Though the quintessential college student’s spring break is spent going wild in Cancún, I spent mine doing college tours, part two. Remember all the road trips with your family during junior year of high school, as you attempted to figure out what colleges to apply to? Yeah, fun times. Personally, by the end of it all, I considered just nixing college entirely, applying to McDonald’s instead and calling it a day.
So why did I go on college visits again when I’m happily settled at one already? I went to visit all of my pitiable friends who weren’t on spring break yet. This time, instead of anxiously walking through the campus of what I thought might be my future school, I got to see my high school friends thriving in their new environments. I got to meet their friends who I’ve heard so much about through late night Skype sessions, and I acquired a mental image of the college versions of my best friends from high school.
Over the course of our nine days off, a friend and I managed to traverse much of Southern New England and visited the following five schools in order: Brown University, Connecticut College, Boston University, Smith College and Wellesley College.
It was quite a range of schools that encapsulated many of the possible choices of continued education one has after high school — the Ivy League, a city school, a small liberal arts college in a rural town and two women’s colleges.
The point of these visits was obviously to see my high school friends — and okay, maybe also to gloat a little that I was relaxed and happy as they prepared for midterm-induced coma. But ultimately, visiting served an entirely different purpose that I had not foreseen.
Ever since freshman move-in day, I’ve been inarguably happy here, but I’ve admittedly had a few complaints too.
After visiting all of these other colleges, however, I came back to UR with a completely fresh perspective.
I was beginning to feel that the campus was a little bit claustrophobic prior to break. It’s convenient to be able to get to virtually any building on campus in 10 minutes or fewer, but that also lends itself to a feeling of being trapped.
After seeing some colleges whose student populations are smaller than even my high school, however, and whose campuses are a mere two-minute walk from one end to the other, I came back here and felt like I was residing in a booming metropolis of a university.
In comparison with a city campus it’s nice that we actually have a legitimate campus at all, however small it might have felt to me before seeing even smaller ones. I now have a Goldilocks view of Rochester, where I think our campus is just right.
Another common complaint about Rochester is the food. I’m telling you right now: stop. In terms of quality, it could be so much worse that you just don’t even know.
Quality aside though, I was, to say the least, absolutely shocked to find that most colleges close all of their dining halls around 7:30 or 8:30 p.m. What do they think they’re doing?! College students like to eat all the time, but especially late at night.
At UR you can find food in some capacity until 2 a.m. during the week. Until very recently, I have been taking this entirely for granted.
The last major comparison I made between UR and the myriad of schools I visited was in the people I met. Don’t get me wrong, I’m thrilled that my friends are all so unapologetically happy where they are, but I wouldn’t trade UR for any of those schools.
The fact that I have, on more than one occasion, seen unicyclists reading chemistry textbooks on their way to class here basically speaks to the environment on its own. We’re cool nerds, and I love everything about that.
So my spring break may not have awarded me any crazy stories or an enviable tan, but it entirely erased any remaining suspicions in my mind that I might not have chosen the best college for me.