During the college search process I was told you can make a big school feel small, but you can’t make a small school feel big, and what I have learned is that you can make anything of your experience regardless of where you are. Even though Whitman is a small college in a relatively isolated location, there is an incredible amount of ways to get a big experience and continue to find new things. Now that I’m going into my senior year I have definitely fallen into a routine but have managed to spice my experience up along the way.
There is no shortage of clubs to be involved in at Whitman, so I’ve found that shopping around for a club or organization is a great way to keep things new. At the beginning of every year there is an activities fair where all the student groups on campus (everything from a cappella groups to Associated Students of Whitman College). At this fair you can pick up a new club or just get on the emailing list for a club to stay informed of all the goings on. Even if you are partway through the year and want something new you can ask around and end up a part of a new club. One afternoon, my junior year, a friend of mine asked me if I wanted to help set up a worm compost behind one of the dining halls. I hadn’t even heard that this was something being implemented, but decided to tag along and ended up helping out and going to a few subsequent meetings. While I didn’t end up staying in that club it was still a really cool experience that I was a part of and definitely something new for me.
There are other ways to keep your experience fresh outside of the world of clubs. The great thing about the Whitman student body is most people are pretty adventurous and spontaneous. So, if I’m ever feeling restless and want to do something, I can find some people that want to go for a hike or play some frisbee, or run around downtown taking pictures. If you want to get off campus the Outdoor Program sends out trips almost every weekend that anyone is welcome to go on. If you aren’t feeling outdoorsy but want to get away, it’s not unheard of for students to go to Seattle or Portland for a weekend, it’s a long trip, but sometimes it’s just what the doctor ordered.
That being said, honestly, there is usually so much going on academically and socially that I rarely feel like my life is getting monotonous or the campus is too small. If I’m having an atypical day and feeling like the campus is too small or I need something new, any of the aforementioned remedies works wonders.