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Friday, November 16, 2018

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University size is just one factor in your college experience


While there are pros and cons to all university sizes, the atmosphere you create for yourself is ultimately the most important factor. | File photo/ The Cougar

There is no doubt that different universities have specific strengths and weaknesses, being slightly influenced by the city surrounding the university. But goals should not be halted based on events outside of your control, such as the university you were accepted into.  

Your college experience is largely determined by the students and faculty that you will share your home with for the next four years. High-ranked universities do not have secret textbooks or anything of the sort. Rather, they use selective admission to build a community of visionaries with a proven work ethic.

The biggest different in attending a densely-populated university is the challenge of creating this atmosphere for yourself.

Building a small community of friends is important in obtaining this atmosphere. Studies show that creating an appropriate support system of friends is crucial to success and health. A support system should align with the type of environment you need.

Your college experience can also be impacted by choosing an interdisciplinary approach to your desired field of study. Even though a variety of majors and minors are offered, only some majors allow students the freedom to choose a minor, and many majors have a minor built into the prescribed course load. 

Chemist Willard Libby, who won the Nobel Prize for the discovery of radiocarbon dating, applied his findings in chemistry to the discipline of archaeology. Like Libby, students need the chance to build their own perspective with well-rounded learning.  

An interdisciplinary approach allows students to be creative.

Some people believe schools are stifling creativity, and we must break down the barriers that have stood in front of us for some time. This can be approached by merging two fields, such as psychology and architecture, to influence the world in new ways.

Adding a new sector of one field into another, such as the psychology of building design into a sector of architecture, is another interdisciplinary approach. There are limitless ways to mix and match, and this contributes to a student body with greater potential to make a difference after graduation.

Another difference in attending a large university is the large amount of events and organizations present to unite many different backgrounds, as is the case here at the University of Houston.

Diversity, both acquired and inherent, propels innovation through sharing of ideas and not being afraid to share ideas. Therefore, an advantage of attending a large university is having a diverse cultural hub to exchange ideas and perspectives with, leading to innovative approaches and work dynamics in a chosen field of study.  

Higher education is for intellectual and personal growth so you can reach and surpass long-term goals, and while the university you attend is a factor in your success, it is not the only one.

Opinion columnist Maryam Baldwani is a biology sophomore and can be reached at [email protected]

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