What it’s like to NOT go to a popular University

Graduating from a university that’s just down the street from a Big 10 school has it’s advantages and disadvantages.

  1. We get asked upon choosing the university whether or not we realize that our football team sucks, as though we play the sport for money.
  2. We get told often that our school is like a war zone due to the high crime rate and that one awful incident that happened years prior to our acknowledgement of the university existing.
  3. Plus, if we go out somewhere and we get asked where we go to school, when answering we hear the same response from others, “*scoff* Oh.. You went/go to (insert University which will remain nameless for now)…?”
  4. We don’t have the crazy big alumni association, because very rarely do our alumni give back or support their undergraduate alma mater.
  5. Hazing. End of story and end of Greek Life.

It’s pretty much like we can never get a break from others due to the stereotypical pull that our university has.

But that last point. That last one, is so stereotypical it makes graduating a nightmare. So I’ll tell you the truth about being a graduate of a smaller university.

  1. While our alumni association is quite small, whenever you find someone who knows anything about your school, you tend to think higher of them and enjoy their company more. (Example; Someone mentioned my alma mater winning their most recent football game and mentioned it because I was wearing school attire at work; he knew the score and that we won without me mentioning it. He gets some points for that!)
  2. When you attend said football games, you feel such a close kinship with others because you are all there with the common goal to root for the underdog in the game. Yeah, we may not be good, but it’s still fun to cheer for the team from a place where you called home or 3-5 years of your life.
  3. When someone starts the conversation with, “Oh.. You went/go to (insert University which will remain nameless for now)…?”, you can respond with actual facts that matter of the university. We may not be great at football, but we are number one undergraduate school for Nursing, Education, Aviation, and Social Work? Or that we have won that Mac in Swimming and Diving, Track and Field, and numerous other sports more often than we have not? That we are literally better in all other sports besides the glorified football? That we have held the highest number of incoming freshmen for the university the past four years in a row among it’s history of admissions?
  4. That we have officers on duty who care about this university, that hold classes for self defense on campus, that we are improving safety standards on and off campus.
  5. Our Greek Life has social policies in place that prevent hazing on campus, that prevent alcohol at rush events, that require volunteer hours of greek orgs, and structure/open recruitments for sororities and open recruitment for fraternities, while each greek org having standards for their members that they act upon? Not your typical partying greek orgs, but orgs with values and morals.

Sure, we are not a big name university and to the rest of the state we never will be with all the negativity and flak that we receive, but I enjoyed my time at Eastern Michigan because I made it the experience I wanted. Regardless of what people told me, this school was home, and home is what connects me to the students there currently and the alumnae association. It was home, because I didn’t go to a big school, because we are unique. It’s the little victories that make it home.

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