I Spent the Weekend at a Liberal Arts College and Here’s What Happened

As a third-year Badger, I’ve become accustomed to the ways of living at such a large campus. Madison has become like a second home to me, and it’s the only kind of college life I know. I hadn’t even been to another college campus since those infamous high school tours. But over spring break, I visited my best friend from high school. She attends Muhlenberg College in Allentown, Pennsylvania. This school is, believe it or not, approximately 2,000 students! That is less than the freshman class here at UW! While my trip was so much fun and it was great to experience a college dynamic with a high school friend, I felt like a fish out of water. Actually, more like a badger out of its natural habitat. But here I am to tell the tale of what it was like to venture into another college territory.

The first big difference was the trip to campus. It was a short car ride, which is something I’m not used to. In order to go to Wisconsin, I need to take a two-hour flight. It was a nice change to take a scenic car ride to college, and much less stressful than having to catch a flight. I finally got to Allentown and knew right away I was not in Wisco anymore. The college looked adorably miniature compared to Wisconsin. It takes five minutes to walk across campus, while at Madison, it takes twenty. It was weird to not be out of breath from walking a brutally steep hill.  


Since the college is small and there is no city around, there honestly wasn’t much going on. I started my day getting lunch at the dining hall - might I add, the only dining hall at the campus. I hadn’t eaten in a dining hall since freshman year, so I definitely felt more like a college student doing so. However, I think I’d prefer to stick to the many on and off-campus dining options Madison has to offer. While there aren’t many events going on due to the quaint and quiet area, the camaraderie and familiarity everyone had with each other was nice to see. At UW-Madison, you see familiar faces, but mostly within small groups or communities you make. And the only sense of camaraderie is from game days, which I still love nonetheless. But here, everyone knew everyone and my friend ran into at least 10 people from her sorority. People she knew kept popping up everywhere all day long. That’s something I rarely come across at Madison, or at least not to that extent. As for things to do at the college, well, there wasn’t much since the school is literally so small. But, you can argue the same during the insanely cold winter months in Madison.


However, I don’t get to see my friend nearly as much as in high school (which was basically every day) so I was so happy to get to see what her life is like at college. And the best part about maintained high school friendships is that you pick up right where you left off like no time has gone by.


Even though I felt out of place throughout the day, it wasn’t so bad because at the same time, going to a different college felt new and exciting, like being a freshman all over again. I was meeting new people and seeing a new place with fresh eyes. The college had a different atmosphere and dynamic, unlike Madison. They both are different types of college life, each with their own pros and cons and even some similarities and differences. But, this trip ultimately confirmed my love for living and learning at UW-Madison. I was apprehensive to go to a big school and thought I was stepping out of my comfort zone, but in reality, the school I chose was meant to be.


It was nice to see what college life is like at a smaller school and there are definitely some positives about it, but I can’t see myself at any other school than here at UW-Madison. Now it’s time for the tables to turn and have my friend visit Wisconsin!