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There’s a lot about a small campus that’s great.
Bethel is smaller than my high school, so I feel like I have a good shot at knowing everyone at the school. I’ve gotten very close to my roommates and modmates in a short period of time, because not only do we room together, we sometimes have classes together, and we often see each other at meals.
The largest class I’ve been in was my gen. ed. history class: History of Civilization 2. I think there weren’t quite thirty people in the class. I was in a philosophy class sophomore year that only had four people. Talk about one-on-one attention. It made sure that each of us were on top of our reading. The discussions were so manageable, and we were even assigned our own book to focus on for original papers. Most people don’t get attention like that until graduate school.
On the other hand, some people don’t want that kind of attention. Whether it’s social or academic, some people prefer space or a wider range of options, friends included. Everyone knowing something about everyone can be pretty intimidating.
While I’d argue that your social and academic communities are as big as you make them, I think it’s also reassuring for those people who need more space and diversity to know that there are nearby options while at Bethel.
There’s no denying that North Newton, even Newton are small towns. Having a bigger city like Wichita nearby is good for escaping Newton or for a daytrip locale. The entertainment, shopping and sports options are wide-ranging there, and it’s always nice to get away to restaurants. Wichita has all the major chains, but also some unique gems like Passage to India.
My friend Sharayah and I benefited from the nearness of Wichita last year when we took Animal Behavior at Bethel. We worked on an observation project on Caribbean flamingos together. The Wichita Zoo was conveniently close, and we enjoyed how it offered us more exotic projects for our project.
Wichita is especially nice to have close during less busy times like Interterm. The Wichita Symphony Orchestra performed in the Century 2 Concert Hall this past weekend and it was phenomenal. Hearing and watching a 70+ member orchestra perform Stravinsky’s Rite of Spring live was a shot of adrenaline and culture to the system that everyone should indulge in once in a while. Wichita is also a large enough city to attract major talent, and the guest pianist who performed Ravel’s Concerto in G and Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue had lightning-fast, exquisitely nimble hands that just floated over the keys.
Wichita’s proximity is particularly satisfying after nights like that. I like that I can experience the benefits of a small school academically, but still have a getaway that isn’t hard to get to after a long day.
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