On prefering a smaller college


Stephani Bradley

No one has the same preference when it comes to deciding the college they want to attend.

For a long time, I knew where I wanted to go to college. In high school, I marched with my school’s color guard. I didn’t know what I wanted to do career-wise, but I knew if I wanted to continue marching into college, Northwestern State University of Louisiana was the only option.

The summer after my sophomore year, my family moved. We moved just far enough away to get me out of my old school district.

This meant I was leaving the marching band.

My new school had a band but it was much smaller and the shows were different. The color guard was almost brand new.

I left my sureness of college with my old marching band.

Far along in my senior year, I still hadn’t thought about what I was going to do for college. In my English class, we learned about making a “college folder.” It would hold everything we needed to apply to college: a resume to inform, recommendation letters to persuade, college essays to entertain.

Up until this point, going into the science, technology, engineering and mathematics field was really my only choice. I had decided on radiology, because if I was going to do STEM, it was going to be medical.

But blood makes me nauseous. But vomiting triggers my terrible gag reflex. But I have never taken an anatomy course before. But at least I had a plan.

Graduate. Do pre-program courses at the community college and transfer my junior year to pre-medical.

Throughout my senior year, that plan changed. My major changed and I was once again brought back to my first, and frankly only, choice: NSU.

I didn’t apply to any other schools. This was it and I am now studying English.

I couldn’t be happier with my major. I get to read and talk about the things we read, and do the same with writing.

I do sometimes regret going to a smaller school.

I wonder about what it’d be like to live on a huge campus where there are thousands of people in my major rather than hundreds. I wonder about living in a large college town that sees outsiders more than just during the Festival of Lights.

I did finally get a taste of that.

My sister is two years younger than me and started college this semester. She’s majoring in aerospace engineering, meaning there’s no school big enough to contain her dreams in Louisiana.

She’s living in a major college town with a population of over 99000 people shadowing our 17000 in Natchitoches.

This past weekend was family weekend which meant families from all over the country came to see students and to attend a massive college football game.

Everything was busy and there was never a quiet moment. It was easy to become overwhelmed at the sheer size of some of the crowds we encountered. It was easy to get lost on a campus of nine thousand acres when I am used to less than one thousand.

I think as humans we spend a lot of time worrying about everything, including whether or not we’re on the right path.

What if going to a smaller school will hurt me in the long run? I know I worry about this a lot.

I am glad to have it eased in my mind with the decision that going to a smaller school is okay.

I like going to a small school where I get to attend classes of some of my favorite professors multiple times to see the wide array of knowledge they have and because I am able to attend multiple clubs with familiar faces.

Going to a small school doesn’t necessarily mean that my sister’s dreams are bigger than mine. They just need to be fulfilled somewhere else.