Brianna Crysler Staff Writer
One of the main selling points of large universities such as UConn is the exciting campus life— the dozens of restaurants, coffee shops, and dive bars draw in hundreds of students each year. Once the excitement of a new city and new surroundings has worn off, however, the difficulties of navigating such a vast campus set in. It can take months to establish a bus route to class that takes less than an hour, and just as professors are beginning to memorize some of the names of their fifty or sixty lecture students, the semester is over. While attending a large and bustling university may seem like a new and exciting adventure, in the end, settling into a routine and establishing meaningful relationships with professors and staff becomes nearly impossible.
While several of my high school classmates opted to attend larger universities, I chose to stay local with Eastern, and could not be more content with this choice. Attending a smaller university has allowed me the opportunity to establish individual relationships with my professors, and create an educational experience that’s been unique to my needs and interests. While it’s also an added bonus that I can roll out of bed in Nutmeg Hall and make it to any of my classes within ten minutes, the true value of my college experience has been in the relationships I’ve forged with faculty members. In fact, some of my English and education classes have had as few as ten or eleven students, allowing professors ample time to devote to discussion and collaboration with each person in the class.
Not only have these relationships helped me feel as though I always have a support system in place when I need advice on my work and future plans, they have also helped me reach goals beyond the university as I approach the end of my senior year. Thanks to the glowing recommendation letters I received from Dr. Flood and Dr. James in the English department, I’ve been contacted for my very first interview for a middle school teaching position. Had I chosen to attend a larger university where I would not have been able to forge such relationships, it’s likely that I wouldn’t have landed this opportunity.
While it may seem enticing to be a short walk from Starbucks, Moe’s, and Insomnia Cookies, larger universities don’t offer the same opportunity to get to know your professors and establish important personal relationships that smaller universities do. In the end, I’m glad I sacrificed some of these fast food luxuries in exchange for small class sizes, a stress-free route to class, and faculty and staff members that I can count on for support and guidance beyond my years at Eastern.