Image from Pexels.

Image from Pexels.

Imagine you’re in a General Chemistry lecture with 250 people. Sure, the professor seems to be droning on about something relevant to thermochemistry, and you know hypothetically you should attend lecture, but today you just don’t have it in you to stay awake.

Silently, you slip out the back door and the moment you step out of the Science Center there’s a curious feeling of rejuvenation that warms your body right up. Suddenly, you have the motivation to undertake that 20 minute walk to Starbucks for some pumpkin spice. Good thing you went to Chem lecture this morning or you’d never have made your coffee run.

If you go to a large school or even a medium sized school, I guarantee this will happen. The fact is that no matter how dedicated you are to being pre-med or pre-law or just plain studious, there will come a time when the urge to bolt is just too much to bear. For some of you, by the end of your second semester you will look back on your freshmen year and realize you attended less than 50% of your classes (cough *Danielle Zarbin* cough).

Sadly, large college lecture halls are not built to keep us awake after a long night of theater rehearsal or partying or streaking across the quad. In fact, the rows upon rows of monochromatic plastic swivel chairs taunt us, mocking us with their promises of interminable boredom.

I don’t know which contributes more to the sea of sleeping students: the lackluster PowerPoint slides (which you can get online anyway) or the fact that the professor appears so small you can’t tell if he’s a he or a she. Either way, lecture halls are the most counterproductive way of making students want to attend class at a large university.

Solutions to the Problem:

1. Find a way to triumph over the constant inner conflict: to go to class or to think about going to class until five minutes after it has started and then justify going to beach. If you are this person, I admire your self-discipline. Truly, I aspire to be you one day.

2. Be incredibly self-reflective and admit to yourself that this is an area of weakness.

3. GO TO A LIBERAL ARTS COLLEGE.

4. At the very least, go to a college where the average class size is small enough where your presence is obvious. This way, you cannot hide in class. You cannot miss for fear of shame from your fellow students and professor.

Size matters when choosing a college and not because you feel that you would fit better at a large school or you feel you would fit better at a school of 1500. It is important to acknowledge that your inklings now will very likely be rendered obsolete once you get into the swing of things on campus. Consider concrete facts about yourself and how those may intertwine with aspects of the colleges you are looking at. Just make sure to be realistic with yourself about what concerns you may have in different sized environments.



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  1. Joanna Flores on September 12, 2013

    “3. GO TO A LIBERAL ARTS COLLEGE.” Oh my goodness, amen. My big lecture class size here at Fordham is about 100 (Gen Chem, Gen Bio), and even then, they still take attendance (via “clicker” response questions, and/or actually signing in on an attendance sheet).

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