Apr   2016



The Perfect School in the Perfect Place: My College Search Dilemma

Student Writer
Last Updated: Apr 14, 2016

Recently I visited Texas Tech University. I loved the college. It’s pretty, has dorms I would want to live in, the major I am hoping to pursue, a pretty awesome pool, and a whole bunch of things to do around campus. I can definitely see myself living there for four years of my life. Unfortunately I can’t say the same about the city. Lubbock was hot, dusty, empty of people, and void of things to do. My tour guide seemed to love Lubbock, but to my taste it was too much of a ghost town.

On the other hand is Ithaca, New York, where Cornell University is located. The moment I stepped off the plane in Ithaca I fell in love with it. As a small town, everything is located within 15 minutes from everything else, which gave it a cozy sense. There were trees everywhere, giving the city a vibrant look, as opposed to the dry grass in Lubbock, which gave it a Wild West sort of feel. The temperature was cool that day (45° Fahrenheit in July!). Later I discovered a collection of waterfalls. However, I didn’t feel quite so at home when I explored the actual university. Cornell has buildings made up of pretty red brick, beautiful botanical gardens, decent dorms, the major I wanted, and (most importantly to me, since I want to be an ornithologist) the Cornell Lab of Ornithology right next door. But everything was so clustered together, it almost made me claustrophobic.

These aren’t the only two universities where I’ve faced this problem. I’ve found some universities I like in cities I detest, and cities I love but not a university I want. This leaves me with a dilemma. What’s more important: the college or the town? Well, obviously the college is more important. It would be pointless to live in an awesome city if the university isn’t right for me. After I graduate I can always move to a city I do like. However, attending an amazing university in a city you can’t stand isn’t an ideal situation either. A good part of those four years of my life will be spent off campus—shopping for groceries, watching a movie, eating, or just hanging out with friends. That’s why I’m still hoping to find my perfect match. There are lots of colleges out there, so there’s bound to be somewhere with the perfect combination of university and city life for me.

Some people have already found that perfect match. If you’re one of those people, I envy you. For those of you who, like me, are still searching, I commiserate with you. Good luck in your college hunt. One day I believe we’ll find our dream college in our dream city. All we have to do is look.

Have you found the perfect college in the perfect place, or are you still on the hunt? Share your college search stories in the comments!

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About Mariel Ortega

Mariel is a Wildlife and Fisheries Sciences major (a true mouthful) from San Antonio, Texas. But more importantly, she is the loudest and proudest member of the Fightin' Texas Aggie Class of 2021. From the time she first went birding (yes, that’s a word) with cardboard “camouflage” to doing mad-sciencey things, Mariel’s amassed quite the arsenal of bird facts. (Did you know a peacock is actually a male peafowl?) Her goal is to change the world one person at a time—or more likely, one bird at a time.


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