College campuses are constantly changing. Nowadays, they can look more like a vacation resort than a place to get an education. So, here are some of my thoughts on college life and things I’ve noticed. These are great points to keep in mind if you write about college students or choose to use a campus setting in your novel.
1) College is Weird and Stress Inducing.
Let me begin with a quote from a student:
“college is so weird like you give people a bunch of money to provide a service that just stresses you out and makes you poor so that hopefully one day they give you a piece of paper that says you’re qualified to earn all of that money back this is too much i need a drink” –Brandon
Stressed and under pressure–that’s everyone, especially college students. Even before the semester begins it’s not uncommon to find students studying, preparing so they can get ahead. So when you’re on campus and students walk in front of your car like it’s invisible, give them a break. They are overworked and not getting paid at all.
“College kids literally don’t care about walking in the way of cars at school because we’re like “hit me i don’t care pay my tuition.” – Christina
2) The Best Food in Town.
Seriously, it’s no mystery college kids gain weight. Restaurants love being close to campus, it’s guaranteed business. Some the best places I’ve eaten have been these little hole-in-the-wall diners near my school. Also, the food on campus is not too shabby. At Virginia Tech, you can pick out your own Lobster and order filet mignon. They even have their own campus ice cream shop and bakery. And the quality is pretty five-star!
3) Neutral Living Space
Co-ed rooms –yep, guys are girls can share a room. Heck, they can share the same bed if they want, all by choice, of course. Many schools are providing gender neutral housing assignments. I image parents to have the biggest issue with this one. 🙂
4) Free stuff
It never fails. Each time I’m meeting with a student on campus free stuff is available, they are just handing it out as you walk by. Anything from pens, cups, t-shirts, hats, food, even computer software. Surprisingly many students don’t care. So much free stuff and so little space to put them, I guess. And there’s a such thing as having too many t-shirts. Believe me, I know!
5) Puppies and Babies Pretty Much Get The Same Reaction From Students
It’s one of the best things to witness, seeing the stressed out faces soften anytime a baby or puppy is around. It’s as if babies and puppies help remind students that there is life outside of the institutional bubble. I had my baby while I was still living/working on campus and everywhere I took my son, everyone wanted to see him or hold him. Bring him to various campus events completely changed the atmosphere. I heard less profanity, saw more smiles, got more attention from strangers. Very similar reaction my co-worker got when she’d bring her puppy. 🙂
6) Entertainment Weekly
Since I’m originally from Charlottesville, I had to find a way to include Dave Matthews. He performed at UVA all the time and generously donated money to the school. But most colleges have concerts, plays and other forms of entertainment. And they are not just for the students. Many of these performances and events are open to the public. Universities are a big businesses– everyone is a potential customer, so inviting the community on campus actually helps revenue. Date-night on campus isn’t so bad with great food and concerts at a reasonable cost!