By now, everyone has seen this list of “22 Signs You Went to a Small Liberal Arts College in the Middle of Nowhere.”
This was not only hilarious, but accurate.
I would know, because I attended a small private university that had approximately 600 students total when I came in as a freshman. Plenty of people who lived in the same town as that university didn’t know it existed, and I would find myself describing it as “the big building right off the highway…yeah, the one that looks like a prison….No, it’s not a reform school, it’s a university….Yes, a four-year university….Yes, we do have dormitories there.”
Needless to say, it was quite the experience.
And in case you’re not convinced, here are 10 perks of going to a teeny tiny Christian college that is frequently mistaken for a state penitentiary by passerby on the freeway:
- There are fewer people to fight in line for the soft-serve machine. (Of course, this assumes your university cafeteria has a soft serve machine…which mine did not until my senior year.)
- You learn to really appreciate people of the opposite sex for who they are on the inside. (Because the pickin’ is slim, if you know what I mean.)
- It’s easy to make friends. Just by attend one campus event you’ll get to know 70% of the student body. Perform at a campus event and have 70% of the student body lining up to date court you.
- Cats live in the bookstore. Seriously. I’m not a cat person, and I am fairly sure this violated several health codes, but whatever. It’s a small school, and as Miley would say, “This is our house, this is our rules…It’s our party we can do what we want!” (Except we say it with less twerking, because twerking leads to dancing which leads to babies. Come on now.)
- The “famous in a small town” phenomenon definitely applies. This can really work to your advantage, for example, if you are the aforementioned campus-event performer wooing people with your bass-playing skills. (This is less-great if you are the person who is known for practicing nudist behaviors at inopportune moments.)
- You get to meet homeschoolers, which is basically like meeting an honest-to-goodness Amish person, just without the horse-and-buggy thing. (To be clear, people who were homeschooled are not necessarily “homeschoolers.” The determination depends primarily upon the level of social functioning acquired by the time they begin attending college. Also, while admittedly quirky, homeschoolers are not necessarily weird and/or dangerous. Some of my closest friends were homeschooled or were homeschoolers…but don’t worry, they’re pretty high-functioning by this point.) If you can, take pictures of this rare breed. However, be warned that some of them refuse to be photographed because, much like the indigenous tribes in BumfritzNowhere, they believe that cameras will steal their souls. Another fun activity is bringing up any of the following topics for discussion: Harry Potter, predestination, modesty, the Duggar family, alternative medicine, and immigration policy.
- If you’re the kind of person who was a nerd in high school, you have the luxury of not having to worry about living under the reign of terror otherwise known as Greek Life. If you were not a nerd in high school, you will have the luxury of being fawned over as the hottest piece of meat on campus (even if you’re really only a 6.5 by real world standards).
- You can still be taken somewhat seriously when you’re majoring in something like Creative Writing. Also, some of your classes will be held at professor’s houses, where people will read poetry out loud (sex dreams are a frequent theme) and discuss it while you sit in a corner on the floor soaking in the fact that this is really happening. Don’t worry, these occasions will become precious memories.
- Doing stuff like getting up on the roofs of buildings you’re not supposed to have access to becomes a lot easier when you know everyone. And trust me, you’ll know everyone.
- Speaking of knowing everyone, one of the downsides of tiny schools is that everybody knows your business. Sure, that’s true, and it’s a pain if you’re doing embarrassing stuff like running around in your underwear. But on the bright side, without even trying you get to know everybody else’s business…which, let’s face it, can be pretty exciting. (That’s a really good thing when you live in the middle of nowhere.)
Yeah, I’d say it was worth it.
There were things that could’ve been better, but it also could’ve been a lot worse. I probably changed more during my four years of college than I did in all my life prior to that, and so much of who I am now is shaped by the people and experiences I encountered at my teeny-tiny alma mater.
I mean, the homeschoolers alone were worth it.