"Have you visited the campus?"
"Do you plan on doing a tour?"
"How nice is the campus?"
If you were or are a high school student, you have probably overheard or been engaged in a conversation that involved those questions. Throughout my senior year of high school, choosing a university for my freshman life depended on various factors, including the beauty of the college campus. Because I had so many different universities in mind with no particular favorable choice, I performed overwhelming research on the most search-worthy topics, such as university reputation, athletic reputation, best student experience, research/innovation and, last but not least, campus beauty. Despite knowing how ridiculous it was to even consider making the looks of the campus the deciding factor, I still did my deed on Google Maps and browsed around every college I applied to using the street view feature.
Many of my friends who were also having trouble deciding where to go used similar tactics, and every single day, our conversations would revolve around the potential colleges we would be heading off to next year and why. Day after day, the importance of entering a school with a magnificent campus continued to make an impact on my research; the thought of studying in cool buildings and walking down roads that were over 100 years of age to reach my classes left me with excitement and anticipation.
Just how amazing would it be to travel to class while being surrounded by green scenery, a famous library and world class architecture? One college I applied to (University of British Columbia) had the ocean breeze breathing over coniferous trees and famous buildings year-round, while having cherry blossoms blooming in the spring. With open skies and one of the most famous libraries in Canada, this university was one of the definite western go-to's for kids from my city of Calgary.
Another college I applied to (Simon Fraser University) had an amazing layout with beautiful walkways but was on top of a mountain, giving it a feeling of isolation. While the outside provided beauty and the view of the mountains solidified the pleasure, being on such a high plateau while being surrounded by concrete buildings gave me ideas for better options.
A third college I applied to (University of Waterloo) had an unappealing campus exterior with old buildings that looked liked they were ready to be replaced and roads with cracks in them. Despite that, the university was still home to some world-class buildings and provided an indoor tunnel system to help students avoid cold winters.
Eventually, I convinced myself that some factors in deciding where to go should be emphasized more than others. What about the distance from my family? My program's reputation? The first year residences? With everything considered, I picked the third college shown on this list. Just because the old buildings look like they are ready to collapse, or if no aspect of the campus whatsoever gives off the feeling of studying in a kingdom, does not mean that one will not have a thrill of a time.
By now, as my freshman chapter comes to a close with a bookmark sticking out of the final page, I have to say that no matter how much information I sought out prior to my first year in college, the feeling of belonging and seeing yourself graduate in four to five years is an aspect that can only be determined with effort. Sure, the beauty of the college campus is greatly attractive and pressuring, but after multiple years of attending the same school and seeing it every single day during the school term, would the grounds give off the same vibes and beauty as before? It is certainly natural for depreciation to occur after being so used to seeing one's campus every single day and for you to disregard its style. What I want to state is to make sure the smile on your face when you graduate one day reflects the amount of satisfaction provided to you from the student body, your program, your professors, campus life and research opportunities. Anyone can turn a dull campus into a bright and cheerful one with the right attitude and appreciation.
Lead Image Credit: Kasey Fu