The Truth About College

As I pass eager high school students and skeptical parents on their tours of UD, I can’t help but reflect on my own college visits. The mornings started early with me waking up at 6 a.m. in order to make the 8 a.m. check-in. It was then supplemented by my dad going 70 mph on I-95 in order to ensure he would get the best parking spot since we knew hundreds of other families would be coming to these campuses for the same reason. Every tour I’ve ever been on seemed generic and processed. The tour guide would walk backward, telling us everything they loved about the school with a huge smile on their face at 8 a.m. when they were probably hungover from the night before and patiently waiting for their shift to end. Nonetheless, I did take into account the various tours I’ve been on while making my college decision but realized that these tours could have not told me anything about my future at the University of Delaware that I thought I would have. The way I attend different experiences while being a college student is completely different from the way I used to attend things as a prospective college student. 

I can’t help but notice how much my perspective about UD has changed since becoming a student here. I remember walking past ISE being amazed at the amenities it had, but since then I have dreaded walking past that building (since four-hour lectures of biology and chemistry haunt my mind). I thought Perkins would be a quick and easy way for me to grab breakfast in the morning, but I now have to account for the 20 extra minutes I will have to stand in line if I want to make it to class on time. Even though the line at Dunkin may be scary at times, I have been able to bond with some of my best friends here over a cup of coffee while we share stories about our calc lectures. 

The tour would then end with the guide telling us their favorite thing about the college they were at. I can’t remember exactly what the tour guide said about UD, but it was along the lines of the amazing research opportunities. The academics are very impressive here, but they couldn’t possibly be the “most favorite thing” about college. I look around campus and see the bonds that people have made with strangers just weeks before. I see people reading under a tree on the green, and others embrace the smell of the Scrounge as they walk into Perkins. People who hang out in the lounges of Redding and others who like to sit in Trabant and be under the neon lights that stretch across the food court. Without even realizing it, it’s the little things that add up to become someone’s favorite thing about college. I guess it would be hard for tour guides to put these experiences into words, and these are the things that are left unsaid on the tour, but wind up being the most impactful. These are the experiences no one prepares college students for, but these are the experiences that can resonate with college students everywhere.