5 New Experiences After Moving From a Private Christian School to Oxford College

All of my life, I attended a private Christian school. Classes were small, Christian education was a requirement, and we had chapel every week. Christianity was openly discussed in almost every class, regardless of the subject. I had a graduating class of about fifty students, and we knew everything about each other; we acted and treated each other like family. You basically could never see a stranger on campus! However, now that I'm at a larger liberal arts college, some of these things that I experienced daily have completely changed. Here are 5 new experiences that I have had after moving from my private Christian school to Oxford College:

  1. I see someone new almost every day. When I join a new class, or even just walk down to Lil's or the quad, I see a face (if not more) that I have never before seen in my life. At my old school, I'd seen the same faces for over nine years and could describe them down to every detail. Now, I come into contact with a complete stranger on the daily almost everywhere I go! While this may seem a bit scary at first, it is actually quite fun. Knowing that there's still so many people to meet and learn stuff from is exciting! Going to events on campus is especially neat because you know that it's a great opportunity to see and meet new people; each event will be different since it'll attract a different crowd, and that's pretty awesome. Lastly, it's really great to find people with same political values, since everyone at a Christian school tends to be more conservative. Emory's liberals and Young Democrats club have been terrific, and I love having others with the same views as me. Debating with the Young Republicans is fun, too! It's a respectful debate, and at the end of the day, we all love each other and want the best for the world. There are so many different views out there, and a lot of them are represented at Oxford, and I think that that's something pretty cool.
  2. I've attended various religious events. Growing up, I only ever knew Christianity; sure, we touched on other religions in class, but never as in depth as we did Christianity. Now, at Oxford, I have attended a religious event from almost every religion represented on campus, and it has been absolutely incredible. Seeing how others practice and what their values are has been quite the learning experience and knowing that we all share the same goal makes me happy. It has also been proven to me that, regardless of your religion, you can be friends with anyone as long as you respect each other. I have never been judged for my religion here, and I do not think anyone else has either. Being able to share and teach others about religions is something I find to be truly beautiful, and this mutual respect is an idea that Oxford absolutely exemplifies.
  3. The line in the cafeteria can actually be a while. While this may not be surprising to most, it has definitely been a huge shock to me! At my old school, we would only have to wait in line for a maximum of about 5 minutes if the meal was a good one that day. Now that I'm at a larger campus, 5 minutes sounds like a miracle. The food at Lil's is super delicious, and that shows how long the line is. When those peak eating times hit, you can be sure that the line to swipe your card will be well out the front door. I've learned to practice being patient and compromise when the line is just going to be too long, something I never had to worry about before. So, long story short, be patient or get ready to eat something else.
  4. Restarting your whole social life can be fun. After 9 years of knowing the same people, I never really had to tell someone my interests or explain my life story; they all already knew. Now that I'm here, I have to establish all of that all over again. Not only are you sharing yourself with new people and hearing about them as well, but you also get to solidify who you are again. After describing my interests to numerous people, I feel like I know myself so much better now. It's also been awesome to see this realization in others, as well! Seeing their face light up as they get excited to tell you a story from their past is something that is truly special.
  5. Not having a uniform and dress code is wild. Having to choose a new outfit every morning is a struggle that I have never in my life experienced, and now that I do... OH BOY. My fashion sense has most definitely been tested and practiced. However, this is actually pretty fun. You get more ways to express yourself now! What's even funnier is that I'm actually able to show my knees and shoulders without any worry. How wild is that?

Long story short, Oxford has been the perfect transition for me from a small, Christian school to a larger, liberal one. I have learned so much already just from living here for a little over a semester, and I can't believe I have the honor of staying here for another year. I'm so excited to meet new people at all of the events on campus and learn from each and every one of them. Oxford has been life-changing, and I wouldn't trade this experience for anything in the world.

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