College. Small town, blooming flowers, book ladened students, with back packs turning their backs to crescents as they walk in threes to enlightening classes. A now seemingly necessary part of our lives. We go to ensure better careers in the future, a higher salary, to learn about obscure topics, and because our parents force us. Many assume that college students are just like the movies. Going to class only half the time, parting hard, cramming for exams, and the up-and-coming norm being overly depressed. While all of these are true none of them fully encapsulate what the college experience teaches. The location of your college, living on your own, the classes you take, and the clubs you join all teach lessons that you may not have learned without college.
–About the Author–
I am a third year at Oregon State University studying Business Management and Writing. About 5’7”, brunette, fun loving and bubbly. While I don’t consider myself a typical student, I do have a lot of universal experiences. I have explored Corvallis, taken weird and fun classes that I thought would just ensure an A for bacc core but ended up teaching me unique outlooks. Become part of several on campus clubs and can’t image my life without the friends I have made there. And yes, from birth have been expected to go to college. The question was never “Do you want to go to college?” but instead “Where are you going to college?”
–Corvallis as a Town–
Corvallis is a small floral town in Oregon with a population of about 54,000, 30,000 of those people being OSU students. It has been named Top 10 College Towns in America and Top 5 Most Beautiful College Towns in America. It has book stores, coffee shops, a beautiful river going by downtown, tons of bars and all of it caters to students, their major sales democratic. You can get a student discount almost anywhere you go, the biggest property managers in town won’t rent to you if you have been on academic probation, and if you yell “GO BEAVS” everyone around you will echo the battle cry. This small college town presents a unique college experience, in contrast to the stereotypically uncaring city.
This town is a great place for students where this is their first foray out of the nest. Freshman year in the dorms I met five people who had no idea how to do laundry. We spent the about a half hour all six of us squished into an itty-bitty laundry room in the basement with 6 washer and driers, going through everyone’s clothes deciding which set they were in, and the reason why you shouldn’t put supper fluffy sweaters in with non-fluffy items. One of my first house mates put dish soap in the dishwasher leading to bubble bath kitchen. We listened to seminars on how to budget our money and do taxes. This is not to degrade those in these stories but more to point out that the people in Corvallis want to help those first-time outers. Living on your own forces you to learn life lessons that your parents can not always teach you. Your laundry does not magically disappear, and money doesn’t just show up in your bank account for being nice.
The most class-ical learning at OSU is also interesting. There is a bacc core called Governing After the Zombie Apocalypse that draws people from all backgrounds and majors in. The name not only sounds fun but it goes in-depth to interesting topics. When I first heard of this class, I thought of the OSU Humans vs Zombies Nerf war instead of a real class. Described as “Constitution-writing in a post-apocalyptic world. Students write a constitution that addresses issues of difference, power, and discrimination.” It creates an environment for discussion, understanding of basic needs in a government, and what will be needed after the end of times. This provides a stimulating way for students to look at necessary government facets and the world around them without having to memorize meaningless dates and historical facts.
OSU tries its hardest to ensure student connection with its topics. It being a PAC 12 school lets it have a variety of classes that all fulfill one topic but in ways that will engage any type of student. Like the cultural bacc core Death and Dying. Not as morbid as it sounds this class is “An overview of cross-cultural and historical attitudes and practices around end of life, death and dying. Assessment of contemporary legal, professional, cultural and technological issues surrounding end of life/death and dying.” Death is something everyone around the world must experience themselves and for their loved ones but every culture does it so differently. This type of class not only opens people eyes to the future but submerges them in other cultures without paying for a plane ticket. OSU prides its self of its cultural diversity and getting students to widen their horizons.
This is also why there are so many clubs on campus. There are the major ones put on by the university like sports; gymnastics, swim, wrestling, etc. Freshman year my friends somehow talked me into volleyball despite my ineptitude. I was terrible at volleyball in high school and even though three out of the six of us were amazing we only won one game. We didn’t feel too bad about it though. In reality it was just as an excuse to spend time together and do something besides playing videogames not an attempt at the championships. There are also the eight cultural centers on campus. Including the Asian Pacific, Women, Native American all of which are open to everyone. You do not need to be part of the culture to learn more about it or study at the centers. Each also put on awesome events every year, like a luau, a salmon bake, and fun craft days. There are also the more traditional academic clubs. We have clubs for each of our majors, those who want to learn more or spend time with their peers to practice. The Deans Academy provides special events for the people with the highest grades. My favorite one so far has been a lunch with potential employers. The recruiters form several big-name companies came to lunch with five of us and we go to probe their minds, networking, and getting some information on what really happens behind the scenes. There are also many study clubs for particular classes or topics. For the majority of these there are students that have done really well in classes working through homework, or problems with people having trouble. OSU is great at supplying as much resources as needed to help any student succeed. Students also run many clubs that the university helps to sponsor.
I am the president on the OSU Ballroom Dance Club. We teach people a new type of ballroom dance for an hour every Wednesday. I have been part of the club since my first term at OSU. I did not know how to ballroom before coming to OSU but one of my friends took me to the club. Everyone was so nice and the dancing its self was really fun. Now I have won competitions, been the president for two years, and have made lifelong friends.
–What is College?–
People come to college to reach a goal. Along the way we learn more than planned. College does not just teach you in the classroom but in every day that you open your self to new experiences. Some people learn what it takes to live on their own, getting their first job, and knowing that red socks don’t go in with the white laundry. Others become cultured while finding new passions. They get a thirst for knowledge that didn’t exist before taking that one weird class. They meet people thorough clubs, find new friends, and try new things they never thought they would be talked into.
College is seen as an almost universal experience but it is different for every individual. It is not just for those bushy tailed, just out of high school teenagers, but people well into their career, or even their life. But no matter what you only get out what you put in. College could just be about classes, it could just be about networking with future industry leaders, making friends, etc. College is not just one thing; it is what you make it.