Allison Hering '20 | August 6, 2019
When starting the college search, one of the first things you might ask yourself is, “do I want a big school or a small school?” For me, I knew pretty quickly that I belonged at a small school. When I arrived at Marian University my first week, it was clear that I had made the right decision.
While there are many positives to attending a large university, the feeling of community that comes with a small university is incomparable. People go out of their way to engage with you even if you are simply passing by on your way to class. Even the faculty and staff get to know you and interact with you around campus. I get tied up in a good conversation with someone different almost every time I head to class.
To me, one of the most beneficial aspects of a small university is the small class sizes. I never knew how much I would value my professors knowing more about me than just my name. Your education becomes more personal, and a professor is more likely to understand and know when you might not be feeling like yourself that day. Most professors make themselves available to help students outside of class time; it’s as simple as stopping by their office. Advisors, professors, and even the staff on campus see you as more than just another face in the crowd. That professor you took one class with two years ago probably still remembers your name, and gives you a wave on the way to class.
As far as classmates go, I’ve had the opportunity to get to know each individual by name and create relationships, especially within my major.
Something that was important to me when I was deep in my college search was being able to get involved with multiple activities on campus. I knew If I played sports at a big school, that sport would be my life. At Marian, I am able to compete in intercollegiate athletics, handle my school work, and still be involved in clubs and events on campus. I have time to support the things my friends are doing in academics, athletics, and within clubs. I participate in service projects, movie nights, bonfires, athletic events, and still have time to work my on-campus job. It isn’t without its own challenges, but it’s possible. Most students leave with a resume filled with things they were a part of while at school. It’s almost impossible to not be involved in something on campus, and by doing so, it opens the doors to meeting different people that might not be in your class or on your team.
When I begin to think what it would have been like to attend a big state school instead of Marian, I’m reminded of the way my presence on campus is constantly acknowledged. I’m kept accountable by my professors, and I have countless resources readily available. There is always a place and person to sit with in Alumni Hall or the Dining Commons. It has been such a beautiful thing to have a campus full of people who know and love you, who push and support you. At Marian, you are more than a number, more than a face in the crowd—you are acknowledged and cared for by people here. The community is there to support you long after you’re handed your diploma.