motivators for my success. That success relies entirely on my shoulders.
If I want to get good grades, it is up to me, and me alone, to decide to go to class, find time to study, and get my assignments turned in on time.
Centre, as well as many other liberal arts schools, set you up for success. They want every single student to be involved, go to class, feel equal to all other classmates, and do everything they can to make sure you check off all the boxes for college.
There’s a lot more individualized attention at a small school like that. People are a lot more open-minded and diverse at a school like this. It’s a perfect, ideal, little bubble.
At UK, and most other public universities, it’s a lot harder to get involved, easier to skip class, and all students are most definitely not treated equally. There's not a lot of diversity here, and while we're working on improving this, there is still a lot of bias.
It’s a lot like, dare I say it, real life.
There’s going to be a lot more people that flunk out here, a lot more people who do mediocre, and just a few who will figure what needs to be done in order to make the most of their time here.
When people succeed at UK, it is because they found an intrinsic motivation, a motivation inside themselves and not from anyone else to achieve their goals (special shout out to Holbein for this tidbit).
This lesson is more valuable for the real world than anything that could be taught in the classroom. There are no safety nets in the real world. No one will care in the real world if you fail, except for you.
This realization is scary at first, but it also gives you a clarity and a purpose.
Public universities teach you to do it for yourself. Go to class. Take notes. Study. Join an organization. Apply for that internship. Take on a leadership role. Study abroad.
And if you don’t, that’s cool. Nobody is going to yell at you for not doing any of those things. But the ones that graduate with jobs, or get into graduate schools, or have any sort of plan, are the ones that figured out how to take advantage of their resources.
The point of this article is not to trash Centre, or small liberal arts schools. They have many advantages, and they help a lot of people be successful after college.
But I’m happy with my choice in school, and I refuse to let people condescend UK and other public universities.
Cats by 90, baby.