There are a lot of things I thought would happen when I went to college. Pretty much 95 percent of them did not happen.
There is a cliché college experience I had in mind my first year that I feel a lot of us had coming into school. For some reason, our school is different.
Maybe movies are to blame for giving us false advertising, but something about college was anti-climactic. To begin with, we go to an open-minded school, which is not bad, but it goes against what I expected. There are no jerks bullying just to be mean. No one on campus has a reputation, whether good or bad. Depending on their size, some departments have standout students, known for being friendly, but that is about it.
I expected club fairs to be lined up and down the quad trying to recruit members. Instead, we only have Greek organization booths, which don’t appeal to as many people. I didn’t expect classes to be as hard to get as they are. Food is expensive, so now there’s a dilemma of whether I should even eat or not. I expected to be invited to a rager at a frat every weekend.
While I learned a lot and take pride in my education, I feel there was more experience to be had that wasn’t there.
One reason for my experience is Cal Poly Pomona is a commuter school. My mother told me dorming was part of the college experience. When I started here, I lived 20 minutes away so there was no reason to dorm, especially with how expensive it is. A lot of people are in a similar situation. A group project partner told me dorming was interesting because you make a lot of friends, but that opportunity seems to be allotted to a select few.
We lack a football team which eliminates the consistent Saturday afternoon hangout. There is nothing like cheering for your school. We have other sports teams, and they are mostly doing really well, but there’s nothing quite like football. Our school also doesn’t really have a “university village” like other colleges. Usually, there are little shopping areas with cheap restaurants and entertainment places like movie theaters close to campus. On Temple Avenue there is something similar, but it is not catered to college students.
My last theory as to why a lot of people have said they didn’t feel fulfilled by their college experience at Cal Poly Pomona is due to our previous quarter system. In the quarter system, work and tests were overwhelming and happening every week. Students were constantly stressed and busy to the point they couldn’t focus on anything else.
When I came to college, I expected big lecture halls where exciting occurrences happened, like guys making spectacles for girls they liked or professors setting things on fire to prove a point. But this school is comparable to a job, where people come and leave as soon as possible, making it hard to develop an attachment and really feel part of something great. Most people only bond over the fact that parking is horrible, but that doesn’t tend to create lasting friendships. I’m in my last year here, and while there’s nothing I can really do to change the experience I’ve already had, I do take into account what I wish I had gone through and push it toward how I try to live my life outside of school and my plans for the future.
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