Being a college student can be so fun, exhilarating, and full of new experiences. If you're a freshman, it's a whole new world depending on where you go. Any college can be fun with the right people and the right vibes.
As a college senior, I've seen all of the madness, the fundraisers, the crowds of people, the events, the clubs, and all of the crowded travel. I attend a public university and my college has 60,000 students at the very least. It stays busy here and is always bustling.
One thing I can admit: I love and hate being a student at such a large university. There is a list of things that I like and don't like, but today, I felt it was appropriate to share the things that tick me off about my humungous university since I drove around on Monday trying to find parking for my class and never did. Just little things.
1. Not enough housing.
As a student who has used student housing in the past, it's not accommodating. It can be inconvenient, lousy, and a difficult thing to deal with. When I was in student housing on campus, I constantly had problems with my student ID getting me into my dorm. My dorm required me swiping my card just like a hotel room key, and then inputting a code to enter into my building and also my door. Because my ID got so worn out from the swiping and because the doors were worn from so much swiping, my card wouldn't register on the doors. So I was inevitably locked out of my own dorm room building.
This wasn't a one or two-time thing. This would happen to me a few times a day. I was showing up at my dorm building at 10:45 at night after getting off of work to go straight to housing help to have someone let me into my dorm room with a card that actually worked.
Not to mention that a majority of the students that attend my university come from out of state and can't afford to stay in an apartment home or house outside of the university. When they're not offered any on-campus student housing, they run into problems of their own to even reside in order to go to class. There are 60,000 students and not even a fraction of that can stay on campus in housing. A major inconvenience.
2. Not enough parking.
You've probably heard this one a thousand times, but public universities don't supply enough parking for their students. I can vouch that my university is probably one of the worst with this problem. It doesn't matter if it's morning or afternoon, parking is always a problem.
The thing that doesn't help is the fact that my school holds graduation ceremonies for high schools over the summer - like now - and for some misunderstood reason, a full-time student who pays to attend the university and pays money to be able to park can't park anywhere. It's upside down and inside out. The school administration thinks that it's okay to block off entire parking garages for these events with complete disregard to the students taking summer classes that need a place to park to get to class.
Not to mention these guests and visitors are paying $5 to park while I'm paying $50, and I'm not even guaranteed a spot. I've missed one of my classes a few times because I couldn't find a place to park, and I even left early enough to allow myself time to drive around to find parking.
To all of the public universities that think that doing this is okay: it's not. You're a huge disappointment to your student population who need a place to park their vehicle to go to class. Find another way.
3. Services are sub-par.
By services, I'm mostly talking about health services like a prescription filling, therapeutic visits, and regular doctor's visits to the dentist, optometrist, or primary care providers. I know this is a big step for universities to have these services, to begin with, but if you're going to provide services to students struggling financially, at least make them good services that are worth the wait and the money.
I seek professional help for my anxiety and depression at the student health center on my college campus. I've been a loyal patient for a couple of years now, and the services are getting worse and worse as time passes. Constantly updating systems in order to ensure better communication, less waiting time, and troubleshooting issues with insurance verification is appreciated; although, they don't resolve the issues that they say that they will.
All I'm saying is that services could be improved. Students who, again, pay to attend the university as a whole are paying much more money to actually go to school than a doctor's visit costs. We need better and more convenient services.
4. Having to teach oneself.
This problem is forever persistent. Every few professors that I have, I'll come to find out that I'll need to teach myself the curriculum. This is because, with such large groups for their classes, professors are less student-focused and are more group-focused. This is problematic because students such as myself who have to go off into the virtual world and to visit tutors in order to learn the curriculum correctly and to completely understand it has trouble learning in a bigger environment.
This could simply be because of the size of the university and that classes will inevitably have hundreds of students. But it's still a problem. If I have an entire lecture and don't understand a minute of it but also don't want to be the person asking a question after each concept, then I'll want to visit office hours or email my professor. Let's be honest, I don't have time to sit around and ask questions. I have other classes as well as a full-time job. I have little time to dedicate to my professor in one-on-one time.
5. The overall costs.
You might be thinking that going to a public university is tremendously cheaper than attending a public university. Coming from a student who attended a private university first hand and then transferred over to a public university, the costs end up being pretty high nevertheless. Yes, tuition is usually cheaper, and there's not necessarily room and board financial requirements if it's not required for freshman/students to live on campus. If, however, we factor in the smaller costs: parking passes, having to pay for parking tickets if we don't have one, having to pay to live on/of campus, paying to attend club meetings, socials, sororities/fraternities, etc, we get close to the same thing as a public university's regular costs. It doesn't make a difference that we attend a bigger university if we want to be a part of everything that we want to go after.
Hopefully, if you're considering attending a public university, you go into it positively and consciously, but with caution in reference to these things. Public colleges can be fun, just hold onto your wallet and watch your money. Be careful, make necessary phone calls and emails. Keep your head up and it won't be as bad as you're thinking.