Just about two years ago, I had the great fortune to be able to select from among terrific options for college. At the top of the list was a great mid-western university that I had planned to attend from about the time I was 7 years old, when my much older brother began his freshman year there.. So, I visited that great university as an admitted student full of expectation… and it didn’t feel quite right. So I decided to visit WashU. Here, all of the concerns that I had at that other school were addressed and more, but it was still hard letting go of the dream of attending the same University as my brother and my mother and my aunt – the legacy pull was very strong.
In my uncertainty, I texted a senior at Wash U who had attended my high school in Chicago. I asked her all my remaining questions. After almost two full years at WashU, I want to revisit these questions and answer for myself, so here goes….
*Time traveling backwards two years in my text stream*
High School Megan: I’m leaning towards WashU and I was wondering if you could tell me why you chose it and what you like about it as a student?
College Megan: I chose Wash U because it answered all the concerns I had about coming to college. I was looking at a big state school and started to feel as though I’d be lost as an individual in the campus. At Wash U, they make an effort to know every student by name and story. Everywhere I go there’s someone to say hi to. In my classes all my professors know who I am and care about how I’m doing.
High School Megan: I visited two weeks ago and I was really excited about how great the campus was, and the food and everything else! Do you like the size?
College Megan: The campus is gorgeous. There’s so many green spaces and benches, you can find a quiet place to do work pretty much anywhere on campus. Put up a hammock or put down a blanket and you’ve got your workspace. When it rains they get even more deeply saturated and the contrast between the red stone and greenery really comes out.
As for the food, no matter what you want there’s always something to satisfy that craving. A lot of ingredients are sourced locally and the people making the food can be the highlight of my day. From pizza to taco salads, you’re covered. Even if you feel like a fancier meal, there’s even an on campus restaurant, Ibby’s.
The size was something I struggled with when looking at the bigger universities. I went to a small high school with a graduating class of 80 students and was ready for something much bigger. I just didn’t know how much bigger. Wash U became a perfect middle ground. Anywhere I go there are new people to get to know and at least one or two familiar faces around as well.
In the art school I pretty much know everyone in my classes because we’ve had so many together so far. Then, when I take classes where I don’t know as many people, it’s a chance to make a new friend.
High School Megan: I was also wondering if people like participating in sports
College Megan: There is plenty of opportunities to participate in sporting events on campus. If you’re not one for going to a football game but you love volleyball, you can join a club team. If you can’t play sports to save your life, but love watching basketball you can go watch those games as well. Club teams have a really good community here.
High School Megan: Are there any traditions you like participating in? Do you have any advice?
College Megan: There’s W.I.L.D which is a time where we have a guest artist come and perform in the Brookings Quadrangle. That’s normally pretty exciting and a good time to hang out with friends. My favorite traditions at school are the ones I make with my friends, though. Going to guest lectures on Mondays. Getting together with my suite on Thursdays. Going to do homework at random coffee shops with a friend on Saturdays. These are the things I look forward to the most.
As for advice, just come in with an open mind. Make sure you’re finding some sort of rhythm for yourself at the school. This means going to you classes and finding what time you do homework best. Listen to your freshman year professors when they give you advice, like getting enough sleep, taking vitamins etc. Join activities you love and activities you want to try, maybe activities you never thought you’d try. Take advantage of being new somewhere and having every opportunity open to you.
High School Megan: Ok last few questions, I promise! I started the housing application, what are the best options for rooms and meal plans?
College Megan: Most people are on the silver meal plan WashU. Higher point plans are better for those who play team sports or just have a big appetite.
As for rooms, you can’t really go wrong. My freshman year I lived in a modern double: two separate rooms with two girls in each connected by a bathroom. I loved my roommate and my suitemates, they made me feel at home right away. This year, I’m living in a traditional 6 in a single. I might love this dorm even more because I get to live in a big suite with a common room and a balcony with 5 of my best friends. We all share a bathroom but for the most part not two of us are ever in there at one time. Long story short, when it comes to rooms find what works for you, but you can’t really go wrong as long as you’re open to the situation!
High School Megan: Ok! All set! I’m really excited! Thank you so much for all your help!