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  • Trenton Bann, Lewis-Clark State College

Making the Most of Life on a Small-Town Campus

There are many things people think of when they're dreaming up how their future college journey will unfold. Whether that’s choosing to participate in a vast selection of clubs, joining the Greek system or taking advantage of living in a large city with many opportunities that only city living offers. But what do you do if your college or university isn't located in a major metropolitan area and doesn't offer any of the things you expect?

Small town life can easily be boring and rather uneventful. Opportunities might seem scarce, and with lower enrollment, a lot of programs don't always exist on smaller college campuses. So what can you do to make the experience worthwhile?

You need to be proactive and create these experiences and opportunities for yourself. Just because you're attending a small school doesn't mean you can't have opportunities that larger schools may possess. Frequently, the reason why the club you want doesn't exist is because nobody has stepped up to create it. Smaller schools wish to have active students and seek to provide activities that will meet their interests. Professors and advisors will happily help you start these activities and point you in the right direction if you take the initiative.

Engagement is also vital both on and off campus. Take advantage of any guests you may have on campus and try to talk with anybody that you can. The most honest conversation may open the door to many opportunities. While off-campus, get involved with the community. Small towns might not be bustling with clubs or major events, but being an active member of your community is essential in establishing relationships and gaining new experiences. Small towns are filled with opportunities to work with and engage local influencers. Through things such as volunteering or getting involved in local politics, you can influence your community in a way that you're passionate about while also gaining worthwhile experience.

Attending a small school doesn't mean you have to miss out on the experiences found at larger, more visible universities. Be proactive and seek out opportunities. Engage your professors and your community. Many doors may open for you by just being willing to have a short conversation with somebody and by actively trying to make a lasting impression on those that you meet. Take advantage of everything that is provided to you and appreciate the more personal classroom atmosphere at your small institution.

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