11 Questions Small School Students Have For Large Universities

October 22, 2015

Madison McGloneWhen people ask where I go to college, my response is normally followed with "Where's that?"

With Stonehill's student body just under 2,500 students, I can understand how my small liberal arts home in Massachusetts can sometimes fly under the radar. Most people are baffled by such a small size, but I'm more confused by why someone would want to go to a school with more than even 10,000 undergrads.

1. What's a lecture hall?
A class of 30 sounds big to me. Try 300? No, thank you. How do these even work? Where does one sit? Does the professor use a microphone? So. Many. Questions.

2. How do you get to know your professors?
With large universities' massive class sizes, odds are professors won't even notice who's in class or not. It's hard not to tell when someone's missing from my eight-person Italian class. However, this is how students have gotten so close to their professors, and made amazing connections through such invaluable mentors. My professors are more than teachers, they are close confidants only a text or email away, and it's not uncommon to grab a meal or two with them in the cafe. I couldn't imagine how to form this close student-faculty relationship with a theater full of students.

3. How do you ask questions in class?
Alright, someone fill me in. Are the computer systems true? Do you hit a buzzer to grab the attention of your professor while competing among 300 other curious peers? Or is this Jeopardy on steroids scenario just a legend we small school students are scared into believing? Either way, I'll just stick to raising my hand, or even calling out for that matter.

4. Do class discussions exist?
You know you're in for a good semester when you can't wait to get to your 8:30 a.m. to continue an interesting class discussion. Sharing thoughts over a conference table or circle of desks with other students who are just as passionate about your major as you are is a really special thing. How this is possible in a lecture hall or class of more than 35 students at the least is beyond me.

5. How do you make true friends?
OK, so on the surface this may seem like a dumb question. I get that. With thousands upon thousands of undergrads at a large-sized school, it should be easier to make friends. My question is, how easy is it to maintain these friendships? Having friends outside of your major, it's unlikely to see them in class. So unless you're living close to them on campus, how often do you really get to spend quality time together? College is such a busy time of life for everyone, and without being a walk away from all my friends on campus I don't think I would have the time or energy to make trips to see them.

6. How do you traverse a thousand-acre campus?
Your campus has shuttles that keep you on campus? I mean, I think some kids at my school own a bike...

7. Students tailgate?
Tailgates at a small school are more like glorified parent picnics. They're fun for the football team and their families, but most students don't plan their whole day, or weekend, around this singular event. They get work done, go out to the games, and go out later. At large universities, this all-day game-day prep and celebration seems great, but week after week with the same festivities, does it ever get old?

8. You actually use elevators?
I think I used my building's elevator to get to my second-floor room once when I was carrying a package...?

9. What's move-in day like?
Moving onto a floor that's higher than three stories is an absolute rarity, and a huge inconvenience when you're used to carrying all your belongings straight from the parking lot to your room. Hearing my friends' stories about moving into their 15th-floor suites sounds like an absolute nightmare. No thanks.

 10. What's it like being a little fish in a big pond?
Small schools are known for their incredible close-knit community feel. At school, I feel like I'm part of a great big family. Small enough to know some of its members, but big enough to always see a new face. At a larger school, I couldn't see how this tight-knit aspect would be possible. Sure, you can argue we live in our own bubbles, but I'll enjoy my lovely little bubble until going out into the real world.

11. Your graduation will be how long?
I look forward to walking across my campus quad upon receiving my diploma. Convocation alongside 600 or so of my peers shouldn't be an unbearable experience. Take that same moment, add a couple thousand undergrad, and host it in something like Yankee Stadium? You might be there longer than an actual major league game. I love my classmates, but not that much.