As my time at Oberlin draws to a close, I've started thinking more about what my overall experience here has been, and how that fits into my life in general. I've also been thinking a lot about high school, and how that was different from college, and how those two experiences have been similar and different. Thus, the top five things I miss about high school (in no particular order):
- Being able to take classes in many different areas.
So I put that a little more dramatically than the actual truth. You can still take classes in many different areas; that's the whole point of a liberal arts college. I've taken archaeology and French and Chinese, all classes that have nothing to do with either of my majors. That said, the difference between high school and college is that you're not taking as many classes that are unrelated. This is just the nature of higher education: the further you go the more concentrated in one are you get. Grad school takes this to a whole new level.
I also think that a lot of people really appreciate the opportunity to focus that this narrowing provides. But, as I've alluded to before, I'm all over the place as far as my academic interests are concerned. I want to be able to take physics and chemistry and English and history and a language all at the same time, like I did in high school, but that's just not realistically possible. I would go absolutely crazy if I tried to take that many classes at once.
- Being in school all day.
Now, granted, that wasn't too much fun back in the day, but it meant less problems as far as time management was concerned. There was only so much work that could be assigned when you spent most of your time in class. Now, I spend a lot less time in class and a lot more time working on my own. While this is nice because it offers more freedom, it also means that procrastination hurts that much more.
- The ability to separate school and home.
This goes with the previous point a little bit. In high school, you could go home and be away from all the drama--both the good and the bad. At college it's a lot harder to do that, because you're on campus all the time. This is also really nice, because it means that you make very close friends; that's just what happens when you see someone all the time. Nevertheless, it can get exhausting. Now that I've moved off-campus, it's been a bit easier to establish that boundary.
Still, sometimes the only thing to do is jump in a car with some of my friends and go to a restaurant in Elyria or Cleveland, just to remind ourselves that there's a world outside of Oberlin.
- Classes that last for the whole year.
This is probably just a psychological thing, but I always feel like I've only just started getting into a class and understanding it when suddenly it's over. Which also means that things never have a chance to get boring. Still, I never feel like I get the chance to really settle into a class.
- A smaller graduating class size.
My high school graduating class had just over three hundred people in it. My college graduating class has a little over twice that, which at times can be a bit too many people for me. The thing that I liked about high school was that I knew a large percentage of the people in my graduating class. At Oberlin, I feel like I know a large percentage of the people in my major, but not in my class. I'm not sure why this bothers me so much, except perhaps because it means that I have to keep my rampant senioritis to myself so that I don't drag my underclassmen friends down with me.
But, really, looking at the stars at 1:30 AM (thank you, Astronomy Club) is always going to be more fun than writing a paper, even if said paper is about mummies.