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What It’s Like Being A Small School Alum

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You may have chosen a university with a small student population for multiple reasons: optimal class size, closer to home, the school is known for your program, you got an athletic scholarship, and so on. But graduating from a small school comes with a list of problems that graduates from state schools will never understand.

Moving Cities

You decide to pick up your bags, kiss everything goodbye, and head to a new city, state, or country, where a great opportunity could be in store for you. That’s not as big of a deal if you’re from a large, well-known university, but for someone who came from a smaller university, it could be a problem. The immediate bond with someone random at the bar, the network that could land you a new job, or even seeing your school’s flag flying on game days–the small school kid sees none of that. The university’s student population may be a fourth of the size of your state school buddy’s class. The odds of you moving and running into a fellow alum are extremely slim.

Alumni Events Are Hit Or Miss

So you stayed in the state of your alma mater, and it throws alumni events to try to get a stronger alumni base while also grabbing some cash out of your wallet? Picture the lamest party you ever went to and now multiply that tenfold. That is what you get from these alumni events, especially if your school doesn’t have a football team. My university had a World Cup watch party earlier this summer. I showed up to see a total of 10 people there. That was it. For all I know, the event was amazing and everyone showed up, but I left after five minutes.

No One Knows Where You Went To School

I don’t regret going to a small, private university, but if there’s one thing I hate, it’s that I can’t just answer with my university’s acronym when people ask where I went to school. I don’t have the unrealized luxury of schools like OU, UGA, UCLA, or UT. There are three universities in my state with similar acronyms, and my alma mater has the smallest student body of the three. Despite that my university’s academic value is nationally ranked higher than the other two schools, when I say the whole university name, I’ll still get questions like, “Oh, you mean OSU?” No. If I meant OSU, I would have said OSU. Yes, I’m salty about it.

Lack Of Sporting Events

One of the problems with not being an alum from a large university is the lack of sporting events, and therefore, the lack of tailgating events. Even if your alma mater has a football team, it was probably free to get into football games with your student ID and $5 to get in otherwise, so tailgates just don’t happen.

Lack Of Any School Pride

Odds are, most of the athletic programs at small universities are horrible. Division III or NAIA schools with football programs can’t compete against the top universities in the nation for obvious reasons. No student is going to sit on cold, metal benches at a shitty field and watch some high school scrubs duke it out for their minuscule athletic scholarship. My alma mater’s sports programs were actually pretty good, but there was still no form of school pride in athletics, because the university has a large arts department and people are more focused or too busy with their classes, projects, or shows.

Like I said, I don’t regret going to a smaller university. It was my home for four years. Sure, a nationally recognized football team would’ve been great, but I enjoyed having close friends who I could see almost every day around campus. I enjoyed the short walks to class, and I met my fiancée at a mixer, so I can’t complain about that (because she reads my columns).

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