Column: College culture impacts who we are as people
Prospective members line up outside of Delta Gamma on Aug. 20, 2015. Greek life is a large draw for many students at various colleges around the country, including the UA, as a way to be a part of and cultivate community.
As cliché as it sounds, college is a place for young people to mold into their fully adult forms.
A college’s environment can completely reroute a student’s planned course of action, due to how their surroundings impact them as both students and people.
I was always aware this was the case, but I thought the road to becoming an adult was determined by who a person is at their core, and the college that an individual went to was simply a location for them to grow.
Last year, when I was deciding which university to attend, I didn’t think much about how the school I was choosing would have a huge impact on the type of person I would become, and to what degree my school’s culture would contribute to that.
About a month ago, I returned home to Idaho from the UA for summer to reunite with my family and friends.
My high school friends were all very driven and put in effort to go to a wide range of schools.
Of my close high school friend group, only one of us stayed in Idaho, where she attends a medium sized state school in a rural area. One went to a small liberal arts school in Utah where she is a student athlete.
Another went to a prestigious private school in the heart of Boston. One of us went to a small liberal arts school in Georgia, and I went to a large state school in the Southwest.
Clearly, we didn’t choose the same paths for our post-secondary education, and it’s showing now that we are back together. I don’t know how the rest of them feel, but I notice a difference between the UA’s culture and that of other schools.
The biggest thing that I can compare and contrast between the UA and the medium-sized rural Idaho state school is Greek life.
Greek life is huge at this Idaho school, and because it’s in a really small town there isn’t much to do besides Greek life. So, if you choose to live in the dorms, they say it’s practically social suicide.
Though Greek life is huge at the UA, students don’t need to join to have a fun four years.
My friend that went to a liberal arts school in Utah has a very different social life than those of us here.
She is an athlete at her school, which is not uncommon, because 90 percent of their student body are student athletes, with a large portion on the Olympic ski team. (Where is the Wildcat ski team?).
The skiers are known as “snowbros,” and the minority that don’t play sports are called NARPs, which is short for “non-athletic regular people.” I guess the UA is filled with a bunch of NARPs who never have to trudge through snow to get to class.
Boston and the entire East Coast is known for being very liberal, to a slightly pretentious degree.
My friend that goes to school in Boston is liberal, which doesn’t bother me because I too am a liberal. She loves that her school is filled with students who discuss feminism theory and gender/sexuality with fluidity. This is definitely not how my school is.
At the beginning of the school year, I was slightly disappointed with the amount of Trump supporters there were at Arizona.
Now I’m friends with Trump supporters, even though I’m not one myself.
To each their own, but I like the political diversity among the UA’s student body. I think that it has expanded my political knowledge and has challenged me in ways that other schools would not have.
For my friend that goes to a small school in Georgia, she was exposed to a Southern culture that she has not experienced beforeShe went into college in a serious relationship, which is why a school culture like this is beneficial to her.
At her school she said that everyone there is either in a long-term relationship or looking for one, even as freshmen.
Of course, there are couples at the UA, but in my experience, the majority of the freshman class is single and usually isn’t looking for their future spouse.
The University of Arizona isn’t the best school in the world, but I like the opportunities it has provided. The person I’m becoming is in part because of the experiences that I have had as a Wildcat.
I do envy some of the things that my friends have at their schools that I don’t, but ultimately I think I made the right decision for me. I think all of my friends ended up in environments that are best suited for them.
Every school is different. It’s just about finding the right school for you and making the best of your school’s culture
Follow Claudia Drace on Twitter.