You’re Going To Your Last-Choice State School? Here’s Why That’s Awesome


Hey kiddos!

You’re going off to college soon!

And surprisingly enough, that means a whole lot of things.

College isn’t nearly as much of a straight-line four-year path, as it is a multiyear mishmash—sensations and sentiments and experiences and the occasional qualm, piled upon one another. For many of you, this may be the presupposed start to a hellish four years, as you’ve declined your Dream School Of Choice because, in the words of Judd Appatow’s Bridesmaidshelp me, I’m poor! 

It’s okay to be poor, and it’s more than okay to go to state school. In fact, you may (and totally should) come to the realization that state school exceeds the opportunities of many small, private universities. The alumni networks, just due to the sheer size of many state universities, are pretty powerful. Perhaps my claims ahead are biased, but please don’t walk the stage in tears, you’re about to start a damn great chapter of your life, and there’s no reason to equate that to shame due to the exorbitant costs of college. In true Thought Catalog fashion, here’s a listicle of reasons going to state university is actually the best.

  • If you dream it, they probably have it. There’s an infinite amount of resources that the state provides for education, and many of them are hidden gems on campus that, if you dig for, will receive VIP treatment in. Why? They’re so unknown; hardly anyone else would even fathom to search for them. There are constant information sessions, advising, career service help, and a wealth of other resources that often, few other kids are really fighting it out for. During my junior year, I had accidentally wandered into a professor’s office hours, who recommended checking out a Mock Job Interview program that was being conducted by a major national firm the following week. I ended up signing up for an with a department I had no idea even existed on campus, and had the opportunity to get coached through an actual professional interview! But it’s more than merely academic and professional (although, the course catalogs tend to be massive and also worth relishing for a little while); there’s virtually every way possible to throw yourself into college life. Which brings me to my next point….
  • Big state schools have no legitimate overarching social stereotypes! If they do (i.e: party school), it’s almost guaranteed to be inaccurate. Do you sincerely believe that over 20,000 students genuinely want to be at a frat house on any given Friday? Breathe. You will find your place for sure. A really awesome way to do this is by joining some clubs. State schools (and every college, really) have an immense array of different ways to get involved and find your niche on campus. Many of these people will become your best friends! Involvement with campus organizations will also allow you to discover yourself further, and to expand in your interests. Personal growth and social growth? A total win-win situation!
  • School spirit is (generally) LEGIT. Maybe it’s just for certain sports. For my university, it’s been hockey. Hockey is not taken lightly. Hockey begets free t-shirts begets copious amounts of alcohol begets public dancing. You will (and should proudly) obtain at least one piece of attire from your school store by now. And for the love of everything, please wear it with pride. Your school is fucking awesome at sports and your students work fucking hard to achieve the academic and extracurricular things they do. No trust-fund cushion for any accomplishments; be proud of that! Ignore whatever nonsense your elite friends at their ivory-tower private colleges are spewing, and go kick their ass in [sports] because you’re the true product of a work-ridiculously-hard, play-ridiculously-hard environment. They be slaaaaaaaaaaaaaackin’. (I mean, maybe they’re not slackin’ but I hope you get what I mean?)
  • A lot of state universities develop partnerships with neighboring colleges, and allow students to take classes off-campus. If you want to explore a broader course catalog, dip your toes into another campus’s culture, or just scope out another campus’s cuties (I’m not kidding), now’s your chance! Stepping outside your comfort zone and testing out another college’s teaching style is always fascinating, and a way to divvy up your learning experience. If the class doesn’t really roll in your favor, just remember, you don’t even go there! (But if it does work out well, quick, go register for another!)
  • Regardless of where you go, a degree is a degree. What’s going to distinguish you, whether you go to an elite private college, or catch-all state school, are the decisions you make. Something you’re quickly going to realize about college is that hardly anybody cares if you were popular in high school. I guess in a parallel professional real-world setting, not too many people give a damn where you went for your undergraduate degree. Like Frank Turner once sang, it doesn’t matter where you come from, it matters where you go.  The more valuable thing to take away from your college experience is the multitude of experiences you’re going to have. And when I say multitude, I mean, like, a bistro of experiences. There’s going to be fun, and not-fun. You’re going to learn so much in the classroom, no matter what you study. And there’s so much more you’re going to learn without being seated at a desk. About yourself, about your community, about the person you hope to become, and about the facets of society that you hope to contribute to someday. You’re going to do tons of fun things, go out, stay in, dip your toes in different activities you’ve never tried, meet people you’d never speak to otherwise, hobble through endeavors you’d never set foot upon had it not been for your undergrad years. College is amazing. Fucking amazing, no matter where you go. So for the last time, please quit drying your tears with your Lack-Of-Financial-Aid letter from Expensive School X, and get ready to SLAY your freshman year!

Much love,