Thursday, November 19, 2009

A Slightly Different Take: What I Wish I Had Known

So far, people have been addressing pretty big, broad topics in their posts, myself included. We seem to naturally focus on academics, making friends, extracurriculars, things like that. These are certainly things prospective students need to know about, and these are precisely the things I sought out when considering schools. This information is readily available online, but what is not so accessible is the little things that add up to create the "Mac lifestyle".

Many things like the quality of the food, the facilities, the safe havens from the cold when its 20 below, do not often get the attention they deserve in the admissions process. For many, a simple visit to campus or an overnight stay can alleviate this uncertainty, but that's not an option for some people. I myself never visited Mac or any other school I applied to; it simply was not affordable for me, coming all the way from California, to buy a $400 plane ticket for a dorm room floor and a backwards-walking tour guide (though their coordination amazes me). For those who can make the trip to Macalester in person, by all means do it, but for those who cannot, hopefully this post can prevent you from missing out.

1. Campus is small in a good way, and very walkable.

Small school, smallish campus. You can get from one side of campus to another in about 5 minutes, even if you're a leisurely walker like I am. It doesn't feel claustrophobic, and there are always places nearby where you can escape when you need to grab some coffee with a side of sanity.

2. The dorms are actually nice!

Mine, for instance, is definitely larger than my bedroom at home, and has like 200% more closet space. Each hall has different amenities, too. Turk and Doty have in-room sinks, but Dupre has laundry on each floor. I'll get some good pictures of the rooms and post them next time. Everything I have right now is of me doing something embarrassing, which, although not surprising, does not give you the full image of what dorm life is like.

3. Getting off campus= easy and fun.
I'm not trying to contradict what I said earlier, promise. Campus is lovely, and there are all sorts of different places to study, hang out, claim to be studying but really be hanging out, and everything in between. But sometimes, we all need a change of scenery. As a virgin to the Twin Cities, I have been amazed with the off campus options the surrounding environment offers us. There's arts and culture, clubs (including 18+ clubs, don't get it twisted), concert venues, parks, restaurants, sporting venues, and more all within a bus or train ride away. And transit here is CHEAP! $1.75 to get on the bus ($2.25 during commute hours) and then a transfer that works for 2.5 hours on any transit system. It's awesome.

Minnehaha Park, just a 15 minute bus ride from campus!

4. Even Californians enjoy the snow occasionally.

That's all for this post, but before I finish, I have a request:
If you would like me to continue this list, PLEASE COMMENT and say so! For that matter, please comment whenever you feel like it, on any post. We will try our best to get back as soon as possible, and we would love for this to be an interactive blog, if possible.